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