Oct 28, 2016

Fail Forward Project Report

The organisation that later became Educare Fund started in 1997 with just one donor and one beneficiary. The process of identifying and verifying the beneficiary was quite straightforward at that point as it involved contact with just one school.The school would identify a bright girl whose family had problems paying the fees and provide feedback. Getting this feedback about the girl’s progress was simple and trouble–free. As the years passed and the number of girls and schools grew, things got a little bit more complicated.  It was at this point that it was agreed by the Educare Fund trustees that it would be a good idea to work with people on the ground in Lesotho. This is how Ithuteng Basetsana Educare Association (IBEA) came into being. This organisation helps to contact the schools, collect the application forms, distribute the funds, collect feedback from the schools and report to Educare Fund.

The IBEA board includes two school principals who are tasked with approaching the schools on our list, facilitating the application process and selecting appropriate students for support. The thinking was that these individuals have inside knowledge of how schools work and would be a good link with the schoolteachers and principals associations, ensuring that these groups understand how Educare Fund works and what the selection criteria is. In the early days, with relatively small numbers to deal with, all went well, with the two officials managing the student selection process appropriately. This was borne out by the good exam results achieved at each year end. The pass rate for our completing students was consistently high and with a satisfactory spread of good grades achieved. However, as the list of students increased further, it seemed that the selection team was no longer properly managing to identify bright girls with good potential to succeed. Reported exam results achieved by the girls started to deteriorate and some of the girls failed to complete. There was clearly a problem with the selection process (no other issues were identified as contributors, such as illness, for example).

The board discussed the results issue and the possible problem with the selection process which is now not working as well as before. This process, in addition to failing appropriate students, would also lead to a waste of scarce resources. The selection officials may be too closely associated with their colleagues and may be finding it difficult to decline unsuitable candidates. It may also be the case that the selection now poses a problem for the two officials due to the increase in student numbers. It became clear that a change of approach was needed.

The conclusion to the discussions was that from now on the selection process should be changed. Instead of just two individuals, there will now be a larger selection sub-group. This group will be made up of two school principals, two deputies, one board member who is a retired teacher and one other without a teaching background.

We are hopeful that the new approach will help target resources at the right students and produce the good results that were observed previously. Just this year, three former beneficiaries were found to have really turned their lives around as a result of support by our donors in partnership with Educare Fund. This is what we would like to see going forward.

Oct 17, 2016

You are really doing a good Job!

In the last report we shared with you the great news of Joalane’s success story. She has now started her work as a junior doctor in Lesotho and has reconnected with a couple of her former high school classmates. One of Joalane’s former classmates from Thetsane High school, Teboho was also supported through high school by you in partnership with Educare Fund. Like Joalane, her hard work paid off and she is now also a medical doctor. She recently sent a letter of thanks to Educare Fund, giving an update of her progress. As you all know, Educare Fund would not achieve very much without your very kind help, so Teboho’s success is definitely your success too. She tells her story here:

I would like to pass my heartfelt gratitude to Educare Fund for coming into my life at the time when I most needed help with my educational costs. I am the second born in the family and have 5 siblings (one sister is now late) all raised by my mother who is unemployed. After my father died, it fell to her to find ways to feed and clothe us all as well as pay for our school fees. It wasn’t easy and we hardly had any food to eat, so finding money for school fees was an added challenge for her.

My father died in 2004 and no clear cause of death was identified. That’s the year I decided I would like to become a doctor so that I can save lives. I felt my school results were good, but hope was down. I was just about to start high school level education which is more expensive for both fees and books. Fortunately I was the best student at my school and the principal helped me to apply for help from Educare Fund. I couldn’t believe my luck when I was offered the sponsorship. Without this help I would not have been able to go further than secondary level education, let alone become a doctor.

Teboho realised her dream of becoming a doctor, graduating in 2013. This powerful young woman has not only improved her own life but has also been able to support her family and help her siblings to aim high and improve their own lives too. She says:

I started helping my five siblings with their education while I was at university. I’m still supporting them all now as well as my mother and my one child. One brother went on to gain a certificate in Hospitality and Catering while a sister has just completed a Diploma in HR. The younger three are currently at the National University of Lesotho. One sister is doing Economics, a brother is doing a BSc in Education (Maths and Physics) and the youngest is reading Literature.

That’s an impressive level of achievement for one so young. She has definitely exceeded our expectations and probably her own. We are grateful to all of you for having played a part in Teboho’s amazing success.

Educare Fund’s aim continues to be to work with you to reach more and more girls like Joalane, Teboho and others, helping them to realise their potential and achieve their dreams.

In a week’s time Educare Fund will be taking part in a week long matching fund campaign with GlobalGiving UK. We are asking for your support with this campaign so that we can together support more of these brilliant young people to change their own lives. In the next few days I will give details of how the ‘Little by little by little’ campaign will work. We are counting on you, as always.

Let me finish by thanking you again for continuing to support the young women. Let’s hope that their futures will be much brighter. As Teboho says, you are really doing a good job. And long may you continue!

Yours Sincerely

Liphethiso Monica Harris

Aug 3, 2016

Great News! You've worked another miracle

A few years ago, we told you the story of Joalane who you all supported through her time at Thetsane High School. She worked really hard, got the best results in her final exams and obtained a government scholarship to study Medicine at a medical school in Cuba. Well, here's the good news! Joalane has now completed her studies and graduated as a medical doctor. We at Educare Fund are really excited about this and pleased to share this great news with you.I certainly hope that this news will bring you the same joy and serve to highlight the great work you are doing, changing lives that would otherwise be blighted by poverty.

This is what Joalane said a few weeks ago:

I am so happy to let you knowthat I am now a doctor! I only have to wait for the graduation, legalise and translate the documents, then I'll be on my way back (to Lesotho).

Thank you sooo (her word) much! You are all doing a really great job helping us achieve our dreams!!

Joalane expects to be back home in the next couple of weeks.

Our dream at Educare Fund remains the same; to work with you to reach more and more girls like Joalane, helping them realise their own dreams.

Your kind donations work miracles in lots of ways, inspiring the girls to aim higher. A visit to one of the schools revealed the unique combination of your kind support and the determination that some of the girls demonstrate. At this particular school we met Alice. She is slightly older than the other girls at high school, being almost in her late 20s. On chatting with her, we discovered that it was almost a miracle that she had persevered with school. Her reason was that she was determined to finish high school and pursue her dream of becoming a nurse, no matter what hurdles lay in her way. Alice's father had died about ten years earlier and since he was the breadwinner, Alice was forced to drop out of school as there was no money for fees. Alice's mother who was previously unemployed, later got a job and Alice re-started school. However, the mother's job was too low-paid for her to afford the fees as well as other needs for the family. So, once again Alice was forced to drop out of school. When support from Educare Fund became available, the school called Alice back and encouraged her to apply for it. Alice is now in her final year and has lost none of her enthusiasm for a career in nursing.What impressed us most was her determination and perseverance despite the setbacks. It can't have been easy for her to go back to school after each period of being laid off, let alone then joining classes with kids much younger than herself.

She said:

I've always wanted to be a nurse and nothing will put me off the idea. When the offer of support was made, I jumped at the chance to fulfil my dream. I am working really hard to make sure that I get grades that are good enough for me to get accepted onto a nurse training course. 

A lot of the feedback we get from the girls indicates that a fair proportion of them are looked after by single mothers or grandmothers, even. Some of the girls may have two living parents, but either or both might be unemloyed or in really low-paid jobs. Your donations are a great help to these girls and their families.

I'd like to finish by thanking you for continuing to help us help the young women. It is our hope that their futures will be much brighter, all thanks to you.

Yours sincerely

 Liphethiso Monica Harris

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