Even Ground

Even Ground strives to help families and communities break the cycles of poverty and inequality by providing support to community-based programs that offer high-quality education and care to young people in Africa. We envision communities where all young people, regardless of their economic background, are given high-quality education and care to ensure a fair start in life and set them on the path towards a brighter future. UNAIDS estimates that to date, a staggering 14 million children have been orphaned by AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa. South Africa has the largest number of people living with HIV in the world and by 2025, it is estimated that 40% of South African adults will have died of t...
Jan 3, 2017

Progress Report on Short-term Scholarships to needy students

Dear Donors,

This is a brief progress report on the scholarships that were provided to three (3) needy students who sat for their Advanced Level Certificate exams. The three students finished exams in December 2016 and they are currently waiting for results from the Uganda National EXaminations Board (UNEB). It is anticipated that they will make good grades going by the efforts that they put in their revision and the career guidance that was given.

As of now the boys is doing part-time work to earn some pocket money and field work experience as he waits for his results. As for the girls, they are currently helping their families with homework.

 

Thanks,

Dec 26, 2016

Thanks for Making It Possible!

New Executive Director at Siyabonga
New Executive Director at Siyabonga

As the year draws to a close, we want to thank you again for your generous donations for the work we do in South Africa. Siyabonga Centre is an area that struggles with extreme poverty, inequality, and disease. By supporting our community-based early education program, you are helping to provide care to young children and an educational foundation that will help them change their futures. You are also providing much-needed assistance to their families.

This year Siyabonga provided services to 65 children and recently held a graduation ceremony for 32 children who will now move on to Grade R (kindergarten) at the local school. The children and families, along with the staff, enjoyed the celebration. The children were proud to be able to perform for their families. Parents and guardians expressed their thanks to Siyabonga for taking such good care of their children. They are very appreciative of everyone who makes it possible for their children to have a safe, enriching, and fun place to be during the day.

The center has had a long waiting list of children wanting to attend and has already filled the 32 slots that opened up for next year.

New Executive Director

A new executive director started working at Siyabonga in September. Khethiwe Khzwayo has a bachelor’s degree in social work and spent over eight years working for the South African Department of Social Development, including four years as a supervisor. One of Ms. Khzwayo’s responsibilities with the department was to monitor early childhood development centers. Ms. Khzwayo also spent a year at a local nonprofit, Edi Development Center, as the manager of the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Program. Prior to starting her career in social services, Ms. Khzwayo spent four years as a teacher.

One of Ms. Khzwayo’s first accomplishments at the center was to start a garden. She recruited the grandmother of one of the children at the center as a volunteer and, after only three months, the garden is producing enough beans, potatoes, cabbages, and onions to meet the needs of the center. Next year Ms. Khzwayo is hoping to have not only enough produce to feed the children, but also enough extra to be able to sell in town to raise funds for the center.

In her first couple of months, Ms. Khzwayo completed an evaluation of the center’s educational programming, looking at daily preparation, activities, themes, and lesson planning. She worked with the teachers to develop a new approach for next year with an emphasis on teaching the children English, knowing that this will greatly help them when they begin attending public school where they are taught in English. In order to kick start the 2017 school year, Ms. Khzwayo invested in new education materials needed by both the teachers and the children, including art supplies, books, puzzles, music, and more. Ms. Khzwayo has plans to implement an extended care program soon after the beginning of the year to meet the needs of many families at the center. We are very happy to have Ms. Khzwayo on board and pleased with all she has accomplished in the few months she has been with Siyabonga. Her background in education and social services, her knowledge of early childhood development centers, and her keen understanding of the needs of the community will help her take Siyabonga to the next level.

Keep Siyabonga Strong through 2017

Thank you for continuing to support Siyabonga and the work of Thembanathi. Please consider us in your year-end giving. In this most joyous of seasons, help bring hope into a child’s life by making a tax-deductible contribution to Thembanathi today. Working together, we can create healthier and happier lives for children and their families.

Warm wishes for a wonderful new year,

Lindsey and Helen

Children Performing at Graduation Celebration
Children Performing at Graduation Celebration
Vegetables for Siyabonga
Vegetables for Siyabonga
Nov 1, 2016

Keeping busy!

Working on puzzles
Working on puzzles

We may be nearing the end of the year, but our ECD children have not slowed down! When not outside playing or having an afternoon nap, they spend time in engaging creative sessions. Since our last update, they have learnt about the change of seasons as we are turned from Winter to Spring, temperature changes, the warmth of wool that we get from sheep and about fire and firefighters (we can't leave out those heroes!) Their curriculum has also covered various modes of transport - from road to rail - as well as how seeds travel and general directions.

They have been eyeing our Facilitators doing yoga and jumped at the opportunity to try it out for themselves! We also received a new jungle gym from a generous donor, which the children are loving. 

After spending almost a year together, we thought it would be a great time to celebrate our ECD Class of 2016 and had a "Thanda Photo Day" with all of our ECD children. In the photo, you can see their new uniforms which their parents are very appreciative of, as it keeps their personal clothes in good condition. 

We started this year with twenty children and will start next year with sixty! It does mean big changes for our ECD programme, but thanks to support like yours, it also means more smiles, more laughter and more curiousity. Thank you again for all your support so far this year, we and the ECD children really do appreciate it!

Proud of their Lego creations
Proud of their Lego creations
Thanda ECD Class of 2016
Thanda ECD Class of 2016
Trying out yoga for the first time!
Trying out yoga for the first time!
Learning about buses
Learning about buses
They love this jungle gym!
They love this jungle gym!

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