Sorry that such a long time has passed since our last update. Over the past few weeks have been very busy here at the Imbeleko Foundation. There is so much to share with you all!
An update on our home visits
I am pleased to say that in just 2 weeks we were able to complete all of our 80 primary school home visits along with our database capturing all of the information on each child. The home visits were the final step in completing the Imbeleko enrolment process. Even though it was at times an exhausting task walking to each of the homes, it was a unique opportunity to explore the community of KwaNyuswa with the beautiful backdrop of the Valley of 1000 Hills. Meeting the kids, hearing their stories and walking the distance that they travel to school every day (often uphill and sometimes very far) showed us how motivated they are to learn and to get a good education. All of that has inspired us as a team to try and create the best after school programme possible.
After school education programme
The after school sessions last for 1½ hours each and take place in 4 of the primary schools in the area. Every session includes 45 minutes of Life Skills and 45 minutes of English. We are implementing 4 sessions of this new programme and the next ICS team will then take over. Our decided topic for each of the life skills sessions is Identity, covering themes such as values, healthy relationships and peer pressure. We have also spent some time carrying out community mapping exercises with the pupils. This aims to give both the ICS team and the Peace Corps volunteers a clearer idea of the way in which the children view their community; i.e. the layout of their community, what they like/ don’t like about it, what they find challenging, what they would like to see etc. This research can then be used to help inform future community development projects in the area.
The English Programme we have been recently trained on and will be using is called “Gateway into Reading” by the Neema Foundation. Neema Foundation aims to “bring hope through education”. English is a key factor in succeeding within higher education and securing jobs in South Africa and this is why Imbeleko have picked it as a main focus in the primary school programme. We are excited to be using the Neema Foundation programme as they have had great results improving English skills in pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. At the moment we are completing the first 2 weeks of the programme. This consists of phonics, reading and spelling assessments to find out the English level of each learner, and from there we will then be able to tailor the programme to best suit them.
Creating a holiday club resource
We are currently working on our Holiday Club Resource that we can hand over to the next team, who will then implement it during the July school break. 150 High School pupils will take part in the week long educational and fun programme. There will be workshops each morning in Media, Drama, Arts and Craft, Sports and Dance. Then in the afternoons there will be talks based around some issues that may affect the young people; drug and alcohol abuse, internet safety and sexual and reproductive health. Plans are also in progress for a team challenge day and also a community action day (including a litter clear up, gardening and possibly painting a mural in the community). This is the first Holiday Programme that Imbeleko is running on such a large scale and we have enjoyed being a part of the planning even though we will not be there when it takes place.
Raising awareness and funding for the Imbeleko Foundation
Sbu the CEO of Imbeleko has taken on the challenge of walking and cycling 1000 kms over a period of 12 weeks. This has the aim of making the dreams of a 1000 children from the Valley of 1000 Hills a reality. On the 16th of May we joined Sbu along with 150 other people (both High School students and other guests) on a 5k walk through the community to raise awareness and funds for Imbeleko. Our team played a role in helping to coordinate the walk and Steph designed a banner and invitations. As it was also Sbu’s 40th birthday there was a big celebration afterwards with food, music and speeches. The day was a massive success! It was crazy how it all came together with only 1 ½ weeks of planning.
Thanks for taking time to read about what we’ve been getting up to. There has been a lot of hard work but also laughter and joy on our ICS journey so far! Please continue to pray for us as we go into the final weeks of our placement.
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Catherine (and the rest of the Imbeleko Foundation team) 🙂