Alex tutors get their Phono-Graphix Certificates
Edu Fun partners with Diepsloot Combined School (DCS) located in an economically disadvantaged informal settlement north of Johannesburg.
Edu Fun is a 100% volunteer led organisation that relied heavily on volunteers going into the schools and teaching reading Face2Face prior to Covid-19. During 2020 we were only able to offer a virtual volunteering program in Diepsloot and about one third of our volunteers continued to give lessons online. This did not come without challenges due to the high cost of mobile data, the limited number of devices and the fact that the whole of Diepsloot was out of electricity for most of the Winter and lockdown period and our volunteers were not allowed into the schools.
Due to food insecurity and many people being unemployed, the area was not considered safe and the school was not allowed to have any visitors. When visitors were allowed to go into the schools, the number of volunteers accompanying us was still limited. Many of our volunteers were not comfortable to leave their homes, several had comorbidities and were older than 60 years of age and others suddenly found themselves home-schooling their own children.
Our volunteers continue to be a great help behind the scenes with preparing "meals in a bag", teaching lessons online and those who can, also make financial donations to support our work. Over the last year, we had to rely heavily on local volunteers, and although they were volunteering their time, they realistically also needed money for transport and food, and we had to provide them with support that we had not budgeted for.
Despite the assistance from our virtual and local volunteers, we still did not have enough support to achieve our usual goal of providing literacy instruction to 200 Grade 2 learners on a weekly basis.
What was exciting though is that we had started working with a group of youth in the Township of Alexandra (Alex), East of Johannesburg. The group of students were already trained to teach yoga and had received training in the Phono-Graphix Reading method so that they could teach yoga and reading at schools in Alex. Even though the pandemic and subsequent lockdown meant that this program came to an abrupt halt in March - we were slowly able to resurrect it and through online training and the students working with children in their own communities. The first group of students were able to complete their certification requirements and collectively reached about 200 children in Alex. Towards the end of 2020 this group also visited our Diepsloot program where we were able to give them additional mentoring while they assisted us by reaching children in Diepsloot. A real win-win.
Edu Fun, together with Read for Africa had trained about 40 youth from Alex in Phono-Graphix and the first 20 to become certified Phono-Graphix Reading Therapists received their certificates in December 2020. This group of students as well as a new group of unemployed youth who will be joining the program this year will continue to teach reading in Alex, however, part of their workplace experience will be that they also come to Diepsloot for 2 days a week to gain valuable experience and mentoring and will provide much needed Face2Face instruction to the children (especially in the absence of our usual volunteers). They will earn a small stipend from a learnership program and gain work experience teaching reading with us. In this way we will be able to reach a minimum of 400 Grade 3 learners per week (200 in Diepsloot and 200 in Alexandra). Bearing in mind that these students missed out on over 9 months of Grade 2 last year, which would have been their first year that they were exposed to literacy in English. They have lost out on almost a year of school but were automatically promoted to the next grade. We are so pleased that we will be able to work with these learners in their Grade-3-year to close the many gaps that are evident due to missing so much of the academic year.
Our Virtual Volunteering will continue, but as much as the students and volunteers love this program it's not the most cost effective or sustainable way of ensuring that every child receives some kind of an intervention. We hope to be able to purchase more devices as well as find a data/Wi-Fi solution that is not 100% dependent on electricity.
So, our every changing and ever-increasing wish list now includes asking for transport money to assist the youngsters who will travel from Diepsloot to Alex twice a week. This is a 70 kilometre (approx. 43 mile) daily trip at a cost of $4 dollars per day per person. This equates to about $85 dollars a day for the group and will end up costing about $500 a month. This will not only provide amazing support to our Diepsloot program, but it will also give this group of newly certified tutors as well as those in training the tools and resources to replicate this project in their own communities and local schools. This group also plan to start their own small businesses and offer extra reading lessons to private clients in their own communities to increase their income.
Thank you to our GlobalGiving community and all of you who have supported as and have kept the Edu Fun light shining during Covid-19. Your continued support means that we will be able to provide some of the following resources to multiply our impact and reach at least 400 learners in 2021.
- $100 will sponsor a Master pack for each mini hub leader - to include whiteboard and markers, solar lamps with USB charging point.
- $300 for a laptop / tablet (we could easily use another 6 devices in the space that we have, so that we are able to teach up to 10 students at a time)
- $1000 inverter/UPS
- $25 will sponsor consumables for each hub per week - pre-paid electricity; airtime/data bundles; disposable masks; sanitisers; soap
- $30 will sponsor lunches (apple/orange, lunch) for attendees at the mini-hub
- $20 will sponsor Learner workbooks & stationery per child per month
- $100 per month for mobile data
- $500 per month will pay for the transport costs that will enable our team of volunteers from Alex to join us in Diepsloot twice a week to teach up to 200 children to read.
Virtual Volunteering - Teaching reading
Alex students visit Diepsloot
Alex students visit Diepsloot
Thank you to our Generous Global Giving Community