Lifeskills 2,743 vulnerable children South Africa

by Keep The Dream196
Lifeskills 2,743 vulnerable children South Africa
Lifeskills 2,743 vulnerable children South Africa
Lifeskills 2,743 vulnerable children South Africa
Lifeskills 2,743 vulnerable children South Africa
Lifeskills 2,743 vulnerable children South Africa
Lifeskills 2,743 vulnerable children South Africa
Lifeskills 2,743 vulnerable children South Africa
Lifeskills 2,743 vulnerable children South Africa


WOW what an exciting 30th December it was!

I just wanted to give you feedback and to let you know that we managed to meet 41% of our target in just one day! Thank you to all who participated. For those of you who forgot or who were not able to give on the day, don't worry we still have 49% to go before the end of the year to raise our budget.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANKYOU to you all.

Welcome to all the new supporters we picked up since my last report. You are so welcome to KTD196.

Please if you have any questions do not hesitate to be in touch at keepthedream196@gmail.com and I will do my best to respond. Thank you also to those who left personal messages, it is so encouraging for myself and for the team. We so appreciate you taking the time to drop us a line.

For all the old hands, those who have walked this long journey with us and continue to support the work we do, you are all amazing and I hope one day to meet you. I'm serious, I care about you and your world and would love the opportunity to share my world with you! Once Covid restrictions are lifted, if you ever find the opportunity to come and visit the program you would be very welcome.

Once you see firsthand the impact we have, you will feel even better about the support you have given.

Now that schools have finished we are ecstatic about finally being able to take kids camping, so next week, off we go with 100kids for the week. Not just that but we are taking 40new adults to train them in working within our program with the children as volunteers. We are so excited because we have been able to do adult training in 2years. Just please pray that the campsite stays dry as this is our rainy season, we just don't want to delay any longer and the kids are like bees buzzing with excitement.

The following week we will be finalizing all our work for the year and then we will be sending the kids off with activities to do during the holiday break so that they stay engaged, active, and focussed with new exciting activities. Finally, we will be having a break, these last two years have been tough, last year the management team did not have a formal holiday, we were delivering food parcels, providing services to the families in need, etc but we are sooooo in need of a rest.

Thank you once again for your support of our children and families of Limpopo you are amazing!

Be blessed

Louise

PS if anyone would like a copy of our Annual Report I am happy to forward it. keepthedream196@gmail.com

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Many of these kids we have known since they were 7
Many of these kids we have known since they were 7


THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Nkomo swenene ngopfu!

I thought I would talk heart to heart this letter! It is time I shared why an Aussie nurse is working in South Africa.

The simple truth is, I could not be anywhere else!

I came to this country in 1996, and I lost my heart to the children of Africa. I saw the difficulties they faced, I saw the hardships they endured, I saw the smiles on their faces and I realized that I had something I could contribute.

As a nurse, I understand the connection between poverty and poor health outcomes, poor life outcomes etc. I wanted to make a difference. I am no longer naive and believe that I can change the world but like the starfish story, I have made a difference to those I have come into contact with and their outcomes in life have improved exponentially. (the Starfish Story http://www.ataturksociety.org/the-starfish-story-original-story-by-loren-eisley/)

Recently there was an article on our Facebook Page about how the Children's Institute is demanding the government increase the Child Support Grant to R460 (Approximately $30USD) per month from R450. According to the Treasury’s 2021 Estimates of National Expenditure, there will be a decrease in spending on social grants amounting to R36 billion over the next three years, despite an estimated increase of 300,000 grant beneficiaries per year. The budget document states that the decrease follows the “cessation of social assistance due to the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Handouts are not sustainable, I want people to permanently get out of poverty using Asset Based Community Development practices hence we have implemented Self Help Groups, the Children's Program, Food Security Program, and other training to equip people to use what they have to secure their future and their children's future. Yes, people need hand-ups on occasions but the only way to really break poverty is to build generational hope and skills.

Sorry, as you can see I am passionate. That is where you assist KTD196 to realize this vision for the children and families we serve. Currently, we have in excess of 2,500 children in the program. We have reclaimed those we lost during Covid and more.

The picture on this email is of kids we have supported, most since the age of 7 and they are now in their middle 20's and excellent young leaders in their spheres of influence. All due to you!

Today I attended a meeting on developing the National Strategic Plan for HIV/AIDS Tuberculosis and Sexually Transmitted Disease for South Africa. What was wonderful to report is that although we are a small NGO in the back blocks of rural South Africa we can influence National Policy and National Frameworks using Asset Based Community Development. The reporting team was shocked at our statistics regarding teenage pregnancy and wanted to know how we achieved these outcomes. It is possible that what we do may be rolled out on a much large scale because we have the answer!

That is what you are supporting. The national teenage pregnancy rate was approximately 20% last year, due to Covid. In our program during this time with approx 1,500 girls, we have had no pregnancies. In fact, as you have heard before, we have had 12girls in 18yrs become pregnant instead of the expected 180-200girls per annum.

I would not be wasting my life, my time, my tears in this difficult place if I did not believe in the potential of these children. You would not be wasting your hard-earned money on a program that does not produce results. We are doing it, TOGETHER!

Once again I just want to thank you. I have no other words

Nkomu swenene ngopfu chomie (Thank you so much friends)

Blessings

Louise

The Future of South Africa!
The Future of South Africa!

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Nkulu and the old and new Chief Scout South Africa
Nkulu and the old and new Chief Scout South Africa

I am so happy to share with you more of our achievements made possible by your support. In Sept 2021, we had an awards ceremony, Nkulu was a recipient of a National Award which is very difficult to achieve.

I know I have introduced Nkulu to you previously, but I thought as a donor you might like continuity with some of the children as they progress through life. She and her sister Khanyisa were our first cubs in KTD196 way back in 2003. Since then she has traveled through scouts into rovers. She has become an extremely passionate and competent Social Worker and Project Manager with KTD196. She has run a series of projects including, but not limited to: the Annual Color Fun Run; the Self Help Group Program; and working with local stakeholders assisting the most disadvantaged children in the province.

Nkululeko ‘Nkulu’ was the first Rover in the Limpopo Scout Region to obtain the BP Award, which is the highest Award in South African Rovering. I spoke to her about the role KTD196 and Scouting have had in her life and how she feels about making Rover history in Limpopo.

‘I come from a small village called Shiluvane in Limpopo. I joined the Scout Movement way back in 2003 as a Cub when my mother Elizabeth Mabuza introduced to it”, explains Nkulu. “My mother was – and still is – part of the Scouts’ family through the partnership with local NGO ‘Keep The Dream 196’. Even though I was a child, I could see how the programme was impacting my life and so I started being fully involved in 2004.

My character was developing gracefully and I realised that I was behaving differently than many other children in my community. It was clear that I was learning a lot of things like leadership skills, self-leadership, communication skills, project management skills, perseverance, and of course pioneering – where I learned more about ropes and knots”, she says with a smile. When Nkulu turned 18yrs she stepped into adult uniform, joined the ‘KDT196’ team and started her own Cub Pack for children aged 7-11yrs, plus spearheaded the growth of Cubbing throughout the Limpopo Scout Region once she graduated from university.

However, every journey has its challenges and Nkulu has encountered – and overcome – some along the way. “One of my biggest challenges was time management,” continues Nkulu. “At some point, I had to juggle academics as a university student and Scouting. I’m also a bit of an overachiever and so I tried to perfect everything that I did, even things that were beyond my control. So that was challenging at times. But I was able to overcome these challenges by looking at the bigger picture and what I wanted to achieve. I learnt that I can do anything I put my mind to.”

Nkulu remained focused on completing the activities required in order for her to achieve her BP Award.



“I was elated when I was handed my BP Award,” she says excitedly. “I felt honoured and appreciated that my hard work and dedication had finally paid off. It also boosted my profile and leadership skills. Rovering is all about service and I am so much passionate about community development and about helping children in rural communities to achieve their dreams with the little resources that they have. Some of the activities that I ran within my community included the colour run, career exhibitions, and a recycling project which was done at one of our schools” she adds.

Nkululeko is currently also the Chair of the National Cub programme in South Africa. “In addition to achieving my BP Award as a Rover, I also plan on continuing to work together with my Cub team to achieve all our goals and fulfil all my duties. Moreover, by completing the Personal Bar and Movement Bar within the Rover Programme I have learnt that values acquired in Scouting stay with you and motivate you to do more in life.

"All of this was made possible through Louise and my mother Elizabeth and their vision to help orphan and vulnerable children in Limpopo by starting Keep The Dream196, and your sponsor! In South Africa, we have a saying "It takes a village to raise a child!" I hope you are happy with your investment in my life. I am like so many others coming up behind me, I just have the privilege of being the first in our province to be awarded this award, but watch this space, more are coming through thanks to you!"

Thank you so much and God Bless you

Nkulu

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Scouts assisting with teaching younger children
Scouts assisting with teaching younger children

Nkomo swenene ngopfu! Thank you for your support, on behalf of KTD196 and the children we serve, THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Welcome to our new supporters and welcome to this community, I try hard to be responsive to your questions and concerns regarding the work we do through this platform. Many questions I am asked are actually really interesting so I include them in my weekly reports so that others who may have similar questions but just not asked me, have the answers they seek. If you have a specific question please feel free to drop me a line on keepthedream196@gmail.com

Recently someone asked me about the impact of Covid on education within our communities.

It is a great question so I will try and elaborate as clearly as possible, however, I need to give background information, so bear with me.

Our kids all go to government schools which were forced to close on 27th March 2020.

None of the government schools in the area we serve have internet alternatives to education.

Initially from the 27th March through to the 1st of May South Africa went into level 5 Lockdown. The whole nation apart from emergency services and the provision of food supplies came to a complete halt for 5weeks, all schools were closed.

After the 1st of May till the 1st of June, we had gone to Level 4, restrictions had been lifted although schools remained closed.  

After June 1st Level 3 restrictions remained in place. The economy started to open up as more businesses could open and people could start to return to work under the new restrictions. Alcohol and cigarettes were once again available. Gender-Based Violence and Femicide escalated out of control and became a national shame. Schools hesitantly started to open but children from our area were only going to school once a week.

By 19 July 2020, South Africa became the fifth-worst affected country by coronavirus cases globally with more than 360 000 infections.

23rd July 2020 the President announced the temporary closure of schools once again.

15th August 2020 President Ramaphosa announced the lowering of restrictions to level 2 and the extension of the national state of disaster by another month. Schools slowly reopen and students attended once a week. 20th September 2020 South Africa moves to alert level 1 of the national lockdown protocol.

Now let's fast forward to 2021!

Still, government school students are only allowed to attend school once a week.

July 2021, following newly gazetted regulations under the Disaster Management Act which dictate that Primary schooling pupils from Grades R to 7 return to school daily. HOWEVER, only schools that complied with the minimum requirements of social distancing, sanitizers, masks, etc. were allowed to open.

Classroom overcrowding is still a major issue in many rural areas subsequently, many schools have not been able to open because of structural inequalities.

At least 10,000 children in South Africa have dropped out of school since the pandemic started, with students learning half or less than average in 2020 due to coronavirus, as reported by the Department of Education in August 2021.

From last week’s report, Teenage Pregnancy is up 60% since the introduction of lockdowns.

I suspect to compound this situation many children who were supposed to be in foundation classes (Pre Reception, Reception, Grade 1-3) will continue to struggle throughout their education lifetime as children are being promoted from one grade to the next irrespective of abilities. The poverty levels experienced by families and ultimately children will also affect their learning because of nutritional stunting, not receiving the micro-nutrients in their diet to sustain normal brain development.

So as you can see it is a very complex issue, education is seen as a way out of poverty, what that means for these children it is a systematic failure of the children to access their right to education which will have a long-lasting impact on their futures and their families their future.

It’s not all doom and gloom for the children in KTD196. We have study support operating, we have children working together in small groups learning from older children. We are continuing with our Life Orientation curriculum which will assist the children with that subject. What has also been a challenge is the Department of Education has refused all extra mural activities however we persevere and are transitioning back to community groups.

As you can see the work we are doing is even more vital because of the current state of affairs. Our children have not dropped out of school, our children continue to persevere and work hard despite the obstacles they are facing. I believe this perseverance is because of the overall program we run. Challenges are to be overcome, to strengthen us, and not to cause us to shrink back. The children are proving this every day despite the difficulties they face. I am very proud of our kids and you should be as well!

Despite the lockdowns last year we had a 100% matriculation pass including 2 children with 4 distinctions who have entered university in 2021.

Life in South Africa is never dull.

Anyway, I hope that answers any questions you may have? If not be sure and drop me a line.

Thank you so much for all of your assistance, your interest, and your commitment to the children we serve.

God bless you

Louise

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I hope you are well and staying safe!

It is incredibly difficult at times to remain positive in the light of the struggles we are seeing children facing in South Africa.

Two weeks ago in a report, I sent you, I spoke about Teenage Pregnancy and Keep The Dream196. The fact that we had not had any of our girls become pregnant during Lockdown despite an explosion of 60% new teenage pregnancies cited by the Department of Health in Gauteng. Although there is cause to celebrate for KTD196 I am saddened by a follow-up report I have just read and need to share it with you to help put in context what we are up against.

The Department of Basic Education this week reported 36,000 learner pregnancies and births in the first quarter of 2021. This does not include another 10,000 learners that statistically could have had pregnancies that did not lead to birth.

If as many as 20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, we may safely extrapolate that a reported 36,000 births to 36,000 school-going teenagers/children — assuming no multiple births — means there were almost 45,000 learners who started out pregnant but just over 7,000 learners did not carry to term. That is just for the first quarter of 2021!!!!!

An article on research carried out in South Africa and published in September 2020, which has as its main focus the question ‘what is the link between sexual violence and unintended pregnancy among AGYW (adolescent girls and young women)?’ states that:

“Unintended pregnancy was higher among survivors of sexual violence (54.4%) compared to those who never experienced sexual abuse (34.3%). In the multivariable analysis, sexual violence was consistently and robustly associated with increased odds of having an unintended pregnancy…” Gender-Based Violence has come to the forefront during the Covid Lockdowns however, it has always been there and more and more children are falling prey to this type of assault.

This is the bigger picture of learner pregnancy in South Africa, the fact that most of these pregnancies arise out of forced or coerced sexual acts.

So we have an inordinate amount of young girls being sexually abused, being raped, and falling pregnant! The story doesn't end there!

Many girls who become pregnant while in school also drop out — the Department of Basic Education (DBE) says one in three do not come back to school.

Daily Maverick Newspaper (South Africa) spoke to *Emily who was 16 and in grade 11 when she fell pregnant (she had been in a relationship). She said when she realized that she was pregnant, “I felt like a disappointment to my family.”

Emily said that her teachers were supportive of her decision to stay in school, but that her classmates were a different story as they made nasty comments: “I used to hate going to school because I’d be depressed and cry every day…” but “once I found out that I was pregnant I knew I had no choice but to finish school so that I’ll be able to look after my baby.”

Emily is ‘one of the lucky ones in that she did not fall pregnant due to violence or coercion and also because she felt supported by her teachers.

In many instances, the social taboos that existed a decade or more ago around being pregnant at school, persist. And despite laws regulating the fact that children cannot be denied an education due to pregnancy, there are schools that suspend pregnant students. A study by the Central University of Technology looks at ‘learner pregnancy in secondary schools in South Africa’ and asks " Have attitudes and perceptions of teachers changed?"

According to the study, in which a focus group of teachers was interviewed aged between 27 and 52, teachers are not willing to have pregnant girls in class: “…teachers interviewed demonstrated their unwillingness to adhere to the law. As a result, pregnant learners are advised or coerced to stay at home for the remainder of their pregnancy as the school environment is not tolerant towards them.”

This study on teacher attitudes also showed that “female learners are discriminated against and male learners who impregnate female learners are exonerated from taking the responsibility.” The study further quoted teachers saying “the classroom should not be turned into a maternity ward” and “it is the responsibility of the pregnant female learner… not that of teachers…”

This illustrates how the pregnant learner is often victimized in multiple ways —  first by a predator, then teachers, classmates, and the community: “It is a taboo in many communities for a school-going child to fall pregnant while still being a learner.”

From personal experience, working in local clinics in South Africa, I know that young people who approach local nurses for family planning advice and support are often denigrated and abused as whores for requesting condoms or the pill. This of course leaves them open to becoming pregnant when involved in an intimate relationship such as Emily may have experienced.

KTD196's role is not just education and prevention of teenage pregnancy but also to empower young people to know their rights and also to hold duty bearers responsible to ensure those rights are realized.

It's a huge job, that is why our partnership with you is so vital to ensure our success and the lasting impact of the work we do. Changing adult mindsets and dare I say, cultures, is very difficult, time-consuming, and exhausting however the alternative is more and more children becoming parents to unwanted babies and so the cycle of violence and neglect is perpetuated. We also work with boys to ensure they are respectful and protective of girls, they behave like older brothers ensuring that the girls are always accompanied home safely after activities with KTD196.

Thank you for choosing KTD196 to support us, you are assisting us in so many ways. This is a difficult subject make no mistake, but together we are bringing change. Thank you! Thank you for seeing the bigger picture and believing in the work we do.

God bless you

Louise

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Organization Information

Keep The Dream196

Location: Modjadjiskloof, Limpopo - South Africa
Website:
Project Leader:
Louise Batty
Tzaneen, Limpopo South Africa
$59,696 raised of $250,000 goal
 
906 donations
$190,304 to go
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