Maranatha Care Children

Maranatha Care Children is a non-profit charity, established in 2009 and registered with the Charity Commission in the UK (Charity No: 1139344), aiming to help South African children by offering development in education and life skills, providing suitable home environments and safeguarding the futures of those in care. The objects of the organisation (as set out in our governing constitution) are as follows: 1. To promote social inclusion for the public benefit by preventing children and young people in care in South Africa from becoming socially excluded. 2. To relieve the needs of such children and young people who are socially excluded and assisting them to integrate into society. ...
Jul 6, 2016

Education Is Key!

Proud of our young men...here for Freedom Day!
Proud of our young men...here for Freedom Day!

As we continue with our Global Giving project focusing on education it is important to look at StatsSA’s “The Social Profile of Youth, 2009-2014” report which raised the perniciously high, and unchanging, unemployment levels of 66% among youths, and the direct co-relation of joblessness to levels of education. Over the five-year period, little had changed: 57% of youth without matric are unemployed

South African deputy director general of population and social statistics also highlighted recently how education and not growth is the key to working youth. This correlated with official statistics showing how at least one in two South Africans aged between 15 and 24 do not have a job. This is one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world.

Yet through our residential programme we continue to see success out of the young people we are investing in. In the last report I shared the news of one young man who achieved a bursary for a Business Management Diploma. He continues to be supported through our project and even achieved 91% in his first assignment. He is currently one of the top achieving learners in the class showing you the potential our young people have when they are given the right opportunity.

It is a question I often get asked but the South African Children’s Act 2005 does make provision for us to be able to support those young people after they turn 18 if they are motivated and opportunities are available for them to continue their training. This is also aligned to the notion of independent living and shows you where the results of what has been invested in the children over all those years can truly be seen and monitored as the transition to adulthood takes place. 

Further to this I also shared the story of another young man who is currently doing a woodwork & upholstery course through a skills centre. His whole demeanor has improved and confidence increased through this vocational option being made available for him. We recently received high praise for his conduct and motivation as he won “Student of the Month” through all the courses they offer. Two of our children were also arranged work experience opportunities in the last month

I try not to talk about the experiences such children endured before coming into care with us as it is important we can look forward to the future and focus on the here and now. But it is certainly clear that they really do prove that “anything is possible”!

Since March this year we were able to arrange Occupational Therapy assessments for another 4 children and now have a number of 9 children receiving this weekly in small groups. We now have to arrange a further 4 Psychometric Evaluations to ensure that our children’s scholastic needs are met and the correct school placements identified. Already at this stage there are already 4 children who must be directed to a special school placement by next year. There is also a need for new school clothes at our centre and we hope that we will be able to raise further funds through this project to ensure that our children never look out of place compared to others in the schools they attend!

Currently at our centre we have been able to arrange a wonderful holistic activity program for the children which includes music therapy, cricket lessons, football coaching and team matches, spiritual dancing, computer lessons, sea cadets, sea scouts…we have also started a weekly reading club and have arranged trips to the library where they have been able to choose their own books! The photos here just gives a small snapshot of what is made possible for our children - and how they also make us PROUD daily! The children also each have an individual development plan so as well as these activities and outings that can be made possible their therapeutic and developmental needs are fully met by what we do at the centre. It was also lovely now to hear from one of our girls who left in November last year how she is now making great progress with her Office Administration course for which she received a bursary. She expressed just how grateful she was for everything we had done – but we are just grateful that such children can have a chance in life they always deserved!

Please please please donate if you can – at this stage we are really in need to financial support and I hope that these updates will be more regular in the future! You can of course post on facebook, tweet, email & just generally share this and help to get the word out there! Thank you for helping to make brighter futures possible…shooting for the moon one step at a time!  

Youngest girls on a special music festival outing!
Youngest girls on a special music festival outing!
Dream. Believe. Achieve - one of our Iron Kids!
Dream. Believe. Achieve - one of our Iron Kids!
Life skills sessions! Youth development is key!
Life skills sessions! Youth development is key!
One of you could be the next president girls!
One of you could be the next president girls!

Links:

Jan 8, 2016

Making STARS of the future...!

Proud with the kids at their Cadets prize giving!
Proud with the kids at their Cadets prize giving!

I am writing this update as South Africa has just released the matric results – the exams taken by students in their final year of high school before they could be moving on to higher education. The 2015 national pass rate was 70.7% yet in the Eastern Cape, where we operate, the province achieved only a 56.8% which was down from 65.4% in 2014 and shows it to be the worst performing province for two years in a row. This is where we can see that there continues to be a substantial need for social change!

Yet the wonderful news that can be shared is that one young man from the child & youth care centre we support most certainly passed all his final exams and achieved well enough to keep his place studying Business Management at university level this year! And not only that but he was awarded a bursary from the educational establishment assisting to make this possible! He really has a lovely personality and deserves a bright future after making the most of opportunities afforded to him…opportunities that your funds help make possible!

However what we also believe is that specialised education must be afforded to those who need it and as such vocational options are also identified because it is clear that having a trade is a wonderful pathway for those with more practical abilities, particularly where we know that even having a degree does not guarantee you job security! As such a further success story from the centre is another young man who has completed his standard schooling and is now staying on having been enrolled in a woodwork & upholstery course. He has already been involved at the centre in such income-generating initiatives as tyre furniture making affording opportunities to develop more unique skills!

It is great to be able to report such stories as what we see is the end result of the investment in education and development where prospects for children coming into residential care appear brighter. This is aligned with our own vision as a charity and where we can thank all our supporters to this project! And as we start a new school year with children enrolled in Grade 1 onwards we can only again ask for any contribution towards making more success stories possible in this coming year! You will also see a photo here from a prize-giving event I PROUDLY attended at Sea Cadets which a number of children from the youth centre attend as we strive to help open as many doors as possible to realise potential!

What else can be reported at this time is that I myself have this month been awarded a British Citizen Award for the category of International Achievement. These awards were launched to honour those making a positive impact on society and for ‘everyday’ people whose achievements may otherwise be overlooked. I was amazed to be nominated in the first place so to have been awarded this incredible honour has been truly overwhelming and definitely unexpected! But I only hope it will also help others to share in the passion for what we are trying to achieve and help us to make more of a difference…one child at a time!

Thanks again for all of the support! PLEASE do share, tweet or forward this report and project page on because the more support we receive the greater the difference we will be able to make! We are still shooting for the moon…and creating stars in the process!

Excited to be training in Woodwork & Upholstery!
Excited to be training in Woodwork & Upholstery!
The new tyre furniture project at the youth centre
The new tyre furniture project at the youth centre
Our oldest boy beaming with his matric certificate
Our oldest boy beaming with his matric certificate

Links:

Jul 28, 2015

"It always seems impossible...until it's done"

Celebrating Nelson Mandela Day 2015
Celebrating Nelson Mandela Day 2015

It is certainly time to update all of our supporters as we start the third school term here in South Africa!

We have recently managed to arrange a number of 15 psychometric evaluations to help plan services and school placements for the children in our care. This is where we give a BIG thanks to all those who lend their support to our work at Siyakatala. Simply incredible! 

These assessments allow us to plan work internally (implementing a therapeutic development plan for every child) but also to identify where children are in need of specialised schooling to help overcome barriers to learning they may experience and making a world of difference to their personal progress. We have also been able to continue with Occupational Therapy at the centre.

We have recently celebrated Nelson Mandela Day here in South Africa. It is pertinent to quote Madiba himself in stating that “It always seems impossible until it is done”. Whilst education remains a priority for all the children in residential care at Siyakatala, they also have a whole range of opportunities whilst at the centre, ranging from scouts & cadets, to life saving & swimming, cricket & canoe lessons, art & music sessions…the vision to work holistically in truly seeing the potential of these young people come to fruition is one that we are certainly working to achieve!

Whilst South Africa has its many challenges, more young people are grabbing opportunities countrywide of becoming entrepreneurs in their community and becoming active participants in the country’s economy. When it comes to the children of our youth centre what we continually try to instill is self-belief. In our recent school results we have two high school children achieving an average of 60% or higher. We also had one girl in special schooling achieve an average of 77% and being selected to take part in a restaurant evening as part of her hospitality practical. What fantastic achievements! 

It is of course important to remember through it all how Africa as a continent has great potential…and that more than 65% of Africa’s people are young!

Recently I had the privilege of making contact with one of our care-leavers, now into his 20s. Sharing news of his work progress with me, NQF training & future ambitions, engagement & new accommodation. It was too fulfilling for words. I could share with you the hardship he encountered in his life before coming into residential care over 10 years ago, but instead let me just focus on this: “Life is not about where you’ve been, it’s about where you’re going”.

Every little truly helps when it comes to our project. Please give what you can and please spread the word. Because you know what? One of these children could be the future President.

Thank you for supporting us on this journey!

Our oldest boy commencing a hike with the Cadets!
Our oldest boy commencing a hike with the Cadets!
Our youngest children...the adults of tomorrow!
Our youngest children...the adults of tomorrow!
 

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