Happy New Year from the GVI team in Cape Town! We hope you are looking forward to 2013 and want to thank you for all your support through 2012, it truly is appreciated.
As you may remember from our last report, during the registration process for the Hope Centre, it was discovered that extra work needs to be done to make the buildings more fire safe. Due to this safety factor we are currently unable to operate as usual as we place a high standard of health and safety on our projects, We are busy working with our project partners to ensure the building is to the correct standard so that we can be fully registered and provide a safe learning environment for all of the children. GVI and our partners are hugely grateful for the donations already made and are still looking into the best way to utilise these funds for the benefit of the children from The Hope Centre.
During the registration process it was discovered that extra work needs to be done to make the buildings more fire safe. Due to this safety factor we are currently unable to operate as usual. We are busy working with our project partners to ensure the building is to the correct standard so that we can be fully registered and provide a safe learning environment for all of the children. Once this has been established we will be back to continue the work the centre provides. Without your donations the children whose parents are unemployed or cannot afford school fees would hugely struggle.
This month GVI Cape Town said goodbye to Teaching Coordinator Melanie Welfare and Childcare Coordinator Tilda Christensson. Both of them played valuable roles within the Gordon’s Bay team and achieved a huge amount along the way.
Tilda came to Cape Town as a volunteer in September 2011. With her strong passion and enthusiasm she was welcomed to the staff team in January as Gordon’s Bay Childcare Coordinator. Tilda provided great support to our volunteers and built strong relationships with our project partners which within a short space of time helped her make a lot of progress at her project sites. One of her biggest achievements was a Construction Day at Grade R where she led a team of volunteers and staff to give the nursery building a colourful makeover.
Mel started with GVI in June 2010 in the Cape Town office before being drafted to the Gordon’s Bay field team in July 2011. As a trained teacher Mel brought a wealth of knowledge and initiated some great new programs for the ACJ Primary School. One of her greatest achievements was the planning and leading of the large Library project where the team of GVI staff and some volunteers renovated the unused space to transform it into a fully functioning library. The children and teachers have benefitted from it enormously. A great support to her colleagues, Mel will be dearly missed amongst the Cape Town team.
Mel and Tilda epitomise the passionate and dedicated people who work for GVI. Coming from different backgrounds and with varied experience, they are an example of how anyone with the heart and will to succeed can achieve so much.
This week at Kiddies Corner we had our first parents meeting. Yolisa, the principal of Kiddies, wanted to gather the parents of the children in her crèche with GVI staff and volunteers to explain to the parents what we’ve been doing with their kids every day and also have a hygiene work shop to explain the importance of tooth brushing and hand washing properly every day. The meeting was supposed to start at 4pm, but in African time that meant starting at 5pm. As the parents eventually strolled in we handed each of them a file filled with their child’s lessons from the entire year so they could see what they’ve been learning in school. It was heartwarming to see how carefully they turned each page and looked at their child’s work with such awe. One of the mothers couldn’t speak English so she pointed at the files and gave us thumbs up with a smile.
As part of our hygiene workshop we used one of the volunteers for a hand washing demonstration. We covered his hands in black paint, which represented germs, and gave him 20 seconds to wash as much paint off of his hands as he could in a bucket of water. When he revealed his hands after the 20 seconds, you could see a lot of paint residue still on his hands, which showed how just dipping your hands in water is not effective for cleaning hands. The parents really enjoyed the demonstration.
As the meeting was coming to an end, several parents took turns standing up and saying a few words about our GVI volunteers. They all said they were so grateful that we were there to teach their children, what remarkable improvements they’ve seen with their English, and how we are providing them with great opportunities. One mother said she used to speak English around her kids when she didn’t want them to hear what they were talking about, but now she can’t because they understand! It was incredible to hear firsthand how much we are appreciated, especially since this was the first time we’d had any interaction with the parents. It was an unforgettable day and it reminded me that even if it doesn’t seem like we’re making progress at the time, we really are making a difference.
All the children that are attending Nceduluntu’s Grade R are over five years old and they are all preparing for school, something they have been waiting for, for a long time. When we take a few of the students out from their normal class to give them some special attention, we focus on three things: Math’s, English and creative/fine motor skills.
One of our excellent long term interns is focusing on puzzles during the motor skills sessions. Through puzzles, something they love, the children develop, concentrate and laugh during their lesson, a true dream for a teacher. Something that makes this activity even better is the ability to see the progress that the children make. You can see how they are struggling with getting their pieces together in the beginning of the class and are all confused by the different pattern that appears on the picture. Then, half hour later their fingers are starting to dance over the tables and I am sure that within a few weeks their fingers will be able to dance in the right direction all by themselves.
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