At Thanda, we are fixing the broken education system in South Africa by holistically supporting youth through creative learning, ultimately cultivating empowered, resilient, lifelong learners.
To better understand how our Creative Learning Curriculum is disrupting traditional educational models and supporting children in their ability to learn, grow and lead, we invite you to meet five children of the children in our After-school Programme – Lisakhanya, Amahle, Vuyani, Melokuhle, and Simtholile.
Meet Amahle! Through the implementation of our Creative Learning Curriculum, which disrupts traditional education models, we are supporting Amahle and children like her in their ability to learn, grow and lead in their lives and in their communities.
“I’m Amahle. I am 7 years old. At Thanda, I have learned about different books… I like learning, I even told my family about the book we read about Hoppy, and when I grow up, I want to be a teacher so that I can share my love of learning.”
Nomusa, Amahle’s Grandmother - “Amahle is a very active child, she is very helpful in the house. Since going to Thanda, she has become more disciplined when it comes to her school work, and she has gotten better when it comes to the way she carries herself. She shows zeal for the work she does at Thanda, and even shows zeal for her regular school work.
If someone asked me about the Thanda After-school Programme, I would say take the child to Thanda! As I think about Amhale’s future, I want her to study and succeed. She said she wants to be a teacher and I hope that what she wants for herself comes to fruition.”
“My name is Lisakhanya, I am 6 years old,” says Lisakhana, all big smiles, “Every day when I wake up, I’m excited to start my day with a bath and to get ready for school.” As she speaks, Lisakhanya wiggles around in her chair, brimming with the energy of youth. “My favourite thing about Thanda is playing and reading books,” she says, glancing behind her to her where friends are running around and laughing. “I like reading books like Oh No, George, Odd Dog Out, and Spiderman. If I had to choose one book out of these, it would be Spiderman because I like that he saves people!” Lisakhanya looks to her friends again, obviously ready to join in the fun, so we thank her for the chat and she runs off.
Lisakhanya didn’t always love playing and being around other children though. Her current carefree attitude was something she has learned over time, through the partnership between Thanda’s After-school Programme and her guardian. “When I first started facilitating Lisakhanya,” says After-school Facilitator, Noma, “She used to struggle with sharing, but through the ongoing lessons she’s learning at Thanda, she has been changing,” Noma tells us about a time when, following our Creative Learning Programme, the children in the class were making art related to a book they had read. In the early days of After-school, Lisakhanya would have grabbed the crayons for herself. Now, she makes sure there are enough colours to go around! “She waits her turn and helps the other children when they need something,” says Noma, “I think she’s becoming a good example to her peers because when Lisakhanya sees another child doing something wrong, she’s able to intervene or tell me about what’s going on. I think the books we read for them really make a difference in that because you can see she relates to the story.”
Noma, Lisakhanya’s After-school Facilitator - Thanks to Thanda’s library, Lisakhanya’s learning can continue at home. “I check out books from the Thanda Library so that I can read them at home. Mom or my brother, Mpendulo, sometimes help me read the books.” Thembisile, Lisakhanya’s guardian, also takes an active role in encouraging Lisakhanya’s development. “I’ve seen Lisakhanya’s guardian come to the Guardian Trainings before,” says Noma, “And I believe she implements what she learns there with her children because I’ve had her tell me how much she appreciates the value Thanda is adding to her children’s lives.”
“My name is Vuyani. I’m 6 years old. I love everything about Thanda! My favorite book is “Spiderman”. I wish I could help people like he does and be as strong as he is, so when I grow up I want to be a soldier. I love my community because this is where we get our food and water! If I could give back to the community in any way, I would build more houses and water taps. My favourite food to eat from Thanda is rice and chicken!”
Noma, Vuyani’s After-school Facilitator - “Vuyani is a very bubbly child, he smiles a lot, and he just loves people. He has always been a sweet, very empathetic child. If something bad happens to another child, even if it doesn’t involve him, he will come to tell me or intervene in some way. He sees himself as older than the other children, he has this big brother “I will protect you” attitude. It’s probably because of how much he loves Spiderman.
I think I have special moments with Vuyani every day because he’s always so present; he helps me offload the daily meal from the Thanda car, he helps me hand out art supplies, he even helps me dish up for the children – he’s a very big help! He still struggles with being patient with his work though, he’s always in a rush to finish. If there was a piece of advice I would give Vuyani, it would be for him to continue being the kind and loving person that he is and for him to aim high and keep the right role models for himself because he has the potential to be what he admires the most.”
“My name is Melokuhle and I’m 6 years old! At Thanda, we learn how to read, to colour in and draw, to cut and make masks for our plays, and we get to watch movies! My favourite is drawing. When I grow up, I hope to be a police officer!”
Nomzamo, Melo’s Guardian - “Melo was born in this community and he grew up here. It’s just him and I living together here, our other family is in Durban. He is very attentive, and if he has gone somewhere, he will come back and tell you exactly what happened. He loves people and other children. Since he started Thanda, I see a change in his attitude because he has become more free and confident. He loves listening and reading books! He asks me to help him with his schoolwork now and he looks forward to reading.
I saw the work that Thanda was doing for other children in the community and the many activities that they have for them. That is why I wanted him to Melo to join Thanda After-school so that he could be a well-rounded and grounded child.
I would like people to know that Thanda helps children. You will find that during the day at school, there are many students in class and there are few teachers. Thanda After-school aids in ensuring that what was learned in class is reinforced. If a child didn’t understand the content in class, Thanda takes the time to help them learn.”
“I am Simtholile. I am 9 years old. I love school and going to Thanda! I enjoy the books we read at Thanda; “Tidy” is my favourite. I like the fact that the book ends with the badger getting help from his friends to put things back to the way they were. I also enjoy interacting with all the children and all the events we have at Thanda! I like that we sing together, and get to watch the other children sing and dance as well. My favourite thing in my life is having friends. When I grow up, I want to be a police officer!”
Janet, Simtholile After-School Facilitator - “When I first met Simtholile, he wasn’t serious about his school work and he had a tough time communicating with me. He also used to bully the other children; it seems like he had anger stored up inside.
With time, he’s been able to open up and talk about things, and the more he’s done that, the better his attitude has gotten and the more he’s enjoying being around other children. He is now the one who wants to help handout exercises or shares his stationary, and he’s quick to understand instruction and actually volunteer to help the class.
As Simtholile grows, I want to continue to encourage him to be more honest with himself and others about who he is and how he feels, because that will give him peace with his environment. With this peace comes the ability to feel confident in expressing oneself, recognize personal strengths, think independently, and ultimately, flourish.”
At Thanda, the children in the Class of 2030 are learning academic skills such as literacy, numeracy, and science while also experiencing interpersonal growth through the development of our five Game-changing Skills: self-esteem, perspective, creativity, critical thinking, and empathy. These skills prepare the children in our community to become leaders capable of creating the changes they want to see in their lives and in their communities.
All of these stories of change in the children who participate in our Thanda after-School programme and hundreds of others just like this in our Mtwalume community are possible because of the support we receive from you!
We are so close to reaching our 2019 fundraising goal to continue to learn, grow, and lead in 2020! In fact, we are just $1 770 to go! If you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation before the end of the year, visit our Project Page.
We hope you enjoy a wonderful festive season filled with much love and happiness!
Janet, Simtholile After-School Facilitator
Noma, Lisakhanya's After-school Facilitator
Nomusa, Amahle's Grandmother
Nomzamo, Melo's Guardian