Tuesday, August 21, 2007

August 14th


Requests for funds for projects are already coming in. Rev. Sikhumbuzo Ngema, working with a 1 st grade teacher named Juliet, who has taught 1st grade for 32 years and is also an evangelist and Thoko, the Manyano's (equivalent to UMW) officer for social justice wants to put on a training workshop for the preschool teachers in the central circuit. Most are basically volunteers who have been "selected" to do the job. They have no training. They've decided to do this workshop the 27 th & 28th of August when the children and schools are still on holiday. (Sound familiar?!?) One problem: they don't have funds to get supplies for the workshop to create teaching aids to be used at the workshop and for the teachers to create "teaching aids" for what they should be teaching in preschool. The preschools and carepoints aren't recognized by the government and therefore, not entitled to receive funds. I don't quite know how long after or if they are able to be recognized by the government it would take to get basic teaching materials.

The teachers who are attending won't be paid to attend this workshop and will have to pay for a Kombi (bus ride) from their home to St Paul 's church in Manzini. They will spend the night sleeping on the floor where the preschool at St Paul's is held without mattresses or water/bathroom facilities. Manyano will be called on (of course) to try and donate food for them to eat.

The new teacher, Celangiphiew, for the Lomgeletjane Carepoint, where they are building a new carepoint and school) has no materials for the students. She borrowed a workbook from a friend who teaches at another school and will have to make copies of the pages, for the students. However, the church doesn't have a copier so she will have to try to find the money to copy them out of her own money. The government won't let her order the workbooks because the school at Lomgeletjane isn't built yet and not recognized by the government. She's hoping by next year it will be recognized. Celangiphiwe has twenty-eight 1st grade students of varying ages in her class. None have ever been to school before because there hasn't been a school or pre-school in the area. She is a first year teacher right out of college. Rev. Ngema has managed to find 11 desks which he had repaired for her, only to find out the room is so small only 6 or 7 of them will fit into the room. There are no chairs because there is no money to buy them and surplus chairs haven't been identified. Until the new school is built, they will not have room for all of the students to have desks, and especially not chairs.

Uniforms are also needed. Uniforms seem to be as much of an encouraging, unifying thing as it is useful. Through donations, material will be bought and Thoko will enlist Manyano ladies to volunteer to sew them to save costs. I shared with them how Khanysilie (the HIV childhood development center in Katlehong) kept track of the uniforms and passed them down from student to student as the students outgrew them.

Ongoing funds for food at the carepoints and some of the schools, uniforms in the rural schools, books to fill the gap between what and when the Government supplies, basic materials such as desks, chairs, pencils and paper, school uniforms for the start up schools and those children who can't afford them are just some of the needs that have been identified so far. I am working to get specific costs. In the mean time, please prayerfully consider starting a "back to school" drive that would provide funds I could distribute on a priority basis. Their new term starts about the second week in September.

Blessings to each of you.

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