The following is a postcard from Chi Nguyen, GlobalGiving's In-the-Field Representative in South Africa, about her recent visit to Afrika Tikkun.
Today, I was able to visit Afrika Tikkun's two project sites in Cape Town, located in the townships of Mfuleni and Delft. Sweet Laura Markovitz, Afrika Tikkun's Development Executive, showed me around the stunning schools they have been able to build and we were able to see the beautiful, shining faces of what had to be over 100 children. These children's faces and bodies were not gaunt, but full, bright, and smiling because they are provided 4 meal times a day thanks to Afrika Tikkun and their generous donors. For many, this is all the food they receive in a day. Because their bellies are full, they are able to focus and learn in class.
But Afrika Tikkun's commitment doesn't stop there. They have adopted a holistic approach to helping the communities that they serve. They do home visits and family support services, so that the children's minds can focus in class rather than on the problems going on at home. Afrika Tikkun as a whole has a huge heart - there is little they wouldn't do for these children.
In addition to primary care and education, they also run a Youth Development Program, where 350-400 youth from the surrounding community can come for a place to play sports, theater, or do arts & crafts. They also provide a full, hot meal to each and every one of these children; similar to the younger ones, this may be the only place these youth receive a meal every day as well.
Afrika Tikkun also does an amazing job of bringing the rest of the community in - 80-90% of their employees are members from the community, and all members of the community are welcome to come to the center at any time for free access to the computer and WiFi. In addition, they hold computer literacy classes and workshops on how to acquire jobs. They store CVs so that they can send them out for any member who would like to apply to a job. Their vegetable and fruit gardens that provide the necessary ingredients for the children are farmed and run by community members.
We concluded my visit with two home visits, where we were able to meet with a few of the beneficiaries of Afrika Tikkun's efforts. A few of these community members, HIV & TB positive, receive full body washes, food parcels to take with their medicine, and a bit of help around the house, among other things. One beneficiary commented, with a smile, that her personal Afrika Tikkun healthcare worker would often come even on the weekends to check on her. Afrika Tikkun really does care.
A New Year
From everyone at Afrika Tikkun, Happy 2014! May this year bring you prosperity and joy. This is our second year being part of the Global Giving family and we would like to thank all of you and Global Giving for believing in our cause. Without you, we would not be able to impact the lives of over 17,000 beneficiaries from “cradle to career.”
Cradle to Career
Our cradle to career model is innovative as it targets different areas of development. Our focus is to holistically invest in all factors that affect development from cradle to career: education, health care and social services for children, youths and parents or caregivers. This comprehensive approach leads to optimal benefits for the child as well as their families and community.
The Passing of a Great Man
Nelson Mandela, our Patron in Chief, passed away this past year. We are proud to share Mandela’s passion and dream of building a brighter and more sustainable future for South Africa from “cradle to career.”
Here are some words from the great man:
Afrika Tikkun has proven that it has the ability to reach our disadvantaged population as a grassroots level. It provides both physical help as well as hope and dignity to the recipients.
Nutrition and Food Security Many children do not have access to resources such as nutrition. Children who do not receive adequate nutrition are not able to focus in school. We are proud to share with you that our Nutrition and Food Security Program was able to provide over 450,000 meals.
While we all believe children should have a fair start at life, the harsh reality is that not all children do. Afrika Tikkun is dedictaed to providing youth with equal opportunities to education and core services from cradle to career. We do not believe poverty should be a permanent state of being, which is why we aim to empower youth living in South African townships to break the poverty cycle.
Absolute poverty is something many of us cannot fathom, and unfortunately there are many who live it every day. There are a number of needs that are not met for many students such as adequate nutrition for learning.
Ubuntu is one of Afrika Tikkun’s core philosophies. The essence of Ubuntu is about not living just for oneself but living for one another and putting the needs of the whole community first.
At Afrika Tikkun, we consider our employees, students, and their relatives as part of our family. Thank you, Global Giving community, for supporting our work through your generous donations and making it possible to move forward towards a more sustainable future.
Despite the many successes, we still continuously struggle to raise the necessary funds required to change the lives of children and youth like Percy N., who's story is below. We do not let this discourage us because we know there are countless members of society that believe change is possible and uplifting those living in poverty is an achievable goal.
Thank you again for your support!
The Story of Percy N. Percy completed each year of his studying career successfully and after matriculating, he joined Afrika Tikkun for the after school activities. It was unfortunate that he could not proceed with his education to tertiary level as his family could not afford the fees. From being a beneficiary in our youth programmes, Percy’s skills as a leader was identified and he was offered employment as the assistant soccer coach at the Diepsloot centre. In addition to the above, towards the end of 2012 Percy was then chosen as one of the beneficiaries for the AFGRI Scholarship to study Agriculture in Mpumalanga. Then in 2013 he was again chosen to represent Afrika Tikkun at the Las Vegas Safelite Triathlon. This was his first time on a plane and first time ever travelling outside South Africa. The investment Afrika Tikkun has made in Percy’s life has not only changed his life forever, it has changed his outlook in life and has enabled him to increase his capability to act as a catalyst for change.
Studies have shown that high quality stimulation through Early Childhood Development programs give children a better chance of breaking the poverty cycle. At Afrika Tikkun, we believe in empowering children as they are the future of the country. While every child should have the right to education, in reality, not all children have equal access. The Early Childhood Development (ECD) centers are the essential platform for children in disadvantaged positions because these centers set the stage for development and preparation for entering formal education.
The benefits of our ECD centers are as follows:
We have received positive feedback from where our children are currently attending primary schools. The majority of our children are performing far better than their peers from other feeder ECDs in the area. We have even been invited by a number of the primary schools to provide learning support to children from other ECDs who are facing difficulties as a result of the education received.
Success Story: Edwin N.Edwin was referred to us by his Grade R class teacher who explained that he had multiple issues that made him unable to cope in a mainstream setting. He was disruptive, socially inappropriate and was unable to participate in structured classroom activities. Assessments revealed a variety of serious barriers to learning were affecting his function on a number of levels.
We implemented an Individualized Educational Plan for Edwin which focused on small group support in our learning center, Speech Therapy at Wits University and a positive reinforcement strategy. Within 3 months, Edwin had made excellent progress and was able to graduate and is now attending his Grade 1 class and can now integrate with other children in a positive manner. Edwin is now a proud member of his class.
Afrika Tikkun would like to acknowledge and thank GlobalGiving and all the donors for their support. It is through this support that children and families in disadvantaged positions, due to circumstances beyond their control, are granted the opportunities that will lead to a more prosperous future. Also, through this support we are able to carry out our vision of creating a sustainable future for children in South African townships.
Afrika Tikkun and the children in our ECDs thank you for your support!
AfrikaTikkun’s Early Childhood programme provides a safe and secure environment for the provision of quality care and education. By putting youngchildren first, we as a collective ultimately make sound contributions to the socio-economic development of South Africa.
Afrika Tikkun is truly grateful to the Global giving for the support to our Educate and empower 1000 children in South Africa campaign.Afrika Tikun’s ECDProgramme continues to offer the disadvantaged children from disadvantaged communitiesactivities that focus on developing the cognitive and mental skills of childrenat elementary level, and readying them for formal schooling. The ECD programme is delivered as part of our Holistic Development Model, a continuum ofdevelopment programmes aimed at creating responsible and productive citizens.
The programme offers the following core services:
AfrikaTikkun’s five ECD Centre produced 284 graduates in 2012 who are attending Grade1(formal school) in local community schools. We continue to track the progress of our graduates in these schools through feedback meetings with their teachers and parents. Currently we have an enrolment of 1040 children under our programme.
To support our early-learning strategies, our children continue receive two nutritious meals and two healthy snacks each day prepared in the hygienic kitchen by well-trained cooks, who also prepare separate meals for children with special dietary requirements such as allergies and or religious affiliation and so on. Continuous training for the staff is a key component of our programme. The ECD Principals and practitioners from all our centres underwent and completed Curriculum andAssessment Policy Statement (CAPS) training by the Curriculum Development Programme (CDP) Trust. CAPS is a new national ECD curriculum introduced by the Department of Basic Education to all the ECDs in South Africa.
Our Programme continues to provide assessment and assistance to children with special needs; and the assistance in referrals and school placement of children with difficulties in speech and hearing. In this regard The Uthando centre (Hillbrow, Gauteng Province) is working closely with the Witwatersrand University Health Faculty expertise in dealing with cases of children with Special Needs like oral or hearing difficulties. The Programme in Orange Farm (Gauteng Province) has created a whole classroom of children with disabilities which currently has 17 learners and is managed by three facilitators who are trained to deal with learners with special needs and disabilities.
The ECD programme has served as an outlet for extramural activities that supporthealthy growth for the children such as play therapy and sports. All our ECD centres are equipped with state of the art toy libraries. The toy library is an important element of our ECD programme providing for the stimulation of gross and fine motor skills as well as proving educational play that is vital for the children.Our social work services whilst providing vital psychosocial support to children and their families has also assisted families in applying for Identity Documents and Birth Certificates. These documents are vital for accessing of social grants & pensions. This is critical component of our support services in the impoverished environment and communities that we serve. Our non-fee policy has enabled improved access toECD education for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children in our target communities.
Afrika Tikkun would like to take thisopportunity to thank Global giving and all those who have shown their hand insupport of this cause. Your contributions have turned the dreams of manychildren and families into a reality. This support has enabled us to offerdisadvantaged children a fair opportunity to develop and be prepared for a better start in schools. We lookforward to your continued support as well as feedback on our programme as wellas on how best we can work together to attract moresupport for our programme .
Thank you for your support
Success story :Lesego Nyamo This five year old girl was admitted has been at our Centre for the past two years.When she was enrolled into our ECD programme at Uthando Centre she had learningdifficulties and behavioural problems. According to the teacher, she was notattentive in class and her performance was poor. Through the efforts of the teacher and some intervention from our Social worker who investigated homeproblem and engaged the parents, Lesego’s performance has greatly improved. She can relate stories, do counting and listens attentively in class. She is now in Grade R and is looking forward to graduating in 2013.(Picture attached)
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