Our second year year has passed, our donors have remained loyal and steadfast, and the stories and progress reports streaming into the Trust are extremely pleasing. Our aims, to give child-headed families and individual kids the chance to a good education and thus a brighter future, are well and truly on track.
One of the reports we received was from the Zungu family, thanking us and their sponsors for the support they have received over the past two years. This family has now reached the stage where they no longer depend on our food parcels as they are able to support themselves. Their monthly income is now close to £250 due to the foster care and disability grants they receive. Zisize feels that the family are ready to become independent. With the Trust’s support the family, now led by Zinhle (21 years old), have been able to construct two new rooms onto their family home. The younger children have also been encouraged and motivated to attend school. Minenhle who is now 14 years old and in Grade 7 at Ntabayengwe Primary School, is part of the Abaqophi Children’s Radio Project run by Zisize and is hoping to go into media studies one day.
It is with great pleasure that the trust has been able to say goodbye to the Zungu family and bring on board the Ngwenya family who are in much greater need of support.
Amongst other good reports we were especially delighted to receive a lovely letter from Dennis, part of the Ntimbabwe family. Earlier this year Dennis was attacked one night whilst coming home from studying at university – he was stabbed in the back and robbed of his cell phone and money. He spent a day in hospital where he was stitched up and monitored. He is now fine and is very proud of the fact that he still managed to write four exams and pass them all! Even after the attack. He writes “First of all I would like to say thanks for your support in my family because we are still receiving the food parcel every month and that makes my family survive better than before so your support makes a difference in my home and in my life. Secondly I’m still studying at the varsity level as you know…I passed all my modules for the first semester. I’m still waiting for the result for the second semester but I wrote well my exams so I hope I will pass again. Next year I will be doing the final year in my course to do the teaching. I promise you that I will always work hard in order to pass all my modules and to finish my degree in time. Lastly I hope you will still be supporting my family until I finish my degree and may the loving God give you the power to continue with your good work.”
More great news came in a letter from the Gumede twins who wrote in response to a letter from Dorothy. “We were so glad to have friends who are kind and generous like you. Your encouragements have given us self-confidence and self consciousness. We think you know us better now but there is only one thing missing for you to know and that is we love you. We feel so loved and lucky and even hopeful to get such assistance. Our old brother (his name is Mlunigue) is repeating grade twelve twice. He was mentally disturbed due to our Mom’s disappearance on earth. And this year he looks so promising and he had put more effort.”
The individual reports received from Khethani Christian School where also extremely pleasing. The trust was delighted to hear about Sonto Gumede who was kept back a year last year to retake grade R. Her mentor wrote “Spending another year going over the same concepts and being able to do a lot of learning through play has really helped her in all ways. Sonto has developed so much – the most notable difference being that she is now so much more confident! She has many friends now and LOVES playing – not like she was two years ago when she started at Khethani. It is so wonderful to see how she has blossomed in these two years from the very subdued and listless child that she was. Nothing seems to stress Sonto anymore. She is a lot more confident than before and has even started being a bit naughty and cheeky!”
Another lovely letter came from Nomvula Gumede who lives at Ekukhanyeni Orphanage, set up and run by Zisize: “Thank you for supporting me because I am enjoying Khethani Christian School. We do sports and athletics. We join clubs like singing and dancing club, ballroom dancing club. We did athletics earlier this year and it was such fun! We also made pape-mache piggy banks. I painted my one pink with purple and whilte.” Nomvula also writes positively about her home “I enjoy staying at Ekukhanyeni and it much fun with the new mamas. They really love kids and they care for children. When the sun cools down we go to play netball with the mammas. We don’t play a strict game, we just play for fun!” At the end of her letter she says “Nothing really make me sad this year. I had a very good year.”
The trust was also very pleased to receive some great reports from the new children and families that we have taken on
board this year. We matched Samke Nyawo with sponsors in September and she immediately started at Khethani. In her report her mentor said “Samke has settled into Khethani very well. She came in the last term of 2011 and was very shy at first but now she is a lot more confident.” When asked about her year Samke said “I loved starting school at Khethani. I am so glad I am learning English.”
Our Cape Town girls are also blossoming thanks to the good schools they attend and the wonderful support of Alison our Cape Town mentor. The girls are all working hard and have overcome the challenges they have faced this year with courage and determination. In her end of year report Siyasanga, now in grade 11 says “One of the things I’m proud of this year is being committed enough in school programs such as Ikamu and sports and also being on RGL (schools representative council ) throughout the year and passing my grade 10 class even though I found it difficult”. Okuhle now in grade 12 has also worked hard this year, she writes “I am very proud that I joined a youth programme which assists with homework and being part of the team that compiled a magazine in a week.” Once again it is fantastic to see our children branching out into all areas of school life and taking on new challenges and responsibilities alongside their education. Zizipho, who came on board last year is also doing extremely well and has adapted well to her new English language school, she comments “Starting a new school and making new friends was one of the things that made me happy this year.”
Although overall we are happy with the reports from Cape Town, Alison is concerned with the low levels some of the girls are achieving in maths. This has been a repeated problem and Alison is trying different solutions with the girls. Since February 2012, the girls have enrolled in a local NGO Saturday Maths classes, so hopefully the problem will be further tackled this year.
Sadly not all of the end of year reports have been so positive and unfortunately the all-too-common themes of pregnancy, HIV and lack of motivation continue to occur. These are all problems that are rife in South Africa and it is going to be extremely hard to overcome them. However we are working closely with Zisize in Kwazulu Natal and Alison in Cape Town to highlight the families and children who are in need of extra help and are putting together plans of action for how we can help them and others in the future. Without your continued support this would not be possible and the future for these families would be incredibly bleak.
Overall we are extremely happy with the end of year reports and letters that we have received. The vast majority of the children and families that we are supporting are doing well and improvements are being made both at home and at school. One of the common themes emerging from the reports, that has been extremely exciting to see, is the children’s positive attitude towards learning and their vision into the future. Lindo Ngwenya emphasises this in his report: “I would like to do my best at school. I can’t wait to finish and go to university and make a life for myself. I only have two more years of school left so I am going to do my best next year academically.”
We want to take this opportunity on behalf of all the children and families who you support to once again say a huge thank you for your continued support and generosity. With your help we are really helping to change lives and give children the chance at a brighter future.
Walter and Emily (on behalf of all the Trustees)