Reaching More Youth

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Kweila (15) and Luyolo (16) showing off their dance moves…

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Bulele Group (Concordia High School)

We added 25 more youth to our programs over the past 10 days. Two new mentorship groups and one tutoring group were established. Replicating the Bulele mentorship model launched 2 years ago at Percy Mdala High School, Jim started a similar group at Concordia High School. Terrific group of guys…

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Tomorrow’s Fathers Group – Percy Mdala

Special thanks to the ‘sandwich lady‘ who resides in Ottawa (Canada) and each year sponsors the cost of the sandwiches Janet makes for each mentorship and tutoring session. Aside from the fact that we are dealing with teenage boys who have been at school all day, too many youth live in homes where there is insufficient food. IMG_2468 For a taste of what we experience each day, don’t miss this brief video of Janet tutoring the boys…

http://youtu.be/Z2w-QNgaTJo

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Physics Tutoring Group

Fights at School: Jim was recently asked to intervene with 12 boys who attend a township high school and belong to 2 rival gangs. The boys range in age from 14 to 18 and have been creating havoc at school, and in the community, due to fighting and occasional stabbings. One youth was seriously stabbed at school in 2014, but survived following surgery. Another boy was stabbed 3 weekends ago. The first group meeting went well and the boys were receptive and willing to talk. In addition to weekly meetings, Jim is meeting individually with each of the boys. (none of the blog photos include the 12 boys) Other new youth with whom we are working… IMG_1591   IMG-20150217-00226 The Emzini Skills Centre relocated to new premises on Sunday and Acona was eager to help. Acona wanted to ‘give back’ and demonstrate his appreciation for the support he has been receiving from Jim and Kyle (Khayamandi Foundation) the past few months.

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Acona (16)

We use the Emzini Skills Centre for some of our tutoring and mentorship sessions when we need a location in the town of Knysna. It is one of Penny’s and Ella’s many initiatives.

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Charles and Acona

Charles is a parking attendant which, in South Africa, means that he directs people as they park their vehicle on the street and then watches the car to make sure it is not vandalized. In exchange, some car owners tip him 5 Rand (approximately 10 Rand to the dollar).

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Simbulele

Jim and Simbulele recently treated themselves to an afternoon at the Knysna Elephant Park. Simbulele is 18 years old, but had never seen an elephant. He had a great time!

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Simbulele feeding the elephants

Do you reside in Knysna? 4 girls at Knysna High School (situated in town) need help with their grade 10 physics course. They formed a study group and are seeking the assistance of a tutor. If you are interested, just let us know.

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Acona’s home

Our friends Annie (far right) and Dick spend 6 months of the year in Knysna and recently welcomed 3 friends of Annie’s from the U.K.. Jim toured the 4 ladies through the township which included stops at a pre-school, primary school where we visited 2 in-progress classes, and the homes of 2 of the youth we mentor and tutor. Unknown  The ladies provided Acona’s mother (centre of top photo) with a gift of cash which she used to purchase much-needed food and a 2 burner cooker. Unbeknown to us at the time, the family did not have a working cooker. They had to wait until 8:00pm each evening to borrow a unit from a neighbour in order to cook their meal. Thank you Annie, Jan, Anne, and Julia! 27C and overcast today in Knysna. Sunny and warm yesterday. J & J 

Every child deserves a champion

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Siyathemba

At last week’s Bulele meeting at Percy Mdala, Jim asked the boys “who likes money?”. 16 year-old Siyathemba responded: “I value money, but I do not like money”.

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Acona

Acona now has a job!!!  Last week Jim & Acona persuaded the owner of a petrol station and car wash to allow Acona to volunteer for 1 day and prove himself. At the end of day one he was asked to work (and be paid) the following day. At the end of day 2 he was permanently hired. He LOVES his new job.

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Acona has worked 4 days in a row and yesterday was his first day off. One day a week he will attend an adult literacy program, as he only reads at a grade 1 level. The income Acona earns from his job is VERY needed at home as he is the only member of the family who is employed. He lives with his single mother and siblings.

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Nicholas Njozela, Principal of Percy Mdala (at the microphone)

Recently, we were invited to attend an academic year-end function for Percy Mdala High School. Along with 2 other white couples in attendance, we were introduced as “friends of Percy” and thanked for our ongoing support of their learners. Percy has a talented and committed Principal who reiterated his belief that “every child deserves a champion”.

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Anna & Ntokozo

Ana is a landscape architect who resides in the UK and recently vacationed in Knysna for 2 weeks. Janet arranged for her to help Ntokozo with his art class assignment and even Ntokozo was impressed with his hidden talent!

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Ntokozo and Ana

Ntokozo’s latest art assignment included drawing a self-portrait.

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Thiso & Janet

Thiso is a 16 year-old grade 10 learner at Concordia High School (CHS) in the Knysna township. While it was not a particularly hot day (likely 23C), it is typical for the boys to wear full uniforms, regardless of the temperature, which includes a wool jersey (sweater) or sweater vest. Janet in shorts…Thiso in sweater and wool scarf around his neck!

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Last week Jim launched 2 new mentorship groups with the assistance of 2 helpful teachers.  Patterned after the first Bulele mentorship group we started 1 year ago, a 2nd Bulele group comprised of grade 9 and 10 boys held its first meeting at Concordia High School. The first meeting of a “Tomorrow’s Fathers” group, comprised of grade 9 boys (ages 14 to 18), was held at Percy Mdala High School. This mentorship group focuses on issues impacting boys growing up with an absent father.

Sadly, a grade 11 student from Percy Mdala was stabbed and killed this past weekend. We never met the boy, however he was a classmate of some of the youth we know. Some teachers had recently seen evidence of the boy striving to turn his life around and follow a better path…

The previous weekend a student from Concordia High School was stabbed in a gang-related incident, but fortunately he survived.

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Knysna Correctional Facility

Yesterday, Jim met with the warden of the Knysna correctional facility who showed him around the prison. The purpose of Jim’s visit was to arrange a prison tour for the boys in some of our mentorship programs.

HOT HOT here…Jim &Janet.