As students in the United States finish up their mid-year exams and prepare for the holiday break, students at Christel House South Africa are getting ready to wrap up their school year. Twelfth grade students are preparing for their Matric (graduation) exams—an essential test that can determine future opportunities for young adults. For many soon-to-be grads, it’s not easy to focus on the exam. That’s because, when the school day ends, they return to homes that are unstable and often violent.Christel House wants to give these students a new option: A facility, known as “the Farm”, will offer students a safe and tranquil place to study. The Farm will be able to house up to 50 students at a time, and will include dorms, a kitchen and study areas. Christel House is committed to helping students prepare for this important exam. Your support is helping fund important projects, like the Farm, so Christel House students can enter the adult world with confidence—and succeed.
Naseefah is a 9th grade student at Christel House South Africa. She was recently selected as a scholarship recipient to attend summer camp at Culver Leadership Academy in Culver, Indiana. During her trip to the United States, Naseefah shared these words with a group of Christel House supporters.
“My name is Naseefah, born November 11, 1999. I am currently in 9th grade at Christel House South Africa. I live in Manenberg, a place famous for gangersterism, alcohol abuse, drug abuse and even physical abuse. I have seen many tragedies happen in front of me – shootings, stabbings, men beating up their wives. Growing up, I thought this was the only world I would ever see. I thought drugs and alcohol were the right way to go, that everyone must do them.
Starting school at Christel House was life changing. I learned humility, respect and how to love one another. Being at Christel House has taught me how to appreciate other peoples’ differences and how to even appreciate my own differences. I am a very talkative person who loves to communicate with people. I love exploring new things. I love education challenges – I am always up for one. I think my community is my biggest challenge, but I am going to turn it into my fuel to succeed. I want to show my peers and family that your background doesn’t determine your future and because of Christel House, my future is surely bright.
I’ve received many opportunities at school which no one in my family has. One of the biggest opportunities I’ve received was to travel to America – which no one in my family has ever received. I’m truly proud to be a “Christel Houser” because without their support, nothing would have been possible.
My hopes for the future are to study at a university and become a chartered accountant, to break the cycle of poverty, to give back to my community, and to be an inspiration to many young people out there and show them – it doesn’t really matter where you’re from but what you do with your circumstances.”
Thank you for supporting the students of Christel House South Africa and helping them to achieve their dreams.
Thank you for your continued support of ‘Help South African H.S. Grads Attend College’! Your generosity gives Christel House South Africa students the opportunity to escape poverty through higher education, vocational training and job placement. We are excited to introduce Tabisa Z., a 2009 Graduate of Christel House South Africa.“I don’t have to be a reflection of my background,” Tabisa said when asked the most important thing she’d learned at Christel House. “The world is my oyster and in it I can achieve anything.”Tabias grew up in Khayelitsha – South Africa’s second largest township after Soweto – where an estimated 1.5 million people live within a 17 square mile area. Today Tabisa is employed in that same impoverished community, at Hubspace – an organization dedicated to helping disadvantaged entrepreneurs procure office space, infrastructure and equipment. Tabisa’s skills in office administration and customer service helped her secure the position.Tabisa offered valuable advice to fellow Christel House students:“No matter in which part of the world they [students] are, they need to realize that they, too, have something to offer, in their school, community or as a citizen,” she says.Tabisa’s goal is to use her talents to help improve her community.“I hope to make a difference in Khayelitsha, and other poor communities. My background makes me empathize with the people and their challenges, and my education in business administration helps me work with them to solve problems.”Christel House donors, like you, help students, like Tabisa, reimagine their futures and make an impactful difference in their communities while achieving their dreams. Thank you for your continued support.
Your support helps students, like Reagan, reimagine their future.
Reagan is a 10th grade student at Christel House South Africa. He is one of the school’s top science students and was even named the “Top Physical Science Student” in the Junk Yard Siemens Robotics science competition. Reagan’s journey, however, has not been easy.
Growing up, Reagan’s father, when not incarcerated, was often very abusive. Some time ago, Reagan’s two older siblings dropped out of school. They no longer live at home—both are unemployed and use illegal substances. Reagan’s mother is the sole breadwinner of the home. She works at a local homeless shelter and struggles to make ends meet. Rent and utilities must be paid first, and what is left does not go far toward putting food on their table every day. Notwithstanding this level of turmoil in the family, Reagan had perfect attendance at school last year.
Christel House has helped Reagan keep a positive attitude and anticipate building a better life.
Regan’s future reimagined includes moving out of Manenburg Township. “I see myself studying Computer Science and Software Engineering, and getting my Master’s degree at the University of Cape Town. I would love to work at Google South Africa and live in a beautiful flat.”
Your generosity helps Christel House South Africa students, like Reagan, as they prepare for and attend university. Thank you for your continued support.
“Without Christel House, Reagan would never have excelled like he has. He has developed beyond my expectations. He is intelligent, smart and always willing to help others.” - Jacqueline, Mother of Reagan
“Work hard; believe in yourself and live strong. If I can do it, so can you!” - Reagan
Chi Nguyen is an In-the-Field Representative with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout Southern Africa. Her “Postcard” from her visit to Christel House International in South Africa:
On Wednesday, February 19th I was privileged to be a part of teacher Chamelle De Silva's popcorn party for her small remedial class of six. At Christel House, they give a certain amount of time for children who may be a bit behind the curve in certain areas of learning for small group work, just as they give a certain amount of time for children who are a bit advanced to engage in exercises that can challenge them a bit more.
I watched as the children used words such as "taste", "smell", and "touch" to describe the popcorn. I couldn't help but smile as I saw that they were practically salivating as they jumped up and down, watching the popcorn pop in the microwave.
The children earned this popcorn party because they were able to spell the word "because" using what they called a "rhyme" to help them:
When they finally received the popcorn with some sugar dusting in their green cones, it seemed as if they could not eat it all quickly enough. As they ate, they shared stories, and a debate quickly popped up regarding whether little Cwendi was 8 (he maintained that he was) or if he was really 7. Without them knowing it, teacher Chamelle provoked their critical problem-solving skills and teamwork for them to find out Cwendi's real age. (He is indeed 7, as he turns 8 in July). They concluded the lesson with a quick review of how to spell "could", "would", and "should". They dusted the sugar off their hands and ran off, bellies full of popcorn, to the playground to join the rest of their classmates - no doubt eager to share their most recent "lesson" with their friends.
I stayed behind to chat with teacher Chamelle, and I quickly found out that I would be hard-pressed to find someone who speaks so lively and passionately about her profession. She gave me example after example of her past lessons for the children with enthusiastic gestures and an enormous smile on her face. When I commented on how impressed I was with the creativity of the lesson plans as well as how the children responded to them (with pride in what they had learned and how far they had come), she told me:
"These children are told all their lives that they can't do this, they can't do that right. It's not about can't - it's about all the little differences in each child. If there is one thing that I want these children to leave Christel House with by the time they graduate, it's the self-confidence to just try."
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.