Education support for children in South Africa

by Maranatha Care Children
The girls ready for a new year of school!
The girls ready for a new year of school!

Thank you so much for your support of our campaign! If you are reading this just know how important you are to helping ensure we can continue in our mission to empower young people here in South Africa!

It is so important to hold on to some key facts when it comes to our education project for young people at our youth centre:

It has been reported that South Africa’s youth unemployment rates are now considered to be chronic. The latest figures show that about 48% of South Africans between 15 and 34 were unemployed in the third quarter of 2016

However at our youth project we use the psychometric evaluations that you donations help to fund as a motivation to direct young people into the path best suited for their future…

We have young people learning trades in welding, in woodwork & upholstery and in hospitality. We also have an independent living program incorporating elements of DIY & maintenance work at the youth centre alongside gardening. And of course ALL our young people are currently in school!

This being said we also of course have children over the age of 18 who also have the academic skills to go on to further study even at a university level with one boy currently doing a diploma in business management that we hope he can obtain a bursary for to go on to study at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

Because what we know from experience is that if you can identify the real strengths and talents of young people you can open doors for them they never knew existed and ensure they truly reach their potential.  

Right now we are planning for aptitude and careers tests for all our high school learners but we are certainly in a HUGE need for financial support especially after all the expenses we have already surmounted this year with the back to school period and new schools for some learners.

This is one of the times that our charity are really making a great appeal due to the lack of recent funding received but still with the motivation to help this project continue - I hope you can see this as a call to action and donation rather than just an informative update!

When I write for you to support this initiative through social media, tweets, facebook posts and sharing emails with friends & colleagues it really is so pressing at this stage with a high number of education based expenses that we hope we can fulfill!

Help these children and young people reach for the stars…!!! We know they will make it if we all give our support!

Two sisters excited to be starting new schools!
Two sisters excited to be starting new schools!

Links:

School farewell for our girls!
School farewell for our girls!

It has been a time of much unrest in South Africa during the #FeesMustFall protest movement with many Universities having been unable to function amidst the heated and violent protest action which has still been on-going.

It is sad to see this when actually you can see that there are increasingly more young people going into further education with Stats SA highlighting how student enrolment in higher education actually grew by 32.5% from 2006 to 2015. This is reflective of many youngsters having a vision of a brighter future for themselves.

And this is the reality that we are seeing through our project at this stage. We recently had two girls attend a school “farewell” (prom) event and we were just so thankful that we could arrange for them to be sponsored with the dress, make-up, accessories and of course luxury transport to the venue! This was also covered in the local press!

But what of course is wonderful to see is that still the school work and academic achievement comes first in their mind. The one girl at the farewell also achieved in the TOP 5 academic achievers of the year! We are also excited that she can continue on with us at our youth centre next year going to train further in hospitality and catering. It is amazing to see such children from where they’ve come to where they are now but of course we are always focusing so much more on where they are going to…!

And that message of shooting for the moon cannot be more apt for another young man who, despite facing insurmountable challenges when first coming into our care, has now gone on to achieve incredibly well through being selected as a school prefect, attending a leadership camp, achieving diplomas in his prize-giving AND also playing for the school in first team Rugby which allowed him to also play at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium! A stadium fit for international games and even the world cup! Hows that for success! 

Of course we recognize the importance of having a full extra-curricular program as we develop these children and young lives! This is also on the step to achieving our aim of maximizing potential. We also had the prize-giving of the Sea Cadets last month which was also a wonderful moment! At this stage we are also wanting to promote healthy lifestyles further especially for our girls and young women where we have identified a huge need for a multi-purpose cement court on the grounds of the centre where the girls can also practice netball. We have set up a micro-project for supporters of this cause knowing that these sport opportunities also allow girls to become empowered by learning to trust each other and also having a platform to express themselves and learn that they have the right to make choices that are good for themselves. This page is especially for attracting support of those who may be interested in helping a sports project on a larger scale.

However our priority must be education – even as I write this we have very recently had 5 new children admitted at our youth centre all between the age of 6-10. We get children not attending school; not even with shoes; even in some cases removed from home circumstances by police assistance. As we come to November now we will this month be purchasing ALL the school needs for 32 children going into next year (as the school years runs from January in South Africa) which is always a big expense in itself alone! If you can just imagine what this entails.  All these new children must also receive psychometric evaluations and just this weekend we will be registering a further two learners to be enrolled in a vocational high school where they have been accepted for next year. But of course it takes funding to make sure these needs can all be met!

It is important to still realize that this project and the funding from Global Giving is actually vital to allowing these children access to school and seeing these success stories that we have further down the line. But we are reliant on that support and hope you, as a supporter reading this report, can continue to help if you can, share and spread the word…let’s make more dreams become a reality!

Thanks so much for the support!!!

Our oldest girl at the Sea Cadets prize giving!
Our oldest girl at the Sea Cadets prize giving!
Proud prefect and first team rugby star!
Proud prefect and first team rugby star!
Collecting a prize for Top 5 academic achievement!
Collecting a prize for Top 5 academic achievement!
Our newest children at the centre now smiling :-)
Our newest children at the centre now smiling :-)

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Proud of our young men...here for Freedom Day!
Proud of our young men...here for Freedom Day!

As we continue with our Global Giving project focusing on education it is important to look at StatsSA’s “The Social Profile of Youth, 2009-2014” report which raised the perniciously high, and unchanging, unemployment levels of 66% among youths, and the direct co-relation of joblessness to levels of education. Over the five-year period, little had changed: 57% of youth without matric are unemployed

South African deputy director general of population and social statistics also highlighted recently how education and not growth is the key to working youth. This correlated with official statistics showing how at least one in two South Africans aged between 15 and 24 do not have a job. This is one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world.

Yet through our residential programme we continue to see success out of the young people we are investing in. In the last report I shared the news of one young man who achieved a bursary for a Business Management Diploma. He continues to be supported through our project and even achieved 91% in his first assignment. He is currently one of the top achieving learners in the class showing you the potential our young people have when they are given the right opportunity.

It is a question I often get asked but the South African Children’s Act 2005 does make provision for us to be able to support those young people after they turn 18 if they are motivated and opportunities are available for them to continue their training. This is also aligned to the notion of independent living and shows you where the results of what has been invested in the children over all those years can truly be seen and monitored as the transition to adulthood takes place. 

Further to this I also shared the story of another young man who is currently doing a woodwork & upholstery course through a skills centre. His whole demeanor has improved and confidence increased through this vocational option being made available for him. We recently received high praise for his conduct and motivation as he won “Student of the Month” through all the courses they offer. Two of our children were also arranged work experience opportunities in the last month

I try not to talk about the experiences such children endured before coming into care with us as it is important we can look forward to the future and focus on the here and now. But it is certainly clear that they really do prove that “anything is possible”!

Since March this year we were able to arrange Occupational Therapy assessments for another 4 children and now have a number of 9 children receiving this weekly in small groups. We now have to arrange a further 4 Psychometric Evaluations to ensure that our children’s scholastic needs are met and the correct school placements identified. Already at this stage there are already 4 children who must be directed to a special school placement by next year. There is also a need for new school clothes at our centre and we hope that we will be able to raise further funds through this project to ensure that our children never look out of place compared to others in the schools they attend!

Currently at our centre we have been able to arrange a wonderful holistic activity program for the children which includes music therapy, cricket lessons, football coaching and team matches, spiritual dancing, computer lessons, sea cadets, sea scouts…we have also started a weekly reading club and have arranged trips to the library where they have been able to choose their own books! The photos here just gives a small snapshot of what is made possible for our children - and how they also make us PROUD daily! The children also each have an individual development plan so as well as these activities and outings that can be made possible their therapeutic and developmental needs are fully met by what we do at the centre. It was also lovely now to hear from one of our girls who left in November last year how she is now making great progress with her Office Administration course for which she received a bursary. She expressed just how grateful she was for everything we had done – but we are just grateful that such children can have a chance in life they always deserved!

Please please please donate if you can – at this stage we are really in need to financial support and I hope that these updates will be more regular in the future! You can of course post on facebook, tweet, email & just generally share this and help to get the word out there! Thank you for helping to make brighter futures possible…shooting for the moon one step at a time!  

Youngest girls on a special music festival outing!
Youngest girls on a special music festival outing!
Dream. Believe. Achieve - one of our Iron Kids!
Dream. Believe. Achieve - one of our Iron Kids!
Life skills sessions! Youth development is key!
Life skills sessions! Youth development is key!
One of you could be the next president girls!
One of you could be the next president girls!

Links:

Proud with the kids at their Cadets prize giving!
Proud with the kids at their Cadets prize giving!

I am writing this update as South Africa has just released the matric results – the exams taken by students in their final year of high school before they could be moving on to higher education. The 2015 national pass rate was 70.7% yet in the Eastern Cape, where we operate, the province achieved only a 56.8% which was down from 65.4% in 2014 and shows it to be the worst performing province for two years in a row. This is where we can see that there continues to be a substantial need for social change!

Yet the wonderful news that can be shared is that one young man from the child & youth care centre we support most certainly passed all his final exams and achieved well enough to keep his place studying Business Management at university level this year! And not only that but he was awarded a bursary from the educational establishment assisting to make this possible! He really has a lovely personality and deserves a bright future after making the most of opportunities afforded to him…opportunities that your funds help make possible!

However what we also believe is that specialised education must be afforded to those who need it and as such vocational options are also identified because it is clear that having a trade is a wonderful pathway for those with more practical abilities, particularly where we know that even having a degree does not guarantee you job security! As such a further success story from the centre is another young man who has completed his standard schooling and is now staying on having been enrolled in a woodwork & upholstery course. He has already been involved at the centre in such income-generating initiatives as tyre furniture making affording opportunities to develop more unique skills!

It is great to be able to report such stories as what we see is the end result of the investment in education and development where prospects for children coming into residential care appear brighter. This is aligned with our own vision as a charity and where we can thank all our supporters to this project! And as we start a new school year with children enrolled in Grade 1 onwards we can only again ask for any contribution towards making more success stories possible in this coming year! You will also see a photo here from a prize-giving event I PROUDLY attended at Sea Cadets which a number of children from the youth centre attend as we strive to help open as many doors as possible to realise potential!

What else can be reported at this time is that I myself have this month been awarded a British Citizen Award for the category of International Achievement. These awards were launched to honour those making a positive impact on society and for ‘everyday’ people whose achievements may otherwise be overlooked. I was amazed to be nominated in the first place so to have been awarded this incredible honour has been truly overwhelming and definitely unexpected! But I only hope it will also help others to share in the passion for what we are trying to achieve and help us to make more of a difference…one child at a time!

Thanks again for all of the support! PLEASE do share, tweet or forward this report and project page on because the more support we receive the greater the difference we will be able to make! We are still shooting for the moon…and creating stars in the process!

Excited to be training in Woodwork & Upholstery!
Excited to be training in Woodwork & Upholstery!
The new tyre furniture project at the youth centre
The new tyre furniture project at the youth centre
Our oldest boy beaming with his matric certificate
Our oldest boy beaming with his matric certificate

Links:

Celebrating Nelson Mandela Day 2015
Celebrating Nelson Mandela Day 2015

It is certainly time to update all of our supporters as we start the third school term here in South Africa!

We have recently managed to arrange a number of 15 psychometric evaluations to help plan services and school placements for the children in our care. This is where we give a BIG thanks to all those who lend their support to our work at Siyakatala. Simply incredible! 

These assessments allow us to plan work internally (implementing a therapeutic development plan for every child) but also to identify where children are in need of specialised schooling to help overcome barriers to learning they may experience and making a world of difference to their personal progress. We have also been able to continue with Occupational Therapy at the centre.

We have recently celebrated Nelson Mandela Day here in South Africa. It is pertinent to quote Madiba himself in stating that “It always seems impossible until it is done”. Whilst education remains a priority for all the children in residential care at Siyakatala, they also have a whole range of opportunities whilst at the centre, ranging from scouts & cadets, to life saving & swimming, cricket & canoe lessons, art & music sessions…the vision to work holistically in truly seeing the potential of these young people come to fruition is one that we are certainly working to achieve!

Whilst South Africa has its many challenges, more young people are grabbing opportunities countrywide of becoming entrepreneurs in their community and becoming active participants in the country’s economy. When it comes to the children of our youth centre what we continually try to instill is self-belief. In our recent school results we have two high school children achieving an average of 60% or higher. We also had one girl in special schooling achieve an average of 77% and being selected to take part in a restaurant evening as part of her hospitality practical. What fantastic achievements! 

It is of course important to remember through it all how Africa as a continent has great potential…and that more than 65% of Africa’s people are young!

Recently I had the privilege of making contact with one of our care-leavers, now into his 20s. Sharing news of his work progress with me, NQF training & future ambitions, engagement & new accommodation. It was too fulfilling for words. I could share with you the hardship he encountered in his life before coming into residential care over 10 years ago, but instead let me just focus on this: “Life is not about where you’ve been, it’s about where you’re going”.

Every little truly helps when it comes to our project. Please give what you can and please spread the word. Because you know what? One of these children could be the future President.

Thank you for supporting us on this journey!

Our oldest boy commencing a hike with the Cadets!
Our oldest boy commencing a hike with the Cadets!
Our youngest children...the adults of tomorrow!
Our youngest children...the adults of tomorrow!
 

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Organization Information

Maranatha Care Children

Location: Plymouth, Devon - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​www.maranathacarechildren.com
Project Leader:
Harrison Nash
Plymouth, Devon United Kingdom
$16,886 raised of $20,000 goal
 
344 donations
$3,114 to go
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