Our youngest child age 3 years old!
Whilst of course the politics of both the UK and US have been occupying much of the media coverage, we also know that the politics of South Africa is always a significant factor in terms of the influences on our work in the country.
I took an interest in reading the recent National Action Plan released by the DoJ – Department of Justice and Constitutional Development – which wrote in terms of education that ‘although education and economic policies are designed to be pro-poor the negative effect of home background factors cannot be completely eradicated’.
It is interesting from a perspective where the focus we have with the children and young people we work with is on ‘maximising potential’ irrespective of the background. South Africa is the most developed of African countries with educational resources that stand out in the continent. The Top 4 universities in Africa are all based here.
However not only this but if you look at the Department of Education there are special school options offering vocational training, schools that are tailored for intellectual disability and schools with measures in place to teach those with specialized learning needs.
But how do we bring all of this together in terms of the work we do. Well you take the child when they are first placed at our youth centre – offering full-time residential care – and you do an assessment in formulating an individual development plan for them. Part of this is referring them for a psychometric evaluation with an educational psychologist.
We then walk the path with that child and young person with the hope that they even surpass our own expectations!
You see part of our longer term investment programme means that we can follow and support our young people through to adulthood, including those in our residential independent living programme between 17-22, and ensure that they become self-sufficient in their own right. And not only that but we invest in them to become young leaders and positive contributors to society.
For us it is the idea that we DO need capital and funds to open up doors to opportunities for education and training BUT we do see the return on investment through the success of our young people, overcoming the odds and proving they can be as successful as any other young people. It is of course the notion of showing someone to fish and feeding them for a lifetime...! But without donations unfortunately it cannot be done!
So as I write this as it is now 10 YEARS since we started Maranatha Care Children – the UK charity that administers this project. This year we have seen one of our young men commence studies at the Nelson Mandela University. Another young man is successfully moving towards his diploma in logistics management. These are tremendous achievements of which we are very proud!
However aside from that we see other successes we are proud of. The child found abandoned and totally unstimulated with an intellectual disability that defeated the odds to find employment far beyond minimum wage where he is now being assisted with an investment account. The other child who had never seen a book before that was assisted with a special school referral and diagnosis of dyscalculia and dysgraphia eventually winning a prize for reading the most books in his class and playing soccer for the high school team whilst in primary school. This is also where funding through this project supports such interventions as occupational therapy!
It is testament to our work when I can have a child as a grown man in his 20s, previously living and working on the street up until being 12 years old, working for a national company and contacting me to tell me of his engagement, new home and being able to speak to other young people to provide motivation for them!
However it is wrong to look back and say “we did all that” – what we did is provide the resources; they did it – our young people remain the heroes, and we hope that you will continue to support them.
This month already we have admitted 3 new children at the youth centre. And you already know that there are enough older young people that can be role models to them and show them the future that they ARE able to look forward to. However with every new admittance comes a new set of expenses which is where the funds we receive from our donors on here helps tremendously!
Please help if you can. I actually thank you for taking the time to read through this email if you have got to this point. If you are reading and thinking it has been some time since you have donated or have been forwarded this from someone else / via an online link to the report and would love to support that charity for the first time there is no time like the present! And let’s start a #tenmoreyears campaign whilst we are at it! Please feel free to share and pass this on…the more we raise awareness the more lives we can transform!
Kids transitioning to young adults with Harrison