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Education support for children in South Africa

by Maranatha Care Children
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Education support for children in South Africa
Education support for children in South Africa
Education support for children in South Africa
Education support for children in South Africa
Education support for children in South Africa
Education support for children in South Africa
Education support for children in South Africa
Education support for children in South Africa
Education support for children in South Africa
"home schooling" at our youth centre!
"home schooling" at our youth centre!

Of course as project leaders we have a responsibility to update our supporters of our current situation in dealing with the global pandemic that is impacting on NPOs worldwide!

Our residential child & youth care centre has of course been continuing as an essential service which has meant a busy time for myself and our staff looking after the children,

Having to adapt to being on 'lockdown' in South Africa, which dare I say has been much stricter than many countries, has been a challenge in that keeping children occupied, stimulated AND educated 24/7 at our facility whilst taking all necessary precautions to prevent any possible risk has needed a lot of commitment and dedication,

Yet we are pleased to report that our kids are still happy and healthy with us utilizing the technology at our disposal to bring in 'live' educational sessions and lessons as well as working hand in hand with the various school our youngsters attend to ensure that the work can carry on,

I actually have to say it has once again made me proud of our kids because in this time of uncertainty their own resilience and cooperation in attending to the work tasks and expectations on a daily basis has been truly inspiring!

We are asking for our supporters to please continue to support us through this period. Our usual school expenses are of course 'home-school expenses' at this stage and we are doing our best to ensure the progress of our youth will not be hindered throughout this time!

Sending our best wishes to all reading this - please follow all the guidance given, we know there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Stay healthy and thank you so much for supporting us!   

Dedication to education! Kids busy with studies!
Dedication to education! Kids busy with studies!

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Seasons greetings from us all at Maranatha!
Seasons greetings from us all at Maranatha!

I am writing this report as we are awaiting the matric results for our final year high school students that we will be supporting on to higher education and training going into 2020!

As said in the last report such young people are part of an independent living project assisting those in residential care moving forward to becoming self-sufficient young adults. The rationale between this has been the rate of young people who do not achieve positive outcomes due to not having enough of a support network in the community. Through this project we now have seen young people go on to enrol at university and higher education providers, involved in sports management, radio production and presenting, teaching, hospitality & catering and business to name a few. We also have young people in full time employment.

This gives the assurance to our supporters that there are longer term benefits for investing in those we care for in that the mechanisms are in place to truly ensure true potential is achieved!

Having said this we also still cater for children now as young as 3 years old at our child and youth care centre (named "Siyakatala" as an isiXhosa word for 'we really care') which also means we are investing in early childhood education as well. Part of my work role being based in the country is ensuring every child receives therapeutic, developmental, recreational and caring services and of course education remains a highly significant aspect of each child and young person’s care plan!

Of course there has been a lot of fun and celebration for children over the festive period which is a bittersweet time for many as those children who are orphaned, abandoned or with highly unfavorable family circumstances do not have an opportunity to visit “family” at what is often thought of as a key family time of the year. Yet there were highlights that took place including children attending a cricket match at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth through Eastern Province Cricket and attending workshops and shows made possible through the PE Gilbert & Sullivan Society. The Rotary Club also supported our children and young people alike with gifts through their Tree of Joy project. Special moments like this create amazing memories for our children who often have never received a Christmas gift before coming into care!

So of course now is the very busy time of year where next week the 2020 school year officially starts in South Africa and where I am still getting the final items needed to ensure each child looks their best and is fully kitted out with the requirements of their specific schools! As such if you are looking for a time to give a donation please note that it is most appreciated doing it now while we are trying to get everything in place for this school year!

The other set of good news to share is that (on a personal note!) I have been recently recognized in the Queens New Years Honours 2020 with a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to young people in South Africa! This medal itself is awarded for meritorious civil service worthy of recognition by the crown inclusive of commonwealth countries. Of course this is so special and I can only hope that it will raise awareness of the on-going work we are doing as I share the achievement with the resilient young people I have the pleasure of working with on a daily basis who to me are true heroes!

Thank you to everyone for your continued support! Now here’s to making 2020 our best year yet!

Out & about with our young men and future leaders!
Out & about with our young men and future leaders!
Having an amazing time at first ever cricket match
Having an amazing time at first ever cricket match
13 years between photos - dream believe achieve!
13 years between photos - dream believe achieve!

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An excited birthday boy boarding a helicopter!
An excited birthday boy boarding a helicopter!

We are so pleased that we are able to continue with this project to raise funds towards educational development of children here in South Africa and we would certainly urge our supporters to give anything they can to help with this project or raise awareness of the work we are doing!

We have recently received results from our most recent psychometric evaluations and it shows that there is clearly a growing challenge of learning disabilities among children. We actually have a number of 8 children who should be referred for special schooling currently in mainstream schools due to the high demand for such specialized support.

However it means that as we go forward towards 2020, knowing that in South Africa the school year starts in January, we will have to do our upmost to ensure that we have enough funds in place for all the expenses that goes with our children access the schooling they require. This is also accompanied by our own service delivery and life skills initiatives at our youth centre as we look to equip children with skills for future employment and self-sufficiency.

It has also been an exciting time at our youth project! We had one of our senior boys facilitate his Springbok Scouts Camp on the grounds of our centre – this was truly a wonderful example of youth empowerment. Further to this PE Helicopter Charter & Training came with a “chopper” and gave some of our young people a trip of a lifetime…including one birthday boy who had his dreams come true! We also believe strongly in helping to mould the value base of our children by encouraging them to give back and reach out to others and our boys stood together as part of the walk against gender based violence.

Finally we were excited to launch our independent living programme where we are continuing to walk the path with our young adult’s age 17-21 helping open doors for them into higher education, training and work opportunities as they transition into adulthood. This project allows us to truly see and measure the results of all the investment in youth development! 

Please help to invest…invest in making our children achieve their best!

Springbok Scouts Camp held on our grounds!
Springbok Scouts Camp held on our grounds!
Our boys standing up against gender based violence
Our boys standing up against gender based violence
Our independent living project for 17-21 year olds
Our independent living project for 17-21 year olds

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Reading club at our youth centre!
Reading club at our youth centre!

It can be seen as positive to look at the comments of President Cyril Ramaphosa who is aiming to mobilize the nation behind a reading campaign and wants every 10 year old to read for meaning in the next decade. At the State of the Nation Address he highlighted early reading as a basic foundation of educational progress. He has also announced training for teachers specifically in this area.

At our youth centre we feel that reading is also especially important and we have a reading club that runs using English, isiXhosa and Afrikaans languages – tailored to the ability levels of the children with a view of making reading FUN and ensuring that no child is left behind. We are members of the local Walmer Library where our children also attend their holiday programmes. 

We were able to have 10 psychometric evaluations undertaken in this recent period. This feedback is so important because on a daily basis we give small group homework tuition and study guidance and we use the recommendations from this report in doing our individual educational plans for each child. Each child at the centre has an individual development plan which this is incorporated as part of - this is a requirement of the SA Children's Act 2005.

As has been highlighted in our previous reports we have extended our services to include children as young as 3 years old. It is here that Early Childhood Development plays such a big role so we also train our own child & youth care workers in rendering effective services and activities for those in care. Of course this is where it is important to highlight how a child develops 85% of their core brain structure by the time they are 5 years old – a cornerstone that will be built upon for the rest of their lives.

Funds from this project helps ensure our younger children are enrolled for pre-primary education which UNCIEF recently released a report to say helps prevents repeat grades/drop-outs and leads children to contribute meaningfully to economies and societies in adulthood – we are fortunate that South Africa aims to universalize Grade R for all at this stage and is part of the CAPS curriculum, but of course we need funds available to be able to help children access schooling and currently we really are facing a financial crisis at the organisation. At this stage any donation will make a big difference for us!

I wanted to ensure you know some of the inner-workings of our daily programme and intervention with the children residentially because the success of a programme depends on making sure the children receive effective stimulation and development from educational providers as much as they do in their own life space. Thanks for the support!

Our children celebrating "World Book Day"
Our children celebrating "World Book Day"
Happy faces on some of our youngest children!
Happy faces on some of our youngest children!

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Our youngest child age 3 years old!
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
Kids transitioning to young adults with Harrison

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Organization Information

Maranatha Care Children

Location: Plymouth, Devon - United Kingdom
Website:
Project Leader:
Harrison Nash
Plymouth, Devon United Kingdom
$19,606 raised of $25,000 goal
 
421 donations
$5,395 to go
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