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...
Mar 1, 2016

Siyabonga Looks to the Future

Children Happy to be at Siyabonga
Children Happy to be at Siyabonga

Dear Friends,

In January, we began our fifth year at Siyabonga.  The staff and I were excited to welcome back our returning students and to meet the new children who have joined our program.  We are really looking forward to a new year and to working together with our Board and the community to improve our early childhood education program.  We also our eager to see the changes the year may bring for Siyabonga.   As I begin my first full year at the Centre, I wanted to reach out personally to all the people who have made Siyabonga possible.  I am truly humbled by the caring and generosity of so many people.  On behalf of the Board, the staff, the children and the community, I say THANK YOU for keeping these needy children in mind. Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to all of you.

I am confident that 2016 will be a year of change at Siyabonga Centre.  I am no longer calling it “Siyabonga Early Childhood Development Centre” because we envisage it becoming an “Educational Centre” for everyone in the community.  Your ongoing support of our program has prompted us to widen our horizons.  Our first step towards creating an education centre will be to establish an after-school program that will assist the children in the nearby primary schools to meet the challenges they will face, and to address their other needs that our schools do not have the resources to respond to. The after-school program will not only benefit those children who had been with us at Siyabonga, ensuring their continued educational success as they move forward, but also will assist more children in need.  Our goal will be to improve their academic results and to assist them to achieve success into the future.  As part of this program, we hope to have our own mini-library, so all of our students will have access to books and other learning materials.  This is important as many of the students find it difficult to pay for transportation to the closest library.  We also hope to add computers and Internet access, so all the local students, including the tertiary students, can benefit from the resources here.  It would be so exciting to introduce our little ones to computing as early as possible and to encourage older students to volunteer to help, allowing them to get some work experience.

Once the after-school program is established, we hope to add a third pillar to our education centre.  Under Apartheid, many of our older local residents were denied the opportunity to gain an education.  Even after Apartheid ended, local schools, particularly in the rural areas, lacked the resources to provide a quality education.  The completion rate for secondary school in the area remains extremely low (well below 50%).  Consequently, there is a very high rate of illiteracy among the parents and guardians of our students.  To address the needs of the adults in the community, we hope to add an Adult Basic Education and Training course.   By offering adults basic education, many doors will open for those who attend.  They will not only be in a position to assist their children in their learning, but will also have the ability to access more employment opportunities.

I am looking forward to a new beginning, with ideas being shared among all the relevant stakeholders who have and who continue to make significant contributions towards the growth of Siyabonga. I am pleased to have you all on board.

Thank you again for all your support.

Weekend Ngubane

Executive Director, Siyabonga

Children Starting at Siyabonga
Children Starting at Siyabonga
Feb 18, 2016

Moving into 2016 - Building on Success

Scholars
Scholars

Dear Even Ground Friends and Family, 

Thank you for your support throughout 2015. We have exciting news to share for the end of the 2015! The Even Ground raised $10,000 through its year end campaign. Thank you to all who supported our efforts to support youth education and community development in Southern Africa. 

As a result of your generosity, Even Ground has been able to carry on its work of providing over 1,500 children and the communities that support them essential health, education, nutrition, and development services.

In December 2015, Even Ground launched a new website, which displays our project’s work and provides ways to join our cause. Please take a moment to visit and share the new website with your friends and colleagues.

We are also excited to announce that we have selected a new project to add to our portfolio. In 2015, Even Ground undertook a rigorous process of stakeholder engagement, outreach, and analysis to select a new project. The projects we evaluated engage in groudnbreaking and innovative grassroots work in disadvantaged areas of Sub-Saharan Africa.  After an extensive process, we are pleased to announce that the Kgololo Academy in Johannesburg South Africa has been added to the Even Ground family. 

Here are so wonderful facts about our new project: 

  • Kgololo Academy is a Pre-K to 12 university prepatory school in the township of Alexandra located in Johannesburg South Africa
  • The school is open enrollment and severd over 100 students in 2015. Each year the school will add another class expanding its ranks and increasing this vital service to the community.
  • Kgololo is a "KIPP Inspired" private school, grounded in the philosophy that all students should have access to high quality university prepatory education
  • The school is run by a dynamic set of young entrepreneurs lead by Waahida Mbatha Tolbert. 
  • Kgololo already has a strong working relationship with another partner project, the Dukathole Scholarship Fund, and will work collaboratively with them and our other projects to increase the services we can provide to the students we serve. 

Please join us in welcoming this new project to our portfolio!

This year Even Ground has a number of exciting activities planned. We will conduct another search process for new projects to be completed by August 2016. If you have any projects that you would like to have included in the process, please let us know! 

In addition, Even Ground will be expanding its volunteering opportunities. We have received feedback from many of you that you would like to find ways to be more involved. We will be rolling out a more engaged volunteer strategy this year and hope that you will join us in supporting our wonderful programs. 

Thank you again for your continued support. 

All the best, 

Christopher Eaglin

Executive Director

Even Ground 

Kgololo Academy Scholars
Kgololo Academy Scholars
Dukathole Scholars on Safari
Dukathole Scholars on Safari

Links:

Jan 4, 2016

A Great Year!

We have come to the end of 2015 and our ECD Programme is going well! We have a new ECD teacher who works with the kids on many engaging activities to help them prepare for school. They do crafts, colors, shapes and story time. They even helped to decorate the Christmas trees at our Holiday Party!

They are still in their small classroom but we look forward to building a new ECD center next year and take on more children. We are so close to our fundraising goal - thanks to all of you! 

Since the start of our ECD programme in April, we have seen such an improvement in these 15 kids. And so have the parents. One parent wrote a letter recently to Thanda expressing her gratitude for the new programme. 

“I am noticing positive changes in my child and I can tell that there is still more to come out of him. It amazes us as parents. There is a lot that has changed in my child because of the ECD Center and it’s clear to see that Miss Nokuthula knows what she is doing with our children. We as parents are certain that by the time the children go to school, they will be more than ready for it and we are so happy for that. We are saying we really appreciate Thanda ECD and we don’t want our children to lose Thanda."

Thank you for all your support to help us provide these incredibly needed programmes. We look forward to expanding and hope you will help us reach our fundraising goal early this year.

With Gratitude, 

Thanda

Excited for their Christmas Presents
Excited for their Christmas Presents
Having fun dancing at the Holiday Party
Having fun dancing at the Holiday Party
 
   

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