The work that we do in the community of Masiphumelele would not be possible without the time and commitment given by our amazing team of volunteers. As a thank you for their efforts this year we recently hosted a small end of year celebration at Sacred Mountain Lodge in Nordhoek. With the academic year now over for 2015 this was a chance to relax and reflect on the achievements made in a difficult year for Masiphumelele.
Here a few pictures of the team winding down for the year.
Particular thanks go to Fran Loudon – seen here (second from the end) with her colleagues at Ukhanyo School…..
and here (centre) with the graduates at the recent life skills graduation.
Fran was instrumental in establishing the science lab project at Ukhanyo School, which has improved the way science is taught at the school. It also forms the blueprint for our ongoing Learning Lab projects that particularly focus on English and Maths. After three years hard work Fran will be leaving the team to spend more time overseas with her family. We cannot thank her enough for all of the time she has given to Masicorp and the primary school over the past three years.
The Masicorp Annual General Meeting was held in the language lab at Ukhanyo School in Masiphumelele on 10th December 2015. Our thanks to everyone that was able to attend and contributed to a successful meeting. For those unable to attend the meeting you will be able to catch up on the progress made in all of our project areas in our new look Annual Report, which as available from our office in hard copy or as a PDF download from our website HERE.
The following slides were presented at the meeting.
Last Saturday was a big day for Wendy Ryan, the manager of the Evangeline Ministries / Masicorp life skills program. Wendy was back in her native USA at the invitation of Dr Tony Compolo from Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. Earlier this year Tony has asked her to be the commencement speaker at this graduation ceremony. However, there was more to come, as Wendy was then informed she had been recommended to receive an honorary doctorate in recognition of her work with poor communities in South Africa.
Wendy has described the news as “the second biggest shock of my life”. A statement she qualified by explaining the biggest shock was that she came to South Africa in the first place. Wendy has a long association with Eastern University having worked with Tony Compolo in the United States for over 10 years, and was a board member of the Compolo College of Graduate and Professional Studies until 2006. The college encourages the affluent to work with the poor worldwide and through her work with the college she found herself travelling to South Africa.
With her experience from Compolo College, Wendy was working as a journalist and began training people in writing and photographic skills. Her work was noticed by the editor of a Cape Town newspaper in 2005 and she was invited to work in the city. This was at a time when HIV/AIDS and its links to poverty were being recognized worldwide, yet in South Africa there was a lack of willingness to tackle the problem. Wendy was directed toward Living Hope on the Cape Peninsula, who had just opened a hospice for women suffering with HIV/AIDS. She was moved by the plight of the women she met, who were surviving daily on drugs, but without long term prospects.
Wendy was motivated to set up her life skills program that was initially established to provide literacy and skills training to HIV positive women in the Masiphumelele. In the years that followed the program has expanded to accept a range of students, both male and female, and also provides computer training and practical skills training in sewing and dressmaking. Masicorp are pleased to partner with Wendy to assist in delivering the program and would like to extend our congratulations to her on the award of her doctorate. We look forward to seeing her back in South Africa to toast her success and start work with the new intake of life skills students in January.
Twice a year we hold a graduation day for students that attend the the Evangeline Ministries life skills programme. Regular blog readers will recall our report in July from the first of 2015’s graduates. The course, which is part funded by Masicorp, has three components to it – computer training, English literacy and sewing skills. It is a course requirement that graduates wear the outfits they have made to the graduation day. The day therefore turns into a fashion show – so we thought it appropriate to provide a photo blog to highlight some of the designs on show.
Images courtesy of Louise de Waal from Green Girls in Africa
Every graduate receives their own sewing machine.
Congratulations to the class of 2015.