Help Educate 22 Children in Zandspruit, S.Africa

by Kingsway Centre of Concern: Thandanani House of Refuge
Help Educate 22 Children in Zandspruit, S.Africa
Help Educate 22 Children in Zandspruit, S.Africa
Help Educate 22 Children in Zandspruit, S.Africa
Help Educate 22 Children in Zandspruit, S.Africa
Help Educate 22 Children in Zandspruit, S.Africa
Help Educate 22 Children in Zandspruit, S.Africa
Help Educate 22 Children in Zandspruit, S.Africa
Help Educate 22 Children in Zandspruit, S.Africa
Help Educate 22 Children in Zandspruit, S.Africa
Help Educate 22 Children in Zandspruit, S.Africa
Help Educate 22 Children in Zandspruit, S.Africa
Help Educate 22 Children in Zandspruit, S.Africa
Help Educate 22 Children in Zandspruit, S.Africa
Help Educate 22 Children in Zandspruit, S.Africa
Claudia's Graduation
Claudia's Graduation

Just when we thought that we were past the peak of the Covid pandemic, the 2nd wave hit us in December, and our challenges of the early part of 2020 have returned including the challenge of online education. Fortunately our school summer holidays started mid-December and ran through to end-January, so the impact will only be from February onwards.

During the holidays it is always our goal to try and re-unite some of our children with their extended family members so that when they eventually leave us they still have a support base. Of course this is not always possible for a variety of reasons e.g. they were abandoned and the family can’t be found, or the home environment of the family member is not considered safe. But I am pleased to say we were able to re-unite a high percentage of our children this year, even if it was only for a couple of weeks, the only sad part is that it re-enforces the feeling of abandonment for those left at Thandanani knowing they don’t have family outside of Thandanani.

As in any family it’s always sad when a family member leaves, and so it was when our Social Worker (Zandile) resigned in October. Zandile had been with us since 2005 and had become an integral part of the family and a confidant of the children. But there was also a silver lining because one of our house moms (Claudia) had been studying for a Social Work degree by correspondence, and had just qualified earlier in 2020, so it was an ideal opportunity to promote her into the role of the new Social Worker. Of course this caused a chain reaction and left us short of a house mom, but I am pleased to report that we found a lovely new lady (Sibongile) who has come on board and has fitted in from Day1.

So as we move into 2021 with it’s ongoing Covid challenges we do so ever thankful for you, our supporters, that have supported us through some difficult times, and for this we are eternally grateful.

Best Wishes

Paul

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Homework Time
Homework Time

Education has presented a challenge for the children of Thandanani in 2020.

Estimates in South Africa show that up to end September children have lost between 30 and 59 school days (depending on their grade) during the pandemic, and although schools are now back they will probably lose more between now and the end of the year due to social distancing measures e.g. half the class only attending school every alternate day.

So with the return of school attendance it’s definitely been a whole new experience for our Thandanani children, not only having to convince them to wear masks all day at school, but then having to continue with online lessons on the alternate days at home.

And it’s also been a learning curve for our house parents who have to keep track of who is at school on which day given that it varies by grade, and the fact that our children attend 7 different schools, not to mention trying to figure out which online class which child should log into on which day. And we’ve had to change our mode of transport because children that would normally have gone to school in a mini-taxi (16-seater microbus) no longer do so because of the risk of the virus in that environment, and in place of that we have decided to take them to school and back ourselves, with some schools being up to 20 kms away and the resultant cost of fuel and wear-and-tear on our vehicles.

But notwithstanding the challenges we remain upbeat because not only is education taking place, but we’re surviving the pandemic, and our children have remained virus free for which we are extremely grateful.

And of course we owe a debt of gratitude to you our supporters, and thank you once again for every donation whether big or small that has been helping us to survive the Covid-19 challenge.

Best wishes

Paul

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Two Thandanani Children in a Cycling Fundraiser
Two Thandanani Children in a Cycling Fundraiser

As I write this report we are still in a state of semi-lockdown, with our children just starting to tentatively go back to school, which is being spread over the coming weeks with a grade at a time going back. We just hope that it proves possible to keep them socially distanced, and that we can keep them wearing masks as the current law dictates in South Africa.

Life in South Africa has certainly been a challenge for the last 3 months, not least for our children at Thandanani – imagine keeping 22 kids indoors for the whole 3-month period !!! I take my hat off to our dedicated house parents who have stuck to their task during this time, and have done a sterling job, but who are also very thankful that the schools are starting to open!

Of course education didn’t come to a standstill while we were in lockdown, as every school started presenting online lessons, and Zoom classes. This of course presented us with the challenge of not having enough PC’s or tablets or mobile phones to keep everyone connected when they needed to be, and created an exponential cost in data charges. But we were blessed with many coming to our rescue in the form of PC’s and donations of data.

But Covid-19 has also presented us with another challenge namely a funding challenge, due to the fact that a lot of the money that we would normally have received from corporates has been re-directed to Covid relief schemes, not to mention the fundraising events that we would have run which are now in jeopardy, hence the new project that you would have seen that we launched on GlobalGiving to try and fill the gaps of lost income.

But I have no doubt that we will survive this challenge and come out the stronger for it, and of course we are forever grateful for your support to help us over these hurdles.

Given the current situation I unfortunately don’t have any recent photos of our children that I can share with you, so I’ve included a photo of two of our children that was taken at a cycling fundraising event at the end of 2019.

Best wishes

Paul

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Unathi - Then and Now
Unathi - Then and Now

As much as it often distresses any parent when one of their children decides to move out and establish themselves on their own, it is no different when one of our "children" at Thandanani decides it's time to move on, as was the case at the beginning of this year.

Unathi was one of the first children that Thandanani took in back in 2003 when she was presented to us by the police as an 18-month old baby who had been found abandoned on the street, and in December 2019 she graduated from high school! 

As much as there is anxiousness at her moving out, there is also a real sense of pride in her achievement, and at the end of the day this is the way it's supposed to be, and this is ultimately our purpose to empower abandoned and abused children to become responsible members of society who can stand on their own 2 feet.

Unathi plans to study further, and she was also fortunate that we were able to find an uncle with whom she could re-unite and has now moved in with him as she embarks on the next phase of her life.

But not all of our children are so fortunate, and when they finish school at the age of 18 we often have to make plans to assist them and care for them until they can find their feet, and be in a position to sustain themselves.

And that is the reason that we are so thankful for every one of you who have been so generous with your giving, which has allowed us to care for these children who would have otherwise been lost to society.

Best Wishes

Paul

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We look back on 2019 and acknowledge each of you who have walked a road with us, and give thanks for your contribution that has allowed our family at Thandanani to not only survive, but to thrive.

To mention but a few examples:
1 Nthabaleng is putting her ECD (Early Childhood Development) training to good effect at one of Johannesburg's big hospitals and has moved out of Thandanani as she's now able to stand on her own feet.
2 Sam has completed another year of his trade in welding, and will hopefully be able to step out on his own in the not too distant future.
3 Mina has earned herself a bursary for 2020 to attend a prestigious private school.
4 Esther and Manana received certificates at their respective schools for achievement.
5 Palesa won a spellathon

And so we look forward to 2020 with anticipation of what we might be able to achieve with these children who would otherwise not have had a future, but for your support.

Let me also take this opportunity to wish you well over the festive season, and everything of the best for 2020.

Best Regards
Paul

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Organization Information

Kingsway Centre of Concern: Thandanani House of Refuge

Location: Johannesburg - South Africa
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @thandananihouse
Project Leader:
Paul McKibbin
Johannesburg, South Africa
$16,783 raised of $20,000 goal
 
231 donations
$3,217 to go
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