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...
Sep 21, 2016

Progress Report on Short-term Scholarships to help Needy Students Finish Candidate Classes in Uganda

Brenda at school
Brenda at school

Dear Global Giving Team,

It is yet another privilege to share exciting news about the academic and social stability progress that is being made by the beneficiaries of our education support program in Uganda.

The three beneficiaries of the short-term scholarships namely Justine, Brenda and Shafiki being supported with funds raised through Even Ground are currently having their 2nd term school holiday.  The three students continue to make good progress and will soon be embarking on their final term in which they will undertake their Advanced Level Education Final Exams. School visits and telephone calls made to them have revealed that they recently sat for their MOCK exams and results are not yet out but the three are hopeful for good grades. One unfortunate bit was that Shafiki had a toothache which kept him out of school for some days and hence missed an exam. He added that: “I’m doing all possible things in terms of revision time and group discussions to ensure that I score good Grades at my finals”. Brenda is just all praises to whoever donates towards her education. She told her grandma: “God never gives up on needy children, who knew that I would do my form 6 without fees problems?” She tells her grandma that the only way she can pay back to her anonymous funders is by focusing on her education so that she gets good grades. Justine equally continues to pledge her total devotion to studies since she is now assured of school fees at least up to the final certificate awarding exams.

As a sign of appreciation, one of the three students requested us to send you her letter (a scan of which is attached herewith) so that you can get a clear picture iof how she values this sponsorship.

It should be noted that the three students have served as good examples on this pilot project. We have been trying out a short-term scholarship for needy students who were failing to get fees to be able to do their Advanced Level certificate exams. We now know that this model works. The approach doesn’t require a lot of funding and is less risky in terms of financial loss [due to school dropout] since you adopt a student at a critical stage in their education career where chances of dropping out are minimal, since it caters for only one critical life-changing year. Funding available, we are planning to recruit another group of needy students [probably more than 3 students] next year and support them through the same system.

 

Thanks,


Attachments:
Sep 15, 2016

Thank you for your support!

Creating their own life cycle rings
Creating their own life cycle rings

We’ve learned and grown a lot since this campaign first started and we’re eager to keep you, our loyal supporters, in the loop on all of the exciting plans we have for the future. We’re retiring this campaign on Global Giving for now, but we are still very much focussed on our After-School programme so we’ll be sure to share new opportunities for you to get involved and show your support! In the meantime, here are some highlights since the last report:

Between January – June 2016 we:

  • Had an average of 90% attendance rate.
  • Had 1,654 children visit Thanda on the weekends
  • Served 38,618 meals to After-School children
  • Loaned 2974 books borrowed from the library compared to 1814 in the first half of 2015 

At Thanda we empower children with a sense of self-worth, belonging, and love of learning, and we are building the necessary foundation for a better life. Below are some pictures showing you what the children have been getting up to over the last year and a link for you to visit our blog to see what else Thanda has been up to. We could not do this without your continued support – THANK YOU! 

Prepping for our annual Thanda Olympics!
Prepping for our annual Thanda Olympics!
Creating their own aliens
Creating their own aliens
Youth Day celebrations
Youth Day celebrations

Links:

Sep 13, 2016

We Cannot Forget

Andrew Klaber visits Siyabonga
Andrew Klaber visits Siyabonga

In April 2003, after having had the opportunity to travel internationally and see first hand the effect HIV/AIDS was having on children, I decided to start a nonprofit, now known as Even Ground, to provide educational and other support to children living in areas impacted by the epidemic and by extreme poverty. My vision was to bring together a group of like-minded young people in the U.S. who were interested in providing guidance and support to local, community-based organizations in Africa. Later in 2003, I met Lindsey Reynolds who was just beginning her research work in South Africa. Years later, through Lindsey, we became aware of the community near Mtubatuba and their needs and agreed to support their efforts to form Siyabonga

On Monday, August 29th, I and two other members of the Even Ground board (www.evenground.org) had the opportunity to visit with the children at Siyabonga, its new Executive Director, and members of the Siyabonga board, including its Chairman.  

Without a doubt, Siyabonga is a game-changing lifeline for these youngsters. The most critical components of an individual's brain development occurs from birth through age 5 and, without Siyabonga, area children would have no access to brain-stimulating early childhood developmental education. We listened as Siybonga's 60 young children confidently and proudly sang songs to welcome us to the classroom, counted and recited the days of the week in both English and isZulu, and engaged in traditional Zulu dancing. The Siyabonga facilities are incredibly clean and have newly installed toilets (a luxury in this part of rural South Africa). Equally importantly, the Siyabonga children receive five meals and snacks per day--by not having to go hungry, they can best focus on their studies.  

The Siyabonga’s executive director and board have big plans for the future. Although they are still working to create an independent and sustainable organization, they are hopeful they will soon be able to start an after-school program. Additionally, they are evaluating the possibility of turning the Siyabonga facility into an Internet hub in the evenings where older children and adult learners would be able to access computers. Plans are also in the works to cultivate a Siyabonga agricultural garden behind the center, which will be a fun activity for the children and teach them important scientific concepts.

The Siyabonga children are disciplined and passionate about learning. Their instructors are first-rate, and we look forward to seeing what these youngsters will achieve in primary school and beyond as a direct result of their excellent Siyabonga education.

I and other Board members will not soon forget all that we saw, felt, and experienced during our time in South Africa. We now have a better sense of the economic, educational, and social struggles the children there face, and recognize that with this knowledge comes responsibility. These children have motivated us to continue our work here and energized us to do more.

By supporting Siyabonga, you are an integral part of the work we do. You enable 60 youngsters to receive a stellar early childhood education; you enable these youths to receive myriad high-quality meals; and you enable the Siyabonga staff and board to plan for a very exciting and impactful future.  Please join us in continuing to support Siyabonga.

Children of Siyabonga welcome Even Ground board
Children of Siyabonga welcome Even Ground board
 
   

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