2018 was another fantastic year in the journey of our trust: we welcomed new sponsors and children into our ever expanding family and Hannah Webb continued to strengthen our relationships on the ground spending time in Ingwavuma and Misty Meadows. Hannah spent 6 months staying at Ekukhanyeni orphanage developing her own love for the children who live there and desire to support them. She also worked tirelessly at Khethani Christian School helping both the children and staff to grow and develop. Her experience and insights will help us to continue to improve our practice going forward: to make sure that all our children continue to have the very best opportunities.
Sadly, this year, we lost one of our founding members, Walter Schwarz, who passed away in August. Walter was a much loved trustee who provided calm, reflective and inspiring guidance since the trust’s creation. He will be deeply missed and our love and thoughts are with his family.
End of year reports
One of the most exciting parts of my work at the Zoe Trust is reading our children’s end of year reports and sending them on to their sponsors – a pleasure I now share with Hannah. It is a brilliant opportunity to reflect on their progress and remind ourselves of the meaningful and important impact our support continues to have on our kids.
A snapshot of some of the comments:
“Samke has worked exceptionally well throughout the year. She gets on quietly with her work and always applies herself diligently with commitment and motivation each term.”
“Njabulo has had a phenomenal year! I am astounded all the time by him! He has really just decided what he wants and his perseverance is remarkable.”
“Nezisa is a lovely girl who tries her best in class. She is well-mannered and polite and very eager to please.”
Tertiary Education successes
It was with huge pride and joy that we received the news of Yolanda’s success in her finals. Yolanda was one of the first children we sponsored and she actually inspired the creation of the Trust back in 2010. She did so well in her finals that she was selected as a Golden Key Scholar, and will join a network of other top students from around the world. Yolanda recently wrote a guest blog for us, which you can see here.
Following in her footsteps, two of our young people from Cape Town, Thokosani and Lihle, have just started university in January 2019. Lihle got a full government grant and Thokosani continues to be generously supported by his Zoe Trust sponsors and mentor.
Misty Meadows Make Space
Three years ago, Tanya and I sat on the grass outside Misty Meadows and dreamt about helping to create a make-space for the school: an area for children to explore, learn and perfect the crafts and skills needed to develop their portfolio of knowledge outside of standard academics. We both felt, alongside Cassie (the headteacher), that this would enhance the learning at Misty Meadows – an already creative and child led learning environment.
Finally, after three years of dreaming, this space became a reality at the end of 2018. Financed by regular monthly donations and one off fundraisers we were able to buy the tools needed and create a space suitable to run the lessons and store the equipment needed to kick-start this project. This would never have been possible without the support of Palmer Park Velo, a youth cycling club based in Reading, whose members cycled for 3 hours raising over £1,500 for the trust.
The pride and joy on Sisi’s faces as she shows off her finished product.
As we all know, accessing the internet is a vital part of our everyday lives providing us with the opportunity to communicate, research, learn and entertain ourselves. Although a lot of our children live in communities where technology and internet are scarce, once they reach tertiary education they are thrown into a world where success relies on their ability to navigate a wide range of technology. As a result, it is really important that we make sure they have as many opportunities as possible to access the internet and explore different types of technology.
This year we have continued to expand our computer projects at Misty Meadows, Khethani and with Action for Education in Samos, Greece. Each project is slightly different but all have the same desired outcome: computer literacy.
At Misty Meadows, the children use the computer room to research and gain inspiration for their termly projects. Recently, 9-year-old Nthambi (one of our Zoe Trust children) spent hours watching different cooking programs and researching difference recipes before moving to the kitchen to put her new skills into practice culminating in the creation of a range of cakes for her family and friends. This is child led learning at its very best: a project designed, created and presented entirely on her own.
Our Enrichment fund continues to provide the extra level of care that makes the Zoe Trust unique as it allows us to provide the all-round care that gives our children the best possible chance to succeed.
2018 was no different and besides providing stationary, transport, uniforms and textbooks for our children we have also paid for school trips, chess tournaments and sporting competitions. In addition, we have paid for some of our children to attend music lessons, extra maths and economics lessons. This not only helps them improve their academic results but it provides them with a safe space to study and supportive role models to guide them both educationally and pastorally.
We were also able to pay for the transport costs for Samke, one of our children from Ingwavuma, to compete in a series of local and county running races, where she ran fantastically winning the early rounds. This culminated in a trip to compete in Kings Stadium, Durban – an incredible opportunity which she thoroughly enjoyed.
Overall, 2018 has been a year of consolidation. We are continuing to provide a holistic and inclusive education package through the creation of a workshop, development of our computer projects and on the ground support. We have continued to provide all our children not only with academic opportunities but with the chance to explore all aspects of themselves through enrichment adventures.
Thank you to all our sponsors and friends for your continued support and generation,
Emily on behalf of all the Zoe Trust Trustees