2020 Has begun, a very busy year it will prove to be. If we ever believed in the difference that a bit of intervention can make, well the maths and life skills program that we ran last year with an impoverished high school gave us faith. So much of it. This year Citibank have sponsored a massive maths program which will run for for the whole year, grade 4 and 5 learners at Glenridge Primary School will participate every Wednesday afternoon. We will again have a life skills program associated with it, run by the Soweto Family Life Centre, with education for caregivers and parents about abuse, self esteem, bullying etc. We want to target parents and caregivers, so that more children will be impacted. Children will be fed sandwiches and fruit before beginning the afternoon session. We learned a lot from last years program, this year we have perfected it. Singapore Maths South Africa will once again run this program, it will be experiential again, but this time they will use the Cambridge Maths System. This way if a child who doesnt have an SA birth certificate shows promise, he can still achieve, finishing school with the UK education system. Once again it will be fully monitored and evaluated. We have begun planning in earnest, children will be doing baseline assessments next week to see what level of maths they can manage. ...
This weekend marks the unofficial beginning of the summer holidays here, all I can say is thank heavens. I have been a guest in the squatter camps now for the last 7 years and have seen just about all there is to see. But honestly, the poverty now is unbelievable. People resorting to all sorts of measures just to feed their families. When you live on a higher socioeconomic level, you do without something when times are bad. What should people who live in survival mode and who literally starve do? And then there are the animals. As cowardly as I feel it is, I am taking a break from this for a while, I cannot manage any more. Here's my usual end of year wish directed at the little ones out there in the squatter areas and hostels: May all my babies be looked after and protected this holiday. May the end of year festivities not mean that your lives are changed forever,. Be safe out there, may you find food somewhere, you are not at school where they feed you. To the animals out there: dogs, cats and horses, may people be kinder to you than this world has been to them. Water. Its so hot. ...
Done and dusted. One incredible maths/life skills project completed so successfully. We ran the Noah project this entire year, Singapore Maths South Africa taking grade 8 children at a very impoverished high school in Soweto back to grade 4 maths (this is where they were benchmarked to be).There was an associated life skills program which Family Life Centre Famsa ran under the leadership of Joshna. The children all received E'Pap before starting lessons. It was the most difficult program I have ever run, I have never had so many problems to deal with. The results at the very end are incredible, an overwhelming success but in the most surprising way. The children who stayed and benefitted were the children who came from the most unfortunate and tragic circumstances. They were the most disadvantaged of the entire grade: torn clothes, broken school bags and broken school shoes that had been passed down from generation to generation. Yet this group never gave up on themselves!! There is a teacher at each school who is assigned children like this, that teacher tries to secure donations so that they have some dignity. She told me that all they can do for the group who came so religiously to our extra maths program is love them. Not much else, and yet look, they didn't give up. In some instances they paid for transport to and from the school on a Saturday morning. It is now my honour and privilege to showcase this labour of love.... ...
Just a small amount of assistance for struggling youngsters from the rural communities goes such a long way. NSFAS doesnt cover everything, lending a hand makes it possible. We helped this young man, these clever kids deserve a break. Its not their fault they were schooled in a shocking education system.
This is from Lawrence, a student from rural Transkei who redid maths to get into engineering. He has battled, but he is nearing the end.
This feels so good. Its so easy for so many to have their own Lawrences:
Hi ma'am Its me lawrence Everything has been working just fine i managed to pass my modules this semester
The thing is every semester im supposed to do 7 subjects but i take 5 every semester Cause 7 for me its too much Im almost there ma'am You have been playing the most important part in my life
And i will show you results on January when we reopen cause now im blocked due owing the institution but on Jan i will make sure you see the results
I told him how proud i was of him and he replied:
😀😀 I can see ma'am One day you will get a text saying im done 😀 ...
Todays post is a beautiful positive message of love that just cannot be stifled. Squatter camp dwellers live in absolute degradation, yet those who love their animals do it from the heart, and when something goes wrong it is catastrophic for them. The adults that allow animals into their hearts and their lives set an example to their children which will be imprinted in the minds forever: love.
Children growing up in these harshest conditions witness levels of violence unimaginable. Loving an animal provides such solace. There are studies that show that animals may provide unique elements to address several post traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Sometimes, especially for those children who head up households, the love from an animal is the only love these children know.
There are 2 heroes that I would like to acknowledge here: The first is an animal inspector who doesnt want to be identified. The second is a vet who never refuses the animals he drops off at her to sew back together, sterilise, or treat. This vet is Dr Ash of Orion Veterinary Clinic in Glenanda.
Dr Ash charges him cost price for the consumables she uses only. Making a profit out of treating these animals is unthinkable to her. The inspector has paid for these costs out of his own salary up until now.
Thank you to those of you who have donated towards this informal initiative that I have run, collecting funds for the veterinary care of the animals in Protea South, you are heroes too.
Dr Ash's banking details are:
Orion Veterinary Clinic,
Account number 62784730676,
Branch code 250655
Please use 'Squatter Camp Animals' as a reference.
Jen Mills Marltons Debi Tollman