Help us educate 142 African Angels in South Africa

by African Angels
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Help us educate 142 African Angels in South Africa
Help us educate 142 African Angels in South Africa
Help us educate 142 African Angels in South Africa
Help us educate 142 African Angels in South Africa
Help us educate 142 African Angels in South Africa
Help us educate 142 African Angels in South Africa
Help us educate 142 African Angels in South Africa
Help us educate 142 African Angels in South Africa
Help us educate 142 African Angels in South Africa
Help us educate 142 African Angels in South Africa
Help us educate 142 African Angels in South Africa
Help us educate 142 African Angels in South Africa
Help us educate 142 African Angels in South Africa
Help us educate 142 African Angels in South Africa
Help us educate 142 African Angels in South Africa
Help us educate 142 African Angels in South Africa
Help us educate 142 African Angels in South Africa
Help us educate 142 African Angels in South Africa
Help us educate 142 African Angels in South Africa
Help us educate 142 African Angels in South Africa
Help us educate 142 African Angels in South Africa
Hlumela helping to unload the food
Hlumela helping to unload the food

African Angels is based in Nelson Mandela's home province, the Eastern Cape of South Africa.  The children who attend our school are of Xhosa background, as was Nelson Mandela.  

Nelson Mandela was known by many names, one of the wonderful nuances about living in South Africa.

Nelson - the name given to him on his first day at school by his teacher, Miss Mdingane. 

At the time it was customary to give African children English names, as a legacy of the colonial days in which the rulers could not often pronounce African names. No one knows why Miss Mdingane chose the name Nelson, although Mandela suggested in his autobiography that he was given the name Nelson after the British sea captain Lord Nelson.

Rolihlahla - his birth name, given to him by his father. In his native language of Xhosa it means “pulling the branch of a tree”, but colloquially it means “troublemaker”.

Mandela - his family surname.

Madiba - the name of the clan of which Mandela is a member. A clan name is much more important than a surname as it refers to the ancestor from which a person is descended. Madiba was the name of a Thembu chief who ruled in the Transkei in the 18th century. It is considered very polite to use someone’s clan name.

Tata - in Xhosa, the language of the Madiba tribe, the word means “father”, but it is a term of endearment given to him by many South Africans regardless of their age.

Dalibhunga – the name he was given aged 16, after undergoing Xhosa initiation. It means “creator or founder of the council”. The correct use of this name when greeting Mandela was “Aaah! Dalibhunga”.

Mandela Day is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, the ability to make an impact. The Mandela Day campaign message is: ... In November 2009, the United Nations General Assembly formally declared 18 July to be "Nelson Mandela International Day". (Wikipedia 2019)

African Angels was supported by a local campaign run by MHG Property Consultants, called Tins for Tummies.  It is hard for children to learn if they are hungry, and many of our learners do not get enough to eat on a daily basis.  African Angels provide a hot meal in the middle of each day for each child, and MHG, together with Lilyfontein School, Vincent Park Shopping Centre, Crossways SPAR and St Christophers collected tinned and non-perishable food that was donated on Mandela Day.

It takes a village to raise a child.  This Mandela Day we saw a village come together to feed our children.

We are especially grateful to Natelie of MHG Properties who initiated and drove the Tins for Tummies campaign.

The enormous amount of food donated.
The enormous amount of food donated.
Enthusiastic learners helping to unload the food.
Enthusiastic learners helping to unload the food.
Nelson Mandela. Father of the Nation.
Nelson Mandela. Father of the Nation.

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Lou Billett, African Angels Founder
Lou Billett, African Angels Founder

Lou Billett, the founder of African Angels, has been selected as a finalist in the 2019 East London Business Women's Association 'Business Woman of the Year Awards'. Lou is one of 3 finalists in the Social Entrepreneur category, and the will be announced at the annual awards gala dinner on Saturday 27th July.

Lou started African Angels in 2008, to disrupt the inequality that exists in South Africa, to access quality education, between those who can afford it, and those who cannot and establishing the African Angels Independent School in 2012 made this vision very real.

Lou is a particularly tenacious person, and as we all know education is a long term commitment. Lou’s tenaciousness will see African Angels go from strength to strength, seeing more children able to break out of the cycle of poverty they were born into by receiving a quality education.

African Angels continues to grow because of your support.  Changing lives and restoring hope to children in Chintsa would not be possible without you as part of our Global Family.

Thank you. 

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Siyanqoba Mentors
Siyanqoba Mentors

Earlier this year one of the mothers at African Angels, and a friend, was murdered in a domestic violence incident, that rocked me, and still does. I have had, and have, a lucky life, one full of opportunity, kindness, and love. Yet I live in one of the most violent countries in the world where 62% of kids grow up with absent fathers, and 8 women are murdered every day.

I'll just let that sink in for a bit.

8 women. A day.

I also founded a school where many of the children live in an environment seeing violence, abuse, dysfunction and going without (insert food, services, a toilet of any kind, sometimes love and kindness) every single day. My friend's death made me think - what are we doing with our boys? Is education enough? How do they learn to be better men?

Recently, in the community hall, we launched Siyanqoba (see-a-n-click-orba) that means 'we are victorious'. In collaboration with The Character Company,men in our community who are positive male role models will implement The Character Company's curriculum and meet with our boys every week, helping them to grow into men who live the five honorable values - courage, kindness, self-discipline, honesty and respect.

Not one of these men are paid to be a mentor. They are involved because they want our boys to grow up to be better men. My work is to see our mentors up skilled, developed and supported so they can continue investing into our boys.

I am privileged to have such fine men in our community who will join me on this journey of growing better men. We are taking baby steps, supported by The Character Company team. It won't bring my friend back, but maybe some time in the future, we will have more men who live the five values, than those who don't.

Your support of an Angel at African Angels supports SIyanqoba, as all the children will benefit, and ultimatley so will their community.

Thank you for investing in the future of our boys, and girls.

Lou

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Chris and Debbie  - African Angels Volunteers 2019
Chris and Debbie - African Angels Volunteers 2019

African Angels Independent School: Why we came, why we came back, why we will come back again.

In 2017, with retirement as teachers in the UK looming, we knew that we wanted to use some of our new-found freedom to make a positive contribution to the community in Chintsa, which we had come to know well through several previous visits. We contacted Friends of Chintsa, the local NGO, for suggestions as to where we might have most impact.

The immediate response was that our skill set was best suited to African Angels. The offer of our services was quickly accepted so, in September, we duly presented ourselves at the school.

Chris taught some Geography, Life Orientation and Technology lessons in the Intermediate Phase (Grades 4-7) and shared teaching and learning strategies with teachers who were keen to make the best use of limited resources and try different approaches as educators. By teaching these lessons, class teachers had the opportunity to spend time on other administrative tasks, as non-contact time during the school day was not part of the timetables, or they could choose to observe, as some did. Debbie worked with a recently-qualified teacher in Foundation Phase, offering support to some children in the class who had additional needs, as well as doing reading age assessments with the Grade 1s and 2s. The library was also given an overhaul, with recent donations being sorted through and incorporated and replacing old, unsuitable and tatty books on the shelves.

During our 3 weeks at African Angels, we were made to feel so welcome and our efforts so appreciated that it was an easy decision to make plans to return; the only question was when and in February 2019 we were back.

We spent another fruitful few weeks at the school. This time, as well as teaching some lessons, Chris assisted with the redrafting of some policies and circulated and analysed a Staff Welfare Questionnaire, as the leadership team are keen to ensure they are as mindful of the wellbeing of the staff as they are of the pupils. Debbie did a reading assessment with each pupil in Grades 1, 2 and 3, which will serve as a benchmark from which to measure progress during the year. She spent the rest of the time with a Grade 3 class, teaching some English and Maths and hearing the children read and helping the teacher to plan the reading scheme order for the next term.

We care passionately about this school and plans are already in hand to return next February/March. The staff are totally committed to the stated vision for each child to reach their full potential and work tirelessly to achieve this. The care of the pupils does not end when they leave African Angels but often continues through the efforts of Lou Billett and Sharon Edworthy to get bursaries and scholarships for pupils to access carefully selected high schools and some of the first Angels now attend some of the best schools in South Africa. For the current students, the school has now expanded to offer Grade 8 places.

In addition to the school, the Learning Centre in Chintsa East also provides other facilities for the whole community with free WiFi and reading books. The children can also attend the after school reading project there which helps them improve their literacy skills.

All this has been achieved through donations from businesses and many individuals in South Africa and across the world and all those contributing can be assured their money is being put to very good use every day. 

Chris and Debbie Burnett

Chris in the classroom - 2017
Chris in the classroom - 2017
Debbie with younger African Angels
Debbie with younger African Angels

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Dear family, friends, supporters and donors,

You all know that African Angels is important to me, and many of you have joined me in the past by donating to and supporting African Angels.  We are relentless in providing the parents of Chintsa with a school for their children.  The inequality in South Africa is staggering. 

If you don't have money, your child goes to a public school, and in our area, this means you receive a substandard level of education.  African Angels disrupts the inequality that poor schooling creates. 

The end of the financial year is looming.  For South Africa it is 28 February.  Perhaps that's not your end of financial year, but paying tax is one certainty in life, wherever in the world you live.  Donating to African Angels can help you minimise the tax you pay, at the same time as educating a child.

I need your help.  I am directly seeking donations for African Angels, AND asking you to forward this letter to 5 of your friends and asking them to donate to us.

Here are three reasons why I hope you will support my request: 

1. The majority of South African children cannot read.  
78% of Grade 4 learners cannot read for meaning in any language (PIRLS 2016)

2. The majority of South African children cannot perform basic math. 
61% of Grade 5 learners could not add and subtract whole numbers, have no understanding of multiplication by one-digit numbers and cannot solve simple word problems, i.e. they cannot do basic math.  (TIMSS-N 2015)

3. Nearly half of South African schools are wastelands.  
45% of South African schools could be described as “cognitive wastelands”, where no single learner can read and make inferences.

For the children of Chintsa, African Angels is the only chance they have to get a quality primary school education giving them a fighting chance to break out of poverty cycle - for themselves, their families and South Africa.

Click here to watch why African Angels is so important.

Thank you in advance for your contribution, and for sharing.

Lou Billett
African Angels

Lou with Academic Achiever Milisani
Lou with Academic Achiever Milisani
Lou and school co-funder Sharon Edworthy
Lou and school co-funder Sharon Edworthy

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Organization Information

African Angels

Location: East London, Eastern Cape - South Africa
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @angels_african
Project Leader:
Lou Billett
East London, Eastern Cape South Africa
$133,432 raised of $157,000 goal
 
1,084 donations
$23,568 to go
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