In February 2013, a group of teens from three townships near Cape Town, South Africa, came together for a journey. They didn’t travel far, but they began a journey of discovery that could profoundly influence the direction they choose to take next.
They gathered for a photography workshop Love to Langa sponsored which was led by Photography for Change, a South Africa-based non-profit organization that uses photography as a tool for learning. Their workshops are designed to open eyes and change perspectives—a means of restoring hope and inspiring dreams in children from disadvantaged communities across Africa.
Photography for Change helps children look at their lives differently, not only by taking photos but also by sharing their thoughts in group discussions and individual diaries. Over six consecutive Saturdays, the children learn the techniques of photography and then begin to document their lives.
They discover how visual storytelling can give them the freedom to examine who they are and what they want to do with their lives. Guided by specific assignments and themes, they are encouraged to look for beauty and value where they may have never seen it before—in their homes, in their neighborhoods, and especially in themselves.
The stories they tell are empowering. Photography helps release a voice in them that has often been muted or lost entirely. They gain confidence as they discover a sense of their own capabilities. When they see things they want to change, they start to realize that they have choices and can have a say in shaping their own future. Fittingly, the workshop ends with the opportunity to share their voices through a public exhibit of their work.
Thanks to the generosity of The Bazemore Gallery in Manayunk, PA, a selection of the photographs will be exhibited from November 20-December 13, 2014 and the proceeds of several events at the gallery, photography and exhibit book sales will support Love to Langa's projects.
This VIDEO is from a joint event we held with a local Philadelphia nonprofit, Family Support Services, which featured original poems written in response to the photography.
Please visit our Photo Shop to view the photography, it will surprise you that such stunning photos were taken with disposable cameras.
With best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving from the Love to Langa family to yours!
Our new principal came to us after months and months of interviews. We just could not find the right person for PCC. Sweleni was at that stage interested in the opportunity but did not have her drivers’ permit. She was also understandably very nervous to come and run a school.
Sweleni was born and bred in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. She moved to Cape Town in 1999 where she heard about the Montessori teachers training course. She enrolled and completed the course in two years while working as a fulltime Au Pair. She then started working at Childrens Workshop in Claremont where she was an assistant in the 0-3 year class. Slowly, she moved up from Assistant Teacher to Directress at Nutwood in Green Point. Going through all of the classes and the stages gave her great insight into being able to lead a school with 200 children and 17 staff members. She got her drivers’ permit and started at PCC in May 2014. She is a true leader who has turned Philippi Children’s Center into a place of learning and not just a place of care!
The transport has always been a huge problem at Philippi Children's Centre. We have had numerous new and used buses over the past 21 years. Finally we were stuck with an old TATA bus that gave us all a run for our money. It broke down at least once a week and was more in the workshop than on the road. It was just not safe for our children to be transported in it.
Jana came to us as a volunteer from Germany. She instantly fell in love with PCC and the children. She wanted to do something that would help us and make a huge difference in our daily lives. Before she even left to go home she started canvassing in Germany for a new bus. She got all her family and friends involved and before we knew it, there was this amazing amount of money towards a bus fund. Jane Bodin, our fundraiser, took up the challenge and worked endlessly in fundraising for a new bus. We were blessed without measure with donors sending money from all over the world. By the beginning of May, PCC received the new Isuzu 32 seater bus! We are over the moon with happiness and relief. The pure joy of not getting emergency calls about a broken down bus is unanimous at PCC!
Philippi Children's Centre has had it’s fair share of hard times over the last few years. It has been quite the roller coaster ride to say the least. But having said that, we have never given up!! It has been such hard work and we have made many mistakes along the way. We can at this stage say that we have made a change! All at Philippi Children's Centre have put the past behind us and we are looking forward and moving forward. There is a change of atmosphere at the school. Staff are happy and are learning. There are three staff members qualifying as level 5 Montessori teachers this year. The learning has moved by leaps and bounds with weekly themes and children being taken on outings to help them learn. The numbers of children attending has improved. The school is looking so good with all the new classrooms. The property is looked after and of course our new bus is running like a dream. Sweleni has been the change and has brought an air of peace into the school. There is a unity amongst the staff and management that was not there just a few months ago. She is truly a gift from God for PCC! The work to improve will never stop and we will carry on no matter what so that the children can get the best possible teaching that they so rightly deserve!
Phase one of the Philippi Children's Centre is officially complete!
The successful completion of this phase highlights the power inherent in effective collaboration between multiple stakeholders and the commitment of these stakeholders for the children of Philippi. To date, more than $300,000 in donations and donations in-kind have been invested in the buildings and renovation and we are thrilled to have done our part.
The components of Phase one were:
Your donations helped to fund the construction of a classroom and scholarships for the students.
Project Manager Kissmea Adams said, "our hope is that the Philippi Children’s Centre will develop into an example of existing best practices in Early Childhood Development and serve as a resource for other schools in the area. We are so grateful to our donors for their support. With the completion of the building facilities, the PCC managment committee is currently improving staff training and managing the school more effectively. A qualified Montessori directress has been employed as Principal and the school is operating on an outstanding level."
Phase two would include the constrution of a community hall. Love to Langa's Board of Directors will decide at their next meeting whether to continue fundraising for PCC or to move to another project.
Our other current projects include Teacher Training workshops, field trips and enrichment activities.
We are very honored that Marius Fransman, South African Deputy Minister for International Relations and Co-operation, has made a short video for us! In it, he speaks about Nelson Mandela, endorses Love to Langa and encourages viewing of the new film "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom," based on Mandela's autobiography. We are excited to be hosting our first fundraiser in Philadelphia, which is an advanced screening of the film, before it opens to the public on December 25.
Here is a link to Mr. Fransman's video: VIDEO
For information about the film screening, please visit our Facebook event page: Advanced Screening for Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom
We wish you and your families a happy and healthy holiday season!
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