School’s Out

IMG_1476Final exams ended last week and the summer holidays for students extend until mid-January. While most of our tutoring and mentorship programs continue with the exception of 1 week over Xmas, we are also helping the older youth find summer jobs and assisting with issues pertaining to their university and financial aid applications.

Sadly…2 of our favourite young guys departed Knysna and will not be returning. Kudzai (just completed grade 12) and his 16 year-old brother Junior returned to Zimbabwe a few days ago to spend time with their parents before returning to South Africa in January to, hopefully, continue their studies in Cape Town. Kudzai and Junior are very special guys with whom we have become very close and there were a few tearful eyes shortly after this photo was taken…

Kudzai has been accepted at Stellenbosch University and Junior plans to attend a junior college close to where Kudzai will be studying.

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Aphiwe

Aphiwe just completed grade 12 and is losing his best friend and study partner, Kudzai, as Aphiwe will attend university 16 or so hours away from Kudzai who will be in Cape Town. Cell phones are vital for youth to be able to secure summer jobs and be contacted by the universities where they have applied. Aphiwe’s phone ceased working and this is the replacement we were able to provide due to his Ottawa sponsor.

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While the challenge of helping street youth who lack food, shoes, or wish to return to school or find employment is daunting, the dire circumstances of some of these young boys is difficult to ignore. Two of the boys in this photo are 14, one is 15, and one 17. None have attended school for 1-2 years. With no employed family members to provide proper food or school uniforms, or a stable environment, life very difficult and offers little hope. Jim started working with these boys 2 weeks ago after being introduced to them by our friends Ella and Penny and we are slowing making some progress. The first challenge is cleanliness and the boys have been provided with bars of soap and toothbrushes/toothpaste and each week receive their next assignment! They are very pleasant boys to deal with.

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Thiso – age 15 at the Knysna Sailing Club. Thiso attends a predominantly white church in the town of Knysna and a member of the congregation arranged for him to have access to free sailing lessons each week.

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Thiso – just completed grade 9

Thiso is 15 years old and lives alone with his single Mom in the cleanest and best organized shack we have ever seen. His father is absent from his life and he has no siblings. His Mom is an impressive lady whose job only provides 4 hours of work per day. Life is tough and too often there is insufficient food or no electricity. Shacks never have running water. When he was younger, Thiso used to play with the children of the family for whom his Mom worked as a Domestic (cleaning lady) and, as a result, he speaks beautiful English. If you would like to sponsor Thiso at a cost of $15.00 CDN per month to enable him to purchase lunch (meat sandwich) each day at school, kindly let us know. Like far too many youth, Thiso goes without lunch at school. As he would tell you, hunger is physically painful and makes it very difficult to concentrate at school.

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