Every year, Rays of Hope’s Vulnerable Children and Families Programme organises a Gala Dinner for the teenagers in the Alexandra community. This is a night for young women and men to dress up and leave their worries at home for an evening.
The 2022 gala dinner’s theme of the night was Maya Angelou’s ‘Still, I Rise’. The Gala Dinner is an initiative for teenagers to celebrate their commitment to change and becoming better versions of themselves.
“We want the lasting impact of these events to be a change in how the children see themselves and view their self-worth,” says Bertha Muchadeyi, Programme Manager for the Vulnerable at Rays of Hope.
“Just one evening can change their perspective and self-esteem and if they can finally see that despite their current situation, they matter, they are valued, and they have dignity, then we have done our job. This change and shift will have a ripple effect in other areas of their lives and could lead to total long-term independence, which is exactly what we aim to achieve at Rays of Hope,” she added.
The highlight of the night was crowning Mr and Ms Rays of Hope, an award given out to one man and woman who have shown growth and determination throughout the year.
For the ladies, the award was given to a young girl by the name of Christina Mbatha who was bullied by her peers and had numerous self-confidence issues. Now, through her one-on-one sessions with social workers at Rays of Hope, she has been able to see the value in herself and believe she could be the 2022 Ms Rays of Hope.
The young man who received the award was Vutlhare Manganyi. Vutlhare comes from a broken and violent home where both his parents are unemployed. Through counselling sessions with the team, he has been able to take meaningful steps toward overcoming these obstacles and craft a better future for himself.
‘I am so incredibly proud of both Vutlhare and Christina for winning these awards. They have both come so far and we can’t wait to see them realise their full potential over the next year”, concludes Muchadeyi.
It is the support that we receive from donors like you, that make our programmes possible, so once again, a big thank you!
With societal challenges such as gender-based violence continuing to plague the Alexandra Township community, a grassroots approach to interventions is necessary to deal not just with the symptoms of these issues, but with the root cause.
As such, Rays of Hope, with the support of our GloblaGiving donors, is proud to announce the launch of a dedicated anger management programme specifically geared towards helping Alex youth (young men to begin with) to better deal with and navigate their emotions and issues to prevent these from manifesting into toxic behaviour within their communities.
“The relationship with my dad was very rocky. We lived in the same house but it got to the point where we never spoke, just greeted in passing. Even at my age (17), he never taught me things or tried to share any life lessons with me. It made me angry,” says Similo*, a learner living in Alex who is taking part in the programme.
After taking the very brave first step of approaching his teachers at school for help, Similo was introduced to Rays of Hope’s Jacob Tema and the anger management programme, aptly named Majita Asiringeni (meaning “Boys, Let’s Talk”).
“You can feel that there’s something inside of you that makes you think, ‘no, this is not who I am’. With me it became a thing that I might become suicidal, so I knew I needed help,” says Similo. “I don’t think I would be here now if it wasn’t for Mr Jacob. And now I feel free. I feel spiritually free.”
Thank you for helping make programmes like this possible to change the lives of young people in Alex. We aim to #CatchThemYoung and give them a better future.
*Name changed to protect his identity
For most children growing up in an area like Alexandra, access to health facilities and doctors, only happens in emergencies and even then the queues can be very long. For this reason, Rays of Hope conducts an annual Health Check where qualified medical personnel (doctors, nurses, biokineticists, physiotherapists, and others) volunteer their time and resources to check the general health of all children from each of our community-based programmes. These checks include eye tests, hearing assessments and dental check-ups, as well as overall health stats, developmental milestones and wellness.
This year, Rays of Hope was able to perform these checks on 350 children. Of those, who were comprehensively checked, 68 of them were referred to local clinics for further attention as deemed necessary. In some cases, Rays of Hope is involved in follow-up processes such as organising glasses, visits to doctors and more.
It is thanks to the support that Rays of Hope receives from our supporters and partners that we are able to offer this service to our children, so thank you once again for being part of making a difference in the community of Alexandra.
It would be wonderful if you would consider an additional donation in honour of Nelson Mandela, on 18th July, in honour of his birthday, now celebrated around the world as Mandela Day!
Most of the vulnerability that we see in Alexandra hasn't happened overnight - it's been years of poor choices so this year, we are going proactive. We are starting on a journey to educate children at school on anger management, bullying and gender-based violence, so they know the truth (as opposed to the lies that they pick up), the impact and the healthy choices that they can make so that they don't simply follow in the footsteps of the adults around them.
Once they are equipped with these skills, they are less likely to channel their feelings in a bad way towards the most vulnerable in their lives and rather use it in a positive way to bring about the change that we need to see in places like Alexandra.
This is taking our full team of social workers and social auxillary workers, partnering with the schools across Alex, made possible because of your support for our work.
Thank you so much for believing in the work of Rays of Hope in Alex, for contributing on a regular basis to us and for daring to believe that places like Alex could be very different, if enough people cared.
Please share what we are doing with anyone who might be in a position to support this very vital initiative.
When our social workers first met Gogo Mthalo (gogo is the name for a granny in Zulu, and used as a term of endearment and respect) and the five children that she looks after, we knew that we needed to help her. They live in the smallest place made of corrugated sheeting, wood, cardboard and plastic literally held together with string and wire. There are electrical cables that run along the "roof" which are not only illegal but incredibly dangerous. The roof was ready to collapse at any moment and the scariest thought was what if the roof collapsed when the gogo and the children were sleeping... It was unthinkable!!
With the funds raised during the recent Little x Little campaign and from our amazing recurring monthly donations, we were able to build Gogo a new home. Work started on Wednesday and within five days the room was finished. While it is still small (due to the limited space in Alexandra), it is safe and waterproof - just in time for the rainy season.
Being able to live in a new place that won't fall with the slightest breeze restores dignity to the family. This is one of the ways that Rays of Hope has partnered with the family. In addition, we will ensure that the children are attending school, counsel the family to help them deal with all that they have experienced, provide a monthly food hamper, and just love them unconditionally.
This is what you are helping us to do! Restoring dignity and hope to the most vulnerable children and families in Alexandra!!
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