|IN OUR DECEMBER EDITION:|
In a final wrap for 2013 we share with you some very real and heart warming stories from some of our learners. I have been a part of the Anna Foundation for 8 years now and these stories still bring a big lump to my throat. It has always been our vision and our mission to help build children’s self confidence so that they can realise their own worth. For me it is so rewarding when we are able to achieve this in even 1 child’s life. I hope these stories fill your heart with as much joy as it has done for all of us at the Anna Foundation.
In the spirit of Madiba, we wish you the joy and the peace of Ubuntu this festive season,
Our December stars are children who have really stood out this year. A number of these learners have had to overcome extremely difficult circumstances but have risen above adversity. They make us proud!
Elton (Gr 10) - Right-ing Award, shared: Elton has been attending the after school since we started at the farm in 2007. He has not had an easy home-life and lives with his aunt (his father passed away, and his mother is not fit to look after him). When we first got to know Elton he would cower away, preferring to remain ‘invisible’. Academically he is not very strong but excels at running and enjoys playing sport. Over the years we’ve seen Elton slowly come out of his shell but the greatest change has been during the past year. He used to speak without thinking and blurt out whatever thoughts came into his mind but has reached to a point where he will correct himself and apologise for speaking out of turn. He is always a tremendous help to Sophie (who is wheelchair bound), getting her in and out of buses on outings and also at the after school. He will not hesitate to also help the other children, even with their academic work which he may not completely understand himself. Elton was chosen for the Right-ing award because of his selfless, willing attitude towards others and the way that he supports others around him.
Clint (Gr 11) - Right-ing Award, shared and 3rd place Reading: Clint works hard and is seeing the results. If he is unable to attend the after school, he apologises ahead of time, being a good example to the younger children. He is an outgoing, natural leader who often encourages the younger children to keep their eye on their futures and not only to focus on what they’re busy with today. Clint is practicing what he preaches and has already started saving up for college.
Calvin (Gr 4) - Right-ing 2nd place: Calvin has an inquisitive mind and is hungry to learn new things - he is a wonderful example for the others, especially as he is the youngest in his group at the after school. We have found him to always be well-mannered and respectful, taking part whole-heartedly in all activities while being mindful of the other children and respecting his elders.
Mickyle (Gr 2) - Right-ing 3rd place: Since we’ve known Mickyle he has been an angry boy: tantrums when he didn’t get his own way, bullying other children, being a poor loser and a very ungracious winner on the sports field. A lot of his bad behaviour boiled down to frustration. Mickyle has battled a great deal at school, falling very behind his classmates which resulted in his being kept back a year. This made him even angrier. At first he was rebellious and simply didn’t try, not even attempting to complete any academic work but after months of one-on-one work with his after school facilitator, not only has Mickyle's school work improved but so has his attitude – towards everything! Mickyle’s self-confidence has grown a great deal since he has realised “I can do it”. He is much more positive towards tasks and towards others, being willing to get involved in all the activities without grumbling and is noticeably gentler towards the other children in his class.
Johnathan (Gr 8) and Jonwill (Gr 4) - Johnathan won the Dux Award while Jonwill came in 1st place in the Intermediate Phase group (Gr 4 – 7): Johnathan and his younger brother, Jonwill have been through a fair share of trials over the last few years. Seeing these boys winning awards for their academic work makes us tremendously proud, especially considering all that they have had to face. Both boys have been kept back a year at school with Johnathan being put on a remedial support programme at the after school. They were uncooperative in class, disinterested and showed no motivation towards their school work. A few years ago, they were placed in a children’s home as a result of challenging home circumstances. They were removed from the farm and their friends and attended a school in another town. During this time, their after school facilitator was in the process of adopting both children and they were placed in his care after one school term in the children’s home. Since this life-changing move, the change seen in Johnathan and Jonwill has been phenomenal to say the least. Both have come out stronger and are the kind of children you can rely on. Their guardian tells us how they love school and wouldn’t miss a day for anything. The other children on the farm look up to them and they now show a confidence that comes with the security of being in a loving home.
Randy (Gr 2) - Academic Prize, 2nd place (Foundation Phase): Randy started at Stellenbosch Primary at the beginning of term 2 as a new beneficiary in our School Scholarship Programme. Her language skills were above average, but she really struggled with numeracy. We employed a tutor who worked one-on-one with Randy every day during her maths lessons for two hours. After much hard work, Randy’s marks sky-rocketed into the 70 – 79% bracket and she continues to excel.
Jenolene (Gr RR) - Certificate for Academic Achievement: This little lady is in Pre-Grade R but is completing Grade R work with ease. She has blown her facilitator away by doing the end of year exam (Gr R) all on her own!
Sesona (Gr R) - Right-ing Award: The Right-ing award is very appropriate for Sesona, age 5. She is the right-hand to another little girl, aged 7, whom she has ‘adopted’. Sesona’s friend is mentally and physically challenged and she relies on her younger friend for everyday tasks– Sesona feeds her friend, wipes her mouth and even assists her when she goes to the toilet. Sesona puts her friend first and is selfless in all that she does.
Mariska (Gr 3) - Top Sportswoman: Mariska is a go-getter. She attends Stellenbosch Primary (scholarship programme) and is not only doing extremely well academically, on the sports field (she is her coaches’ “netball star”!) but is also involved in extra-mural activities and was recently awarded 87% in her final dance exam. At the monthly fun runs, Mariska is always one of the first girls over the finish line.
Jacquin (Gr 10) - Top Sportsman: Jacquin has done very well at our monthly fun runs and has also eagerly participated in a number of MTB events this year. A few months ago he was given the responsibility of taking charge of a bike workshop based at his farm. This also involved taking the other children at the after school on ‘organised rides’.
Children's Year-End Functions
Various year-end celebrations took place during the first week of December in each of our project regions. The largest event was for our Boland farms where approximately 150 learners from our nine Boland projects congregated bright and early at the Stellenbosch High School hall. The morning began with the annual prize giving. One doesn’t always realise how much these awards mean to the children. We’ve heard from some of the learners how they wait for their name to be called, with butterflies in their tummy and how they try to fight the smile which emerges on their face as they approach the stage while their friends cheer them on. Children who excelled in the recent Anna Foundation exams each received a certificate while voucher prizes were given to the top academic positions, sport achievers and for Right-ing (those who have shown right attitude, right behaviour, “right me”).
This year our main trophies went to the following children:
DUX AWARD: Jonathan, Gr 8
BEST SPORTSMAN: Jacquin, Gr 11
BEST SPORTSWOMAN: Mariska, Gr 3
RIGHT-ING AWARD: shared between Elton, Gr 10 and Clint, Gr 11
After the prize giving it was time for the fun and games. A photo booth, jumping castles, water slides and waterkaskenades (games involving water) were set up on the fields and the children were free to move between activities as they pleased. Team games were organised for the waterkaskenades and a lot of fun was had, trying to get other children as wet as possible with water balloons, face cloths and buckets of water… you can imagine! The waterslides were positioned on a grassy slope allowing for that little extra speed and some of the facilitators even talked about having a go! With a number of soccer and tennis balls thrown into the mix, everyone was kept busy and active, enjoying the well-organised (sunny!) weather.
Late-morning sustenance came in the form of pizza slices and juice (kindly sponsored by Pacmar). After ‘refuelling’ it was time for “Operation Shoebox” where each child received a very special gift. A wonderful way to wrap up the year.
Our Ashton and Robertson projects had their own, separate events. The children at Prospect Primary had a fun afternoon filled with games and cupcakes. This was followed by a prize giving and a special handing out of reading books (kindly assisted by the Arabella office staff, who had provided a drop-off point for books in their wine tasting room during our book drive). In addition to the books, each child was given their Shoebox of Love. This proved to be an extraordinary (sometimes emotional) experience for the children, also seen with our learners in Robertson who had their own function which also included an award ceremony and the handing out of Shoeboxes.
The Anna Foundation children were again beneficiaries of Operation Shoebox – a non-profit which organises personalised shoeboxes for our (and other) children which are packed with a combination of clothing, shoes, toiletries, toys and sweets. These are specially filled and donated by volunteers who ‘adopt’ our children and are committed to making their Christmas gift something special. These shoeboxes are then handed out at our end of year functions and are something which the children really look forward to.
We have heard from a couple of our facilitators how some of the children don’t get presents at Christmas and that the shoebox is the only gift they get to open. How heart-breaking, but at the same time, how wonderful to know that ‘shoe-boxers’ are providing where parents perhaps cannot afford to. To see your own name on a box and for us, watch a child’s eyes grow in disbelief – for many children, to try to comprehend that ‘this is mine’... it’s enough to bring tears to one’s eyes.
Here are a few experiences from the children:
|•||Taryn (Gr 1), held up a pair of pants which came from her box and in a state of disbelief said: “Look! It’s for ME!”|
|•||Robyn’s (Gr 6) box was so beautifully wrapped with big writing on saying things like “With Love”, “I hope you like your gift” and “You are Special”. Looking bothered, Robyn’s facilitator asked her what was wrong. Robyn’s answer: “The box doesn’t say who it’s from.”.|
|•||With all the children opening their boxes, Britney (Gr 2) walked up to project manager, Hilton with a packet of Marie biscuits which she had received in her box, handing it to him saying: “Here. Meneer didn’t get anything.”|
|•||One little boy had an ‘excitement fit’ (we don’t know how else to explain it!) and was so overwhelmed by receiving his present, and that was even before he had even opened it! The more goodies he saw, the more his arms waved about. I don’t think any of us can imagine the level of elation that boy was feeling at that moment.|
You can register to ‘adopt’ a vulnerable or orphaned child via the Operation Shoebox website. You are given the child’s name, age, ‘likes’ etc. enabling you to make up a customised gift for them. These are then distributed to homes and care centres in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in November and December.
Click here for photos of the shoeboxes being handed out
ENDUROCAD: Running Clinic with Elana Meyer
ENDUROCAD is a distance running and endurance sports academy based in Stellenbosch. Its partners are the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) and Stellenbosch Sports Academy (SSA), and offer a variety of services to support and professionally manage world class distance runners. We recently received an invitation from elite distance runner, Elana Meyer (who is also Endurocad’s brand ambassador and co-director) to send two of our children who have shown a talent for running, to a 4-day schools running clinic. We offered this opportunity to Bevan-Lee Swartz and Zadie Isaacs who have just matriculated from our scholarship programme, and who are also ex-Boland runners.
The Endurocad camp took place from 4 – 7 December. Over these few days our girls, along with 35 other children, attended various training sessions which were presented by a number of athletes and individuals who are top in their field of expertise. During the camp Beva and Zadie were shown the correct way to warm up and how to train. As part of one of their sessions, they were taken for a run up the mountain which Zadie particularly enjoyed. After a long run, they were able to enjoy a foot massage and although pleasurable, they also discovered more about their feet and their own personal running style. They were taught about nutrition and how to look after one’s body by eating correctly - a rather a new area for these two girls - and worked on the personal setting of goals, writing them down and making them more reachable. The final day ended with a 5km time-trial at the @Root44 Parkrun after which they received a certificate from Endurocad for completion of the camp.
The clinic left the girls extremely motivated and also with a number of new friends. Beva commented that although she has been on running courses before, she has never learned as much as she did over these 3 days with Endurocad, and it was a privilege to be coached by Elana Meyer.
Thank you, Elana, and to your team for this wonderful opportunity! Thank you also, for the photos.
- Lilla Howe Trust: Financial donation and on-going monthly support
- Croft Trust: Financial donation and on-going monthly support
- Dr Brom: Financial donation and on-going monthly support
- de Villiers Family: Financial donation and on-going monthly support
- 1%Club Members: Your monthly support helps a great deal
- Operation Shoebox: Your generous donation is most appreciated