|IN OUR MARCH EDITION:|
A successful ABSA Cape Epic is now officially under our belt! What an event for the Anna Foundation to be a part of: what hype and excitement for our Ashton and Elgin children! We have had an incredible amount of feedback and interest coming our way because of the ABSA Cape Epic and we are extremely grateful for the platform this event created for us as an NGO. Here’s to hoping there will be more years of the Epic for the Anna Foundation!
We continue to grow our reach in the Breede Valley region with Riverside Primary school rejoining the project again this term. We are busy planning the start of a new youth programme at one of our Robertson projects, allowing approximately 40 new teenage beneficiaries to join our programmes and gain valuable tutoring and homework support. The Department of Social Development is now financially supporting our Breede Valley projects which will add to the growth and depth of these programmes. We are so pleased to be able to offer our services to these really needed areas and communities. We have seen excellent improvements with the children and the facilitators from these regions and we are honoured to be able to make a difference where it really is needed.
3 R's Programme: Reading, Running, Right-ing
READING: Literacy and Numeracy
Soccer Maths: Who knew maths could be so fun?! Soccer Maths is aimed at all children learning times tables and has become the highlight of the education hour at every one of our projects. The facilitator gives the children one multiple per afternoon which needs to be studied at home before a ‘play-off’. Two children play at a time, one against one with the facilitator calling out a multiplication sum. If they get the answer right, they move their soccer ball forwards on the blackboard ‘field’. If a child shouts out or gets the answer wrong, their opponent gets a point. The aim is to move the ‘ball’ one move at a time, towards the goal. The child scoring the most points is the overall winner and receives a small prize, which serves as a huge incentive! We haven’t seen anything quite like it – children are studying for their next match! They want to win or were so close, and feel they have to defend their title! Our facilitators are impressed at how well it is working and children's parents have been blown away, thanking the facilitators for their hard work. The game can be tweaked to practice any area of maths and will therefore continue to be played as the highlight of the educational hour.
Worksheets: This month’s literacy/numeracy worksheets explore “My World”. We start off by looking at different cultures, both close to home and in other countries. One of the practical lessons involves making lanterns whilst learning about the Chinese New Year. Older learners choose a country, find it on the map, learn about the currency, the culture, cuisine and think about the reasons behind their desire to visit the country. We find that the children generally have a poor idea of distance (and the meaning of the word “overseas”) but find the work very interesting, nonetheless. We take a look at different religions and learn to respect and accept those who don’t believe the same things as us, don’t look like us or dress the same as us, without being prejudice. The children learn that diversity is something we need to embrace and what it means to be called a “Rainbow Nation”. Human Rights day leads to us taking a closer look at our rights as South African citizens, as well as our responsibilities.
RUNNING: Sports Programme
During the fitness challenge we have seen children who started, not being able to complete one sit-up and are now being able to complete a few crunches. The same can be said for the push-ups. This is the aim, as core strength is required for constructive time in the classroom and will only the benefit the children in the long run. Talking of runs, the shuttle run has proved positively competitive and children give their all when they sprint against one another. Fun and active games are interspersed in the sports lesson with ‘Bok in die Hok’ (dodge ball) being a tremendous amount of fun as the restricted area makes dodging the ball all the more difficult. Another favourite is 'Sharks and Fish' which involves loads of running, chasing and squeals as a result of being caught!
RIGHT-ING: Life Skills through Drama
The life skills lessons focus on conflict management this month, both in the Grade R- 3 group and Grade 4 – 12’s. The games have been designed to practice active listening skills and creative problem solving skills. One example of such a game is what we call “the two headed monster”. We have seen a lovely example of a facilitator cleverly using this to solve a dispute between two learners outside of the classroom, just before the drama lesson. In the game the children must connect themselves to each other with specific body parts, called out by the facilitator (for example, elbow and knee), creating a two headed monster. They now had to move like this, from one area to the next in a race with the other two-headed monsters in the class. The facilitator reports that by the end of the game all grievances were forgotten.
Fortifying our Facilitators
Training: Renee Lighton and Dr Shelley O’Carroll from Wordworks, were welcomed back at our most recent training session. The group was split up: Grade R – 3 facilitators would focus on early literacy, while the Grade 4 – 12 facilitators would tackle maths with Renee.
Shelley O’Carroll from Wordworks focussed on helping beginner readers with learning the beginning sounds to words, and the adding of letters together to make a word. Facilitators were shown a variety of fun ways in which this can be practiced, including memory games and matching pictures to letters. All the games were played by the facilitators themselves, in order for them to understand how each activity works and to be made aware of how the child will benefit. All games, as well as a CD with visual instructions of all that was covered in the session, were given to each facilitator for reference once back in the classroom.
Much enjoyment was had with Renee Lighton’s novel maths ideas. Facilitators were required to hop next to the lids of yoghurt containers whilst reciting multiples of 6. They also played maths bingo using egg boxes – fun games to practice times tables, all of which can be tweaked to focus on a number of maths problem areas. Renee uses every day ‘rubbish’ as an aid (or prop) in her teaching and facilitators were required to come up with their own ideas as well, which were shared with the group. Word sums were tackled with Pick ‘n’ Pay advertising pages and the fear of story sums, which even the facilitators often feel, was nipped in the bud and overcome through Renee’s easy explanations. Through positive reinforcement, Renee enabled our facilitators to see that they are capable of helping their learners in a phenomenal way through what they have proved they already know, and from what they have learned. A new self-confidence will be taken into the after-schools from these valuable training workshops.
Presentations: This year we started introducing a new format at our monthly training sessions. Each month, our facilitators get the opportunity to present a lesson from the 3 R’s “Reading, Running, Right-ing” curriculum for the upcoming month, to their fellow facilitators. They need to take the initiative and write their name down for a specific training date during the year and can choose whether they would like to present an academic lesson, a sports lesson or a drama lesson. They get 10 minutes to present a lesson for the new month and must decide on ‘how’ and ‘what’ they will present to the rest of the facilitators. Presentations are assessed by the core Anna Foundation staff according to a set criterion so that all facilitators are fairly evaluated. Areas on which they are marked include lesson introduction, relevance of the information presented in relation to the topic, preparation, how the lesson is received by the ‘audience’ and how well it is understood. A huge motivation is the prize giving which will take place at our final training session for the year. The facilitators who score the highest points stand a chance to win a bar fridge, a radio or a kettle – sought after and useful items - and this serves as a tremendous incentive for our men and women to grow in their role as facilitators, challenging themselves and learning from one another.
Absa Cape Epic 2014: What an Experience
After months of planning, 23 March marked the start of the Absa Cape Epic 2014 for which we were one of the Associate Charity Partners. This extreme MTB stage race which leads riders through the mountainous terrain of the Western Cape, has been ranked the ‘Tour de France’ of mountain biking, attracting professional and amateur riders from all over the world. Our involvement during the event included an “activation station” at our gazebo with information and photos on display as well as a Team Bulls cycling jersey, autographed by the entire German team for which we were selling raffle tickets. Our stand was manned by myself (Carolyn) and with the help of Zadie Isaacs, who has been part of our scholarship programme and completed her schooling last year.
The Prologue kicked off on Sunday, 23 March at Meerendal Wines, Durbanville. The magnitude of the event was evident: international camera crews, photographers and helicopters, all broadcasting live feeds to various TV stations all over the world! From Meerendal, the entire stage moved to the Breede River and cyclists were taken by bus to one of our very own farms in Robertson: Arabella Wines. They played host venue to all 1200 riders, plus media, crew and volunteers. Their fields were the accommodation site of endless rows of little red tents in which Zadie and I would spend the next two nights.
Early on Monday morning, I meet up with our two facilitators from the Arabella after-school, at the starting line. They had with them a group of very excited Anna Foundation children from Arabella farm who were wearing our unique, supporter’s cycling helmets which had the names and flags of some the top riders competing in the Absa Cape Epic displayed. The media had a field day, taking endless photos of the children before the riders set off. Our learners were so fascinated with all the action and after cheering the first few groups of riders off, we set them off for school. The children returned a few hours later to cheer the riders back home, over the finish line, just as enthusiastic as before (we had received special permission from the principal for this).
We woke to a very rainy Tuesday and flooded tents. Due to poor cell phone reception, the message to ‘not bring the children in the rain’ never went through and they came to the starting line anyway, dressed in raincoats, big smiles and ready to encourage the riders. They again received a lot of attention not only from the media but also from the other spectators. After the electric atmosphere of seeing a few groups of riders off, it was time to get out of the rain and off to school. On Tuesday afternoon the Anna Foundation played host to a group of media and journalists who were picked up in the Anna Foundation minibus from the Media Centre for a site visit of the after-school for the children of Arabella and Excelsior Wines. Among the group were the Executive Producer of SuperSport, Scott Seward, as well as the crew from Big Shot Media.* The 3 R’s programme continued as though no one were filming and we were very proud of both the children and facilitators who clearly impressed the media crews with the sports and maths which was taking place that day.
The Absa Cape Epic route took riders from Arabella to Greyton and then to Elgin. After a few days back at the office we ‘set up camp’ in Elgin on the Saturday. Being based in neighbouring Grabouw, it was Monteith Farm’s turn to visit the Race Village. Escorted by facilitator Valencia, the children (also wearing helmets!) lined up near the end of the finish line, which also happened to be directly across from the media. In addition to seeing the top finishers they also witnessed the award ceremony as the first 3 men’s teams took to the podium. Imagine our delight when we managed to pose with four-time Epic winner, Christoph Sauser and his team mate Frantisek Rabon (who finished the event in 2nd place overall!).
Sunday, 30 March marked the Grande Finale where the riders would finish the race at Lourensford Wine Estate - a huge affair with thousands of visitors roaming the Race Village. After a week of selling raffle tickets for the Team Bulls jersey at our stand, I managed to find the Bulls who had finished a few hours earlier (one of their teams taking 3rd place!). The raffle draw was done by three-time Absa Cape Epic winner, Stefan Sahm with the winner of the raffle being Robert de Voux from Goodwood.
While waiting near the finish line, I had goose bumps upon seeing our two Anna Foundation riders who had just completed the race and stood among the traffic jam of riders who were waiting in a long queue to receive their medals. Huge congratulations to Andre du Plessis (Bloemfontein) and Wynand van der Berg (Johannesburg) who did us proud and looked fantastic wearing our kit.
Liquifruit Vineyard Races: These running and MTB races coincide with the final leg Absa Cape Epic and took place at Lourensford before the main riders come in for the Cape Epic. We had entered 20 children into the 6km trail run and although beautiful, the route was also quite tough. Mogammat from Stellenzicht was our first Anna Foundation runner to cross the finish line and finished 24th overall.
As one of the Associate Charity Partners for this year’s event, the Anna Foundation was proud to play a part, not only in the Race Villages but also by exposing our farm children to the sport of mountain biking – definitely not something they see every day! How exciting and wonderful for the children, as well the Anna Foundation as a whole, to be part of such a spectacular and high-profile event!
Thank you, Team Bulls! Team Bulls have had a number of Absa Cape Epic wins in previous years and we were proud to be associated with this top, down-to-earth team. The support which we received from them was most appreciated - not only through the donation of their cycling jersey, but through social media as well throughout the race, as they helped to get the word out about our raffle!
*The Anna Foundation featured on SuperSport during their live coverage of the Grand Finale on 30 March with footage taken at the after-school. We have also been notified of a ‘continuity documentary’ (also footage from Robertson) which is currently being broadcast on DSTV.
Fun in the Sun Day with Somerset College
As the chosen recipient of the Somerset College Pre-Primary 2014 outreach programme, teachers and children from Somerset College invited the Grade R and 1 children from the Anna Foundation to join them for their “Fun in the Sun Day” held at the school in Somerset West on 1 March. Words can’t express the level of excitement which the children were feeling on the journey to the school, all one could hear were mentions of ‘water’ and ‘fun’. For those learners who have a swimming costume, simply having the opportunity to get to wear it was enough to get the little hearts beating faster.
From the time we arrived, the children started planning as to which activity they wanted to go to first and an overwhelming sense of excitement (and perhaps a few nerves), left the children uncharacteristically quiet! But of course, that was not to last. Our learners were made to feel at home and joined the other young children from the school, copying the moves of Dance Mouse, on the water slides, jumping castle, and having their faces painted. The children were treated to boerewors rolls and a juice, which were followed by ice lollies – they were truly spoilt! It was wonderful to see the interaction of the Anna Foundation children with the Somerset College learners and the children played tag together on the field and helped one another through the obstacle course. This was a very special day for our farm children and we are sure that the memories of the day in the sun will remain for a long time.
Thank you to all the teachers involved in the planning and for making the Anna Foundation children feel so loved and appreciated.
- Shoebox: Money towards Afrikaans readers
- 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
- van der Merwe Family: Financial support for school tuition
- 1%Club Members: Your monthly support helps a great deal
- Somerset College Grade R's: Generous contribution
- Wines with Heart: On-going financial support
- Lizanne Braak: Generous donation
- Holmelea, Barrydale and Nola: Monthly contributions are so appreciated
- SAFM: Air time
- Local Newspapers: Bolander, District Mail
- Stellenbosch Info.net: Support
- MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet and all our 'card swipers'
- Renee Lighton: CTICC -'sharing your stand'