New Executive Director at Siyabonga
As the year draws to a close, we want to thank you again for your generous donations for the work we do in South Africa. Siyabonga Centre is an area that struggles with extreme poverty, inequality, and disease. By supporting our community-based early education program, you are helping to provide care to young children and an educational foundation that will help them change their futures. You are also providing much-needed assistance to their families.
This year Siyabonga provided services to 65 children and recently held a graduation ceremony for 32 children who will now move on to Grade R (kindergarten) at the local school. The children and families, along with the staff, enjoyed the celebration. The children were proud to be able to perform for their families. Parents and guardians expressed their thanks to Siyabonga for taking such good care of their children. They are very appreciative of everyone who makes it possible for their children to have a safe, enriching, and fun place to be during the day.
The center has had a long waiting list of children wanting to attend and has already filled the 32 slots that opened up for next year.
New Executive Director
A new executive director started working at Siyabonga in September. Khethiwe Khzwayo has a bachelor’s degree in social work and spent over eight years working for the South African Department of Social Development, including four years as a supervisor. One of Ms. Khzwayo’s responsibilities with the department was to monitor early childhood development centers. Ms. Khzwayo also spent a year at a local nonprofit, Edi Development Center, as the manager of the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Program. Prior to starting her career in social services, Ms. Khzwayo spent four years as a teacher.
One of Ms. Khzwayo’s first accomplishments at the center was to start a garden. She recruited the grandmother of one of the children at the center as a volunteer and, after only three months, the garden is producing enough beans, potatoes, cabbages, and onions to meet the needs of the center. Next year Ms. Khzwayo is hoping to have not only enough produce to feed the children, but also enough extra to be able to sell in town to raise funds for the center.
In her first couple of months, Ms. Khzwayo completed an evaluation of the center’s educational programming, looking at daily preparation, activities, themes, and lesson planning. She worked with the teachers to develop a new approach for next year with an emphasis on teaching the children English, knowing that this will greatly help them when they begin attending public school where they are taught in English. In order to kick start the 2017 school year, Ms. Khzwayo invested in new education materials needed by both the teachers and the children, including art supplies, books, puzzles, music, and more. Ms. Khzwayo has plans to implement an extended care program soon after the beginning of the year to meet the needs of many families at the center. We are very happy to have Ms. Khzwayo on board and pleased with all she has accomplished in the few months she has been with Siyabonga. Her background in education and social services, her knowledge of early childhood development centers, and her keen understanding of the needs of the community will help her take Siyabonga to the next level.
Keep Siyabonga Strong through 2017
Thank you for continuing to support Siyabonga and the work of Thembanathi. Please consider us in your year-end giving. In this most joyous of seasons, help bring hope into a child’s life by making a tax-deductible contribution to Thembanathi today. Working together, we can create healthier and happier lives for children and their families.
Warm wishes for a wonderful new year,
Lindsey and Helen
Children Performing at Graduation Celebration
Vegetables for Siyabonga