2019 was another fantastic year for the Zoe Trust with much growth in our strategic planning and project development. As well as cementing the relationships we have with our individual children, we have been working hard this year to support our mentors to develop their practice and supporting them to apply for grants so they can expand their provision further.
We have also spent time on the ground working alongside our mentors. I was lucky enough to visit our projects in Ingwavuma and Misty Meadows and Tanya enjoyed a wonderful trip to the Action for Education base on Samos. It is vital that we are able to maintain personal links with our children and mentors as it enables us to provide them with unique provision which supports them to reach their full potential.
End of year reports
As a teacher myself, I understand the hard work and time it takes to produce school reports and so it is fantastic to be able to read the detailed and positive reports written about our children. This year, like any other, they are full of positive messages about the resilience, determination and friendship our children show:
“Akhanyile has a lively sense of humour and has brought a positive atmosphere to his group this term. He shows care and respect in all of his associations with others.” Akhanyile from Cape Town
“As I mentioned before Njabs is a superstar at sport, his development is lightning fast and has many talents both in sport and MMA. Overall Njabulo had an outstanding year on the sport field, I would like to see Njabulo go from strength to strength going forward.” Njabulo from Misty Meadows
“It has been a pleasure to have Sanele in my class this year. She has been consistently hardworking and eager to achieve her goals. She is respectful, well-mannered and intelligent.” Sanele, Khethani
It was fantastic to spend 10 quality days at Misty Meadows over the summer. I was able to totally immerse myself in the lives of our children, the day to day running of the school and spend long evenings talking to Cassie, the head teacher, about the future direction of the school.
What I saw amazed me. Calm, inclusive and self-selecting learning environments filled with independent, articulate and hardworking learners who choose to be there. The learning experiences are varied, wide and deep ranging from gardening to mind-set training and work alongside the opportunity to improve the ability to communicate verbally and in written form.
Walking around the school, it is clear to see the impact The Zoe Trust is having. The workshop sits proudly outside the head teachers house often filled with laughter as the children learn new skills as they take on practical projects that not only develop their skills but provide them with a practical item that they can use in their home. In the centre of the school, a beautiful rectangular building is home to the senior class who can often be found updating their You Tube channels, perfecting their dance skills or reading. This is a unique space, rare in rural Africa, where children can freely explore the internet, communicate with friends from around the world and develop the skills they will need in the work place.
Our three children are thriving under the constant care and attention of the teachers. We shared a wonderful day in the local tow where they excitedly relayed stories about home, school and the amazing interest they have in the world around them. They are all intrigued by everything new and we had long discussions about what they want to do in the future, their gymnastics and karate lessons and the difficulties they face with friendships. Honest, insightful and incredibly kind.
Our Enrichment Fund continues to provide us with the opportunity to support our children to have a fully holistic education. All of our Khethani students were able to enjoy exciting residential trips across Kwa-Zulu Natal which saw them hike, visit museums and work on their team building skills. These opportunities are vital to their development both academically and socially allowing them to take on challenges and new experiences they otherwise wouldn’t have.
The fund also allows us to cover the cost of extra study; transport to and from school; and provide stationary and uniform so that our children do not feel different.
This year, we used a couple of generous one-off donations to support the building of a resource centre at Misty Meadows which we are looking forward to developing over the coming year. This space will allow the school to store important science and art equipment, providing the children with a continued diverse curriculum.
2019 has been another fantastic year for the trust and we are so proud of all of our children. At the end of this year, we said goodbye to some of our older children who have now left education and are starting their journey into the working world. It is always an amazing moment when our children leave us as caring, independent and successful young people and we wish them all the best of luck in the future. This letter from Siya says it all:
“My heart is full of joy the support you have given me throughout these four years, investing in my future and helping me in achieving my dreams. Today I can stand proudly and say I am a qualified teacher something I never thought would be possible but because you and your family opened your hearts and decided to fund me, someone you have never met before or even spoken too over the phone. If that’s not true humanity then I don’t know what it is. What you did for me has inspired me to work hard so one day I may be able to help another Siya somewhere to achieve her dreams.”
2020 sees a number of new adventures for the trust. Our first ever Studio Party is taking place on the 1st February in London to raise money for two of our girls from Ingwavuma who are starting a new chapter at Richards Bay Christian School, a boarding school in the closest large town. This is an amazing opportunity for them as it is a brilliant school which will provide them with a life changing opportunity to achieve their very best and have access to quality tertiary education after school. We have spent the last few years trying to find the next step for our children in Ingwavuma and are delighted to be forging a partnership with Richards Bay Christian School and hope that this will be the start of a long and fruitful collaboration.
Thank you for your continued support and generation,
Emily on behalf of the Zoe Trust trustees