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...
Jul 8, 2015

News from Siyabonga

Nqobile at Siyabonga
Nqobile at Siyabonga

MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR JULY 15 WHEN GLOBAL GIVING WILL HAVE ITS LARGEST BONUS DAY OF THE YEAR. OUR SIYABONGA EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION CENTRE WILL RECEIVE A 50% MATCH ON DONATIONS YOU MAKE ON JULY 15.

Introducing Siybonga’s Lead Teacher and Her Student

Nqobile Msweli was born and raised in Mtubatuba, South Africa.  She is the oldest of five children and currently is living with her siblings, parents, and grandparents at the home of her maternal grandmother. Nqobile obtained her Matric certificate in 2006 and had hoped to go on to college but her family could not afford to send her. This year, with help from Thembanathi, she has started studying early childhood education at the University of South Africa.

After high school, Nqobile worked at Thembalesizwe Community Care Centre as a caregiver for orphans and vulnerable children. She also provided home-based care, helping to identify the needs of families in the area. When the Siybanoga Early Childhood Education Centre opened in January 2012, Nqobile was hired as the assistant teacher.  Visitors to Siyabonga have commented that Nqobile is a natural. She is engaged, calm, and caring.

Nqobile told us she really enjoys working with children. She feels working at Siyabonga has improved her life and she is thankful to everyone who has contributed to the centre.

Mandisa is a four-year-old student at Siyabonga. Nqobile told us that everyday Mandisa comes to school with a story to tell her. She focuses well as she plays and learns. She also gets along well with other children in her class. Mandisa appreciates everything her parents and teacher do for her and loves to share her happy moments with others. Mandisa is the oldest child in her family and is very talkative at home.

Working Together to Help Children

Although started as an AIDS hopsice, Holy Cross soon recognized the need to help children impacted by the disease and in 2002, opened an early childhood education center in a one-car garage. Thembanathi’s founder, Lindsey Reynolds, visited there in 2003 with a fellow college student and they began raising funds for Holy Cross soon after.  In 2004, the organization obtained funding to build a new early childhood education centre that accommodates up to 120 children. The director of Holy Cross, Sister Priscilla Dlamini, has not only inspired us through her tireless dedication to improving the lives of children and families in need, but also has been a tremendous resource for other local leaders. When we started working with community members in a nearby region to open Siyabonga Early Childhood Center, Sister Priscilla stepped up to provide guidance and assistance to the new director and board.

Recently, Sister Priscilla partnered with Embury Institute for Teachers Education to provide early childhood development training to teachers from Holy Cross and invited Siyabonga staff to join them. Three teachers from Siyabonga have been attending the program, dedicating their weekends to the training. We are excited for this opportunity to partner our two programs with other resources in the province. Staff told us they are learning about the needs of young children and the role of a good teacher. We are hopeful the training will provide our teachers with the tools and techniques to be able to facilitate active learning appropriate to their community and promote healthy development in the children we serve.  

Looking Ahead

We are very pleased to be able to fund a new position at Siyabonga starting next month. We are currently recruiting for an executive director who will lead an effort to make the organization more independent, sustainable, and responsive to the needs of the community. The new director will be responsible for expanding the services we offer to provide more support for children and families in the community.  While early childhood education is a critical service that lays the foundation for children’s future, it is vital in areas of extreme poverty to continue to provide children with support throughout their primary and secondary school years. We hope you will continue to support the efforts of Siyabonga to make a difference in the lives of these young children by donating during Global Giving’s bonus day on Wednesday, July 15.

Thank you!

Mandisa
Mandisa
Nqobile
Nqobile
Jul 7, 2015

Off to a great start!

Visiting the pigs
Visiting the pigs

It's been three months since the start of our Early Childhood Development (ECD) Programme and we're happy to report that everything is running smoothly! Janet, one of our Grades R & 1 Educational Facilitators, has taken on the responsibility of leading our ECD Programme and has done an incredible job with making sure the children in our Programme are receiving the support they need.

Each day, children have play time, story time, visit our animals (pigs, chickens, and ducks) and engage in artistic activities (painting, coloring, drawing, etc.). Currently, our ECD Programme takes place in our Community Centre but we hope to have a brand new ECD Centre built within the next year that will allow us to support more children in our community.

We still have a long way to go to reach our fundraising goal so don't forget to donate on July 15th when 40% of every donation will be matched! As always, we thank you for your support!

With gratitude,

Thanda

Spiderman fans
Spiderman fans
Jul 6, 2015

Scholar Success Story

Eva: The newest midwife at Kisubi Hospital
Eva: The newest midwife at Kisubi Hospital

Thanks to each of you, our loyal donors, we are thrilled to share a success story of one of our scholars.

Today, Eva lives a self-sustaining life after considerable challenges were put in her way. Eva, one of the 24 students sponsored by Even Ground, dedicated herself to her studies for over six years and has achieved a medical career at Kisubi Hospital, just a few miles near Entebbe International Airport.

Eva was given the sponsorship in 2007 after finished primary school. She had no hope of continuing with her education after both her parents passed away and the aunt who was helping had also lost a job.

She was offered a scholarship through Even Ground, and successfully completed her four years of high school. When it came to time for her national proficiency exams, they were cancelled due to the closure of the examination center. All of the students scheduled for the exam were impacted; Eva was devastated thinking all of her hard work was for nothing.

Thanks to the support of our local partner, Eva was ultimately able to repeat the course and sit for the national exam. Eva persevered, and achieved a high enough grade that allowed her to join a Nursing and Midwifery College where she graduated last year in November as a Mid-wife.

In May 2015 Eva’s hard work and discipline paid off and she secured a job at Kisubi Hospital where she is working as a midwife. On getting this job she happily called our local partner and shared the good news. She is thankful for the support that has helped her reach a self-sustaining, independent life. She promised to always be involved in our program activities including fundraising, counseling and career guidance.

In the pictures, you can see Eva, her supervisor, and our Program Manager, Dan.

Even Ground project still has two other students Justine and Emma who will finishing their final exams in this summer, the two will be graduating from university with degrees one in Micro Finance and the other in Accounting and Finance.

We look forward to continuing the Uganda Education project and starting a new cohort of students. Your help today will enable us to reach this goal.

Thank you for your continued support!

Eva and her support team
Eva and her support team

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