Sep 12, 2017

CHOSA's community-run preschool, Blessings, continues to grow and thrive!

Nomsa with some of the children she serves
Nomsa with some of the children she serves

In 2014, a woman named Nomsa founded Blessings Educare, a community-run pre-school that CHOSA supports. Blessings is located in the township of Delft, a community plagued by high crime rates and unemployment, but with caring citizens like Nomsa working hard to make a positive change. The name for Nomsa's pre-school was derived from what she views children to be: Blessings. While she views all children to be blessing to all who interact with them, she also wants more blessings for the children who attend her pre-school. She wants Blessings to give the children blessings to go further with their futures, blessings to study further, and blessings to lead a life full of happiness. Simply put, because children are blessings, she knew she had to name her pre-school after what they meant to her.

Blessings started out when Nomsa saw a gap in her community, as parents were going to work early in the morning and getting home late in the evening, and leaving siblings or grandparents to take care of the children while they were gone. With limited oversight of these children, and no formal childcare within the community Nomsa decided to open the doors of her house to take care of a few local children. As the word spread about Nomsa’s small childcare business, more and more parents began arriving at her door and enrolling their children to be in the care of Nomsa. But, as more children signed up, she quickly outgrew her small space and had to expand her business. She then rented space from her neighbor to meet the growing demand for her services, but this too became too small. In 2016 she moved Blessings to a plot of land across from her house, where she now has two container classrooms and a shed which houses the kitchen, office, and Grade R (Kindergarten) class - thanks to a grant from CHOSA. On an average week Nomsa now has around 90 children in her care at Blessings, ranging in age from one to six years of age. It’s amazing to think about how much growth has happened at Blessings in the past three years!

Nomsa is motivated to help the children of South Africa, and is well on her way to making a huge impact in providing early childhood education to children in her community. She believes a strong foundation in early childhood development can set these children up for a better future for themselves and their families.

As Blessings continues to grow and thrive, Township Farmers, a once-off grant recipient of CHOSA’s, has recently planted a beautiful and fruitful vegetable garden on their property. Blessings has also gone through the rigorous process of becoming a registered non-profit in South Africa, and was successful! The sky is the limit for Nomsa’s success and the future of Blessings. Nomsa, as principal, continues to educate herself on early childhood development by attending weekly classes in curriculum development to bring back information and train her teachers. Nomsa hopes to grow Blessings into a space that also provides after-school care and support for children who are already in primary school, a safe space where older children can receive homework support, and a loving place to stay until their parents get home form work.

Being a community leader, Nomsa has been able to create new opportunities for children to thrive within her community. Through the support of CHOSA volunteers, Nomsa has put in an application to purchase her land, which will open more opportunities for Blessings to expand and transition to having permanent structures. With Nomsa’s commitment to the children of Delft, and her continued efforts to improve her community through education, CHOSA has no doubt she will be successful. We are very proud to call Nomsa and Blessings a CHOSA partner organization!

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Jun 12, 2017

Where Success Starts

Walking through the informal settlements
Walking through the informal settlements

These past two weeks, I have had the great pleasure of meeting a few “graduates” of a children’s home that CHOSA used to support. Identified as success stories from the organisation, I scheduled appointments to speak with them and learn about their past, how they came to live at the children’s home, what their aspirations were during their time there, and how they got to where they are now. These stories were incredibly humbling. They have overcome overwhelming odds to find themselves both at university, studying to further themselves and add value to their communities.

A commonality between the two young men that I met, was the thankfulness that they had for the makhulu (grandmother) who opened her house to take care of children whose parents could not. Makhulu had been their to provide a warm meal, a comfortable bed, and most importantly, the love that only such a strong mothering figure could. She supported these children through their hard times, and challenged them in their good times. And throughout the time that these children reside or just come to the home for meals, she consistently reminds the children of the importance of education. Both attribute her push for education, as the reason they are where they are today: in the process of completing their university degrees.

While the environment which these two individuals called home has fluctuated throughout their youth, both of their aspirations for when they grow up has remained constant, and because of makhulu’s trust in them, and their goals, they believe that their success is due to her influence. Both of them said that makhulu used to tell them that education is something that can never be taken away from you, and this is why they find themselves at university today.

These are the kinds of children (or should I now say young adults) and women you are able to support by donating to CHOSA. One’s that care for other people’s children as though they are their own. Women who attend teachers meetings for the children that reside at their homes to make sure that the students are well mannered and diligent students, or to learn in what ways they may be able to support the child to enhance their learning.

 On this past Mothers Day, CHOSA thanks all of these amazing mama’s and makhulu’s for the love that they share for the children of South Africa. Join us in helping to support these strong women of local communities to keep raising more success stories like these two young men!

 
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