“They cannot stop me. I will get my education if it is in the home, school, or anyplace.” Malala Yousafzai
Welcome to our first newsletter of 2023 – touching on our Matric Results of 2022 and our school and youth-support plans for 2023. Thank you for sharing in our love for learning and for supporting children to get back into school and stay there.
We had five children complete their Matric exams in 2022 and everyone passed! They all worked hard, and we are so pleased with their results. Three of the young people achieved Bachelor passes and two achieved a Diploma pass.
When we look back and reflect on their lives, we are very proud of each one. Their histories of family neglect, street life, chaos and abuse could have prevented them from completing their schooling. We are grateful that these children are not part of the 420 000 children in the cohort of children in 2022 who have dropped out somewhere between Grade 1 and Grade 12 (mostly grade 5 and grade 10) for ‘complex reasons’ as we read in the media.
It could so easily be any of the children in our care but layers of support, routines, set times for homework and studying, managed transport to and from school and lots of ‘chasing’ and determined intentional childcare means that all five of these young adults built the resilience that they could rely on to focus and work hard. Well done to all.
It starts early…
Terri Heatlie joined Kids Haven some 30 years ago now, leaving her own preschool, to work with any child in need of care and protection. She never lost her passion for the importance of an early start to learning. The Kids Haven Preschool opened in 2003 to provide quality early childhood learning to a small group of young children between the ages of 3 and 6. These first children are now 20 years older and more! And so many children have followed in their footsteps.
The Kids Haven preschool serves 38 children in total – a few of whom live at Kids Haven but most of the children join us from families in the eMandleni informal settlement on the edge of town. We love welcoming siblings of children and have many family groups who have all learned at the Kids Haven Preschool. Parents are included in parent-support and training so that good routines are set in the home to support learning into the future.
It is also a great space to welcome our youth who may be interested in training in early childhood development. Mpumi, who lived at Kids Haven joined the school in 2022 after completing her own schooling in 2021. She is getting her practical experience while studying the theory. Malebone, also from Kids Haven, has completed her ECD training and is helping out while she looks for permanent employment.
Bridging the gap
Children come into care for many reasons, mostly severe neglect, abandonment, abuse, and their own challenging behaviour which makes their family reject them. Peel back challenging behaviour and you usually find the root causes to be severe neglect and abuse. This all impacts learning and disrupts the behaviour necessary to learn.
- Can a child sit still?
- Can a child pay attention for lengths of time?
- Can a child cope with the demands from educators and other learners?
Think about the young man, C. He was raised in multiple, frequently-changing children’s homes as a young boy. He had no family roots and became increasingly chaotic as he moved in and out of different homes and foster families. He was excluded from different schools in different areas. Learning was a mess.
C is now attending formal school. He is not in exactly the right grade for his age, but he is coping. He responded to very small bite-size instructions and tasks in the bridging school classroom slowly building up more control and more knowledge. He began to feel better about himself. He is learning now.
At school like any other child
Children should go to school. It is what is right for the age and stage of childhood. It is also recognised as a fundamental human right and right of every child. Kids Haven believes this too.
These are our numbers for 2022:
- 120 children attending 24 different schools
- 58 children in primary school
- 41 children in high school to grade 11 with 3 children moving into Grade 12 in 2023
- 16 children in LSEN schools for learners with special education needs
- 5 Children in Matric – 100% pass rate for our group
- 85% of children all passed their grade in 2022 and are promoted to the next grade in 2023.
- 4% of children achieved a condoned pass meaning they should repeat the year but exceed the age for that grade.
- 5% of children failed and must repeat the grade.
- 2 children are ‘progressed’ meaning that they attend LSEN schools that do not write exams.
What the numbers don’t show, is the matching of children to the right school for each child as far as we can. This means that Kids Haven must do the following:
- Work closely with the Department of Education to look for and take up places in government schools in our area.
- Check which subjects are offered at these government schools, especially the language of instruction and check again whether the child comes from a school with that language, or whether the child will be reunified to a community where he or she can continue in that language or with those subjects.
- Persuade the Department of Education to give ‘another chance’ to children who are older than their age cohort because of their histories and still get them a place at the school.
- Use inner city private schools for children who don’t have the language or subject requirements of state schools.
- Use inner city private schools for children who need placement into school immediately to stop any further disruption to their schooling and cannot wait for department officials to find places.
- Use ABET classes or even small ‘home schooling’ environments for special cases who need extra help.
It is a fruit salad of schools, with a colourful array of school uniforms. And of course, this impacts the transport routes we must follow so that everyone gets to their school on time and home again at the end of the day. Then into supervised homework. Imagine running your household with so many children!
We believe strongly that every child must wear the correct school uniform and be proud of their school, fitting in with all their classmates as equals.
Improving learning outcomes for teenagers in the community – Teen Hub
Kids Haven opened the Teen Hub in June 2022 to offer afterschool support to teenagers in grades 8 – 11 from local schools in town. They come because they want to and there is no fee to pay or admission requirements. The Teen Hub is a special place to give academic support, learn new skills, uncover talent, and build relationships and networks with other teenagers. Results are already amazing and there is a stable group of 65 teens who constantly attend the Teen Hub. There is space for 100 teenagers.
We are proud of their improvements at school through the tutoring on offer and enjoy their enthusiasm for music, dance, drama, and sport. They love the library and the computer room. There is always someone in these spaces, diligently getting on with something constructive.
Teens who live at Kids Haven join in wherever possible and benefit from all these activities. Arabang, who completed her schooling while at Kids Haven, volunteers at the Teen Hub.
It doesn’t end with school- Youth Hub
We are excited to build on the success of the Teen Hub with our new YOUTH HUB opening in March 2023. Kids Haven has always supported young adults to gain skills and find decent work but now we will have a dedicated space and staff to focus on the relevant needs of young people. The key difference between the teen hub, childcare and the Youth Hub is that we no longer CARE. Well, we do care, but mostly we coach and mentor, letting the young adult demonstrate commitment and effort to drive his or her future. We are excited to welcome youth who leave Kids Haven, together with youth in our community to attend in-person training at the Youth Hub.
John came to Kids Haven as an orphan in need of care and protection. He had a family house but was too young to live in it on his own. Kids Haven helped to settle in tenants to secure his home and build a small rental nest egg while including John in the life of Kids Haven.
John completed his schooling and was now old enough to return to his home. He attended a short plumbing course and began offering services to his community. He enjoyed the work, but it wasn’t a steady income. He was also missing interactions and the liveliness of people all around him.
In 2022, John joined Kids Haven at Decathlon Sports Store to represent the Organization at a special stall over the Mandela Day weekend. He loved it. He loved meeting visitors and he loved the sports store environment. A few weeks later, Decathlon hosted a career day at Kids Haven and described the range of careers available in a large retail store.
Kids Haven approached Decathlon to see whether they could allow him to work in-store for a few months. They agreed. They knew John from the Mandela Day event and were keen to give him a chance.
Three months later, from January 2023, John has secured a paid position at Decathlon.
“I enjoy the work so much. I am learning all the time about all different sports. I love being part of the team. I come early and we go for a bike ride before work. I have made friends and meet up with them after work.” John will be sharing his story in more detail with the Benoni City Times on the 6th of February. We will share the story on social media.
Can you help with education?
Invest in the schooling of a child at Kids Haven – it is future-shifting and changes life outcomes for adulthood.
We do not have a major designated funder for our Preschool and would love to meet with you if you or your company wants to get involved. We are grateful to The Production Line who send us a regular donation to sponsor four children. Find out more with a quick email to email@example.com. All donations are tax deductible and donors can claim SED points towards their BBBEE scorecard.
We pay school fees at 7 schools and receive free schooling from all of the other schools. But, almost all the schools are charging “book fees” to cover photocopying, stationery and text books. This is difficult for us. Each book fee can be from R600 to R 2000 per child. Schools are reluctant to waive this fee or discount it.
You may like to sponsor-a-child at school and cover the fees for the fee-paying school or make a once-off donation here to cover the book fee. Costs vary depending on the grade and school.
Lindiwe has the information and will share ongoing results of your sponsored child. Send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org to chat to Lindiwe about a boy or a girl in primary or high school who needs your help.
In person volunteering
Regular volunteers are needed to help with homework during the week in the afternoons. This is best suited to volunteers who live in or near to Benoni.
Join us for one session of volunteering. We need your help to inspire and support the teens in the Teen Hub and the young adults in the Youth Hub. Teach a piano class, or an art class or revise Business economics for Grades 8 – 9. Share your journey to finding your career – how did you get here? Is failure fatal? Is a career path a straight line from A to B? Share business ideas and build a business plan for a micro enterprise with a young person eager to start working. These sessions can take place during the week or on Saturdays. Contact email@example.com to start the conversation.
Your own child may be needing to earn community hours this year – please take a look at the many ways to earn community hours and help Kids Haven.
Let’s get every child learning and growing into positively contributing adults one day.
Sam, Terri and the Kids Haven team
You can get involved by volunteering, donating money or second hand goods.
If you think your company could help make a difference please contact us.