Siyakhulisa Newsletter 12

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  Siyakhulisa Newsletter 12  
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Dear Visitor


 2016, the year that was and what a year it has been! -  no,no, we mean that in a good way! For Siyakhulisa it's been a great year and as such we only have good news to report.

Our four matric students are busy writing their final exams and there is no doubt they will all graduate successfully from Gill College. This is a success story we can all be proud of. Our Canadian co-ordinator and sponsor, Alice Rawecki, paid us a visit in September, mainly to see these matrics before they go their different ways. Here is her account of her experience:

Bridging the Gap
This past September I took my second journey to South Africa back to Somerset East. A place where in 2011 I had the opportunity to volunteer my teaching experience at William Oates Primary School. During my stay, I along with the teachers and executive from the Siyakhulisa Trust recommended four students who would have an opportunity in attending Gill College in Somerset East.
It gives me great pleasure that the four students will soon graduate from grade 12. Each of them has goals in furthering their education. One is interested in becoming a fire fighter, another wants to work with animals on the game reserves, while the girls are interested in hospitality and accounting. These aspirations perhaps would not have materialized had they not had the drive and ambition in experiencing the importance of a good education. I along with Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Bradfield were able to see the excitement and comradery amongst these students. They say a picture is worth a thousand words!

Alice with matrics
When I asked them how they first felt when they first went to Gill College their response was, “it was difficult!” Today they are all beaming with enthusiasm of having done something that they thought was only a dream!
My stay could not have been complete without having taken a visit back to where this all began at William Oates Primary School. I was very excited to visit the children and the staff, who I might add has tripled in size. Mr. du Plessis, the principal greeted me with such a warm welcome. He gave the children an extended recess, so that I could meet the staff who were there when I volunteered and then introduced me to the new staff by telling them who I was and what Siyakhulisa Abantwana is doing for the learners in Somerset East. The staff sang and thanked me for coming. My time at William Oates will never be forgotten. I wish I were living closer so that I could do more for the school who is desperate in need of teachers and volunteers.
The SiyakhulisaAbantwanaTrust is not resting but continues to sponsor two more students, one from William Oates who is in grade ten and another child who is in grade eleven.”We are Bridging the Gap” link by link. The Canadian sponsors, along with the Somerset East supporters like Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Bradfield who tirelessly are readily available in seeing that those in need are being looked after, all volunteer our time and energy helping to make a difference for the future of South Africa.
I am looking forward to the next time when I can take another journey, where a picture will again be worth a thousand words!
Alice Rawecki -coordinator of Educational Support in Canada for South Africa.

We'd like to express our heartfelt gratitude to Alice for giving up her time at great expense to make the trip out here. It was amazing to witness her absolute and unselfish love and caring for our learners. Here are a few of the many photos taken during her visit:

Alice Thobela ChevHere Alice surprises Thobela and Chevandre when she visits them at Gill College. Thobela is the young boy she met at William Oates in 2011 when he was in Grade 6. She had it her mind then to sponsor him should he wish to attend Gill College and that is what she has done. Unfortunately Thobela has faced many challenges as the township where he lives and his home environment are not conducive to productive learning. Alice decided he needs to be in the boarding establishment and by the time she left to return to Canada he was settled in for the last term of the year. This may be too little too late and we can only hope he was able to catch up sufficiently to pass -His reward being that if he does, Alice and Dr Russell will sponsor his boarding fees next year too.

 On this day Alice met Chevandre for the first time and was impressed with her exemplary manners and her show of immense gratitude for the opportunities afforded to her. Chevandré has developed into a delightful young lady and we watch her progress with interest.Alice with Canadian readers

Then we visited the Ngipe library. Kristine Ericson who, as you know, has donated many second hand books to this library on a number of occasions ran a project with her group of special needs children whereby she undertook that for each book they read she would donate a book to the children in Somerset East. A total of 99 books were enthusiastically read by this small group of children. Here you see Alice visiting them before she left for South Africa and after the books had already been shipped.

Hand over to NgcipeThe books arrived in time for Alice to personally hand the boxes over to the library. She was also able to deliver a much needed laptop donated in Canada for use in the library.

Never one to miss a chance to interact with children, Alice immediately set about reading a story to the luckyLibrary children who were visiting the library that afternoon. Then they had a sing-song after which one of the children proudly showed off his reading skills to Alice. Then came the handing out of bracelets made by the children in Canada. These kiddies will be talking about this unforgettable experience for years to come.

 Krisitine and ShahbazBefore I move on, a word of thanks to Kristine and Shahbaz for the many shipments of books you have sent to us. Finally we can put faces to your names. We are glad that Alice was able to see for herself and convey to you the difference you are making in the lives of so many children. One young teenage girl waits for the boxes to arrive and promptly takes 5 books out at a time. She has read every one of the Harry Potter books too. 


Teachers 4 Somerset East Project

Now for our final good news story. Thanks to those who heeded our appeal in our last newsletter to assist with resolving the2nd sponsored class problem of shortage of teachers at WG Olivier Primary School, we were able to assist the school with a second teacher. The principal, Mr Horne, kindly sent us a photo of the second class of happy learners who have benefitted. Sadly it does not look as though the Education Department will step up to the plate in 2017 either so we'll maintain support for as long as we can. Apart from your kind contributions, members of the community of Somerset East, inspite of struggling themselves, have been amazing in their support of this project. This is in the true spirit of Siyakhulisa's motto -  "each one save one". 

Well this newsletter is looking more like a photo gallery than anything else, however I hope all the good news brightened your day. All that remains for us as Trustees is to thank you one last time in 2016 and to wish you a happy holiday season and a blessed Christmas. We'll chat again in 2017.

On behalf of Alan Russell, Rosalee Bradfield and Alice Rawecki

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Lynne Brown
PO Box 344
Somerset East 5850
Tel: 042 243 0339

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