As the year draws to a close, we at Thembanathi want to thank you for the support we’ve received from the Global Giving community and our Thembanathi supporters, and update you on the amazing progress we’ve made this year.
As most of you know, the new early childhood education and community center we’ve been working to build over the last 18 months is nearly completed. We’re planning to open our doors to a new group of 60 children when the South African school year begins on January 15, 2014. It will be so exciting to see this community's dreams for a place of potential for their young children to learn and grow finally coming true!
The new building has two classrooms, a large community room (which will also house a small library), an office, a meeting room for staff development and community activities, and a kitchen equipped to feed all 60 children two hot meals a day. We were happy to be able to bring electricity and running water to the site, so there will be indoor facilities available, which is unique in this area. We still have a ways to go on equipping the center with appropriate furniture and educational materials and preparing the outdoor spaces for young people—we’d like to have a high quality, developmentally appropriate playground and a large income-generating garden—so would definitely appreciate any support you may be able to give to help us with this effort! As the center becomes established over the next year, we also plan to grow our programs to include after-school education activities for primary school students and family support programs.
In addition to the building project, we’ve had a great year at the current center. This month, 15 young people graduated from the early childhood program ready to begin primary school in January. We thought you’d enjoy hearing a bit about a few of these young people and how your support has touched their lives and the lives of their families.
Akhona (age 5) was one of the first attendees at our new centre when it opened in January 2011. “Before the center,” her mother told us, “I was struggling to raise my child right because her father was absent and I had no job. The center helped me a lot because it gave me a place where I knew my child could be safe and where her mind would be enhanced. It offers many things that parents cannot afford to give their children, like books, toys, educational materials, and knowledge.” Akhona is excited to go to primary school to join her older sister. However, she will miss all of the singing, reciting poems, and Zulu dance they got to do at the centre.
Another of our graduates, Siphephelo (age 5), attended the center only for one year. His grandmother reported that he had improved a great deal in that year: “ With the center,” she said, “we are gaining so much because our children will be able to go to school with knowledge. The learning enhances their creative minds and makes them brighter.” “I’m excited about going to school,” Siphelelo told us. When he grows up, he wants to build houses for others in his community.
Siphelele (age 5) lives with a very large extended family of 25 people. Her mother passed away in early 2012, and she is now cared for by her grandmother and great-grandmother. “Siphelele’s going to the center helped her to forget about the loss of her mother,” her grandmother told us. She was very fragile and shy when she began attending the center, but she is now active and happy. The teachers at the center call her mchwanezi, which means chick, because of her tiny structure and her timid nature. At the center, her favorite activities are beating the drum and doing fantasy play. At home, she likes playing at her neighbor's house and fetching water in the streams for her grandmother. She is sad to leave the center, but is glad she will be joining her sister at primary school.
To sustain and expand our work for these young people, we need to raise program funds for the new center. In this season of giving, we’d very much appreciate your including Thembanathi in your end-of-year giving. One hundred percent of the funds Thembanathi receives from your donation go directly to the education and care of young people in need in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. We’d particularly appreciate your considering a recurring donation, as it allows us to ensure continuity of care for the children in our programs. Also, between today and December 31, Global Giving is offering a 100% match on all new recurring donations made on the site, so your gift can have an even greater impact. Please help.
Thanks again for your support!
PS If you haven't already, don't forget to LIKE US on Facebook to keep updated on our activities.
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