2016 – A Great Year at the Maths Lab

project1The Maths lab at Ukhanyo School continues to produce extremely encouraging results. Following on from the practices developed last year, each day starts with a “morning dance”, and then learners work for 10 minutes on revision sheets that cover concepts taught over the course of the entire year, thus giving the children daily reminders of Maths skills.

The biggest challenge was to convince teachers to swap lengthy lectures for student drills, games, and practice activities. Hence, we established a weekly faculty meeting to discuss how students learn best and what activities produce the desired results.

Over the year, we watched the teachers adopt the new ideas about  Maths instruction – especially when they saw the effects that these “new strategies” had on the learners, the improvement of classroom management, (students no longer bored) and the impressive test scores – just look at this improvement:

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Masicorp will be showcasing the Maths Lab at the Horses for Causes race day at Kenilworth Racecourse on Feb 11th. Entry is free so why not co e along for some racing and support ourselves and the other NGO’s participating on the day. Further details are available here:

Free Computer Training at Masiphumelele Library

At the end of last year we reported on the success of the graduates of the advanced computer literacy class held at Masiphumelele library. This is a programme that we were able to offer thanks to an overseas donation from a personal donor in the United States. We are pleased to report that funds have been received to continue the programme in 2017.

Over 7500 people-hours of tuition were given in 2016. Basic classes, are taught by Nyameko Nzuzo 3 mornings each week and cater mainly for young adults from the community. Classes last for 2.5 hours, one person per computer. Nyameko has been operating a unique ‘open class’ approach, working with students at all levels on creative projects which cover all commonly used skills and techniques of Microsoft Office Applications. The main focus is on Word Processing and effective use of the Internet.

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Advanced classes take place two afternoons per week, and are run by Nyasha Sithole. This “certificated “course which is more formalised and challenging has gained a good reputation in the community as attendance has increased by almost 10%.

Students from both classes report better work opportunities after training with staff at the library. Many are now employed and utilising the skills they gained on the programme.

Children‘s classes are offered by Nyameko Nzuzo twice a week, and he has trained a group of youngsters in basic computer skills. The most dedicated students also received certificates at the graduation.

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Free internet access, with support is also available and over 11 385 free Internet sessions (45 minutes) were received in 2016

When the computers are not being used for training, the library operates a free ‘internet cafe’ style facility where community members may use the computers to produce CV’s, access to information about employment and training opportunities, use email, work on their studies and generally participate in the digital age. There are trained staff permanently present to assist community members to make the most of their internet sessions.

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A Great Start to 2017 For Masi Educare

There was some great news to start the new year for Masi Educare, when the pre-school received its official registration certificate from the Department of Social Development (DSD). Here is school principal Lindi Hangana proudly showing off the formal document.

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Masi Educare now joins the Home of Love, Ikhaya Labantwana and Siyakhanya as early childhood development centres that have been formally registered with the DSD following Masicorp interventions.

If a facility takes care of more than six children (up to six years old) on behalf of their parents or caregivers during specific hours of the day or night, or for a temporary period, they can apply for the registration with the department of social development.

The process can take many months to complete and there is an extensive list of requirements that must be met. The final outcome is that each registered chreche can apply to receive government funding for each child. This funding is the key to the long term sustainability of the chreche and this week’s news is therefore a major boost to the long term operation of Masi Educare.

An Update From Masiphumelele Library

Congratulations are due to the graduates of the advanced computer literacy class held at Masiphumelele library. The library held a graduation day last week for all the members of the community that recently completed the Masicorp funded program. The graduates comprised two groups of the intermediate computer classes (one from the first intake and the other from the second intake) and the children’s computer class. The computer course has six modules: Internet and e-mails, file management, word processing, spread sheet, PowerPoint and use of databases. Students have to pass at least five modules to obtain a certificate.

1The mood around the room was celebratory with students overjoyed to get the certificates, but more importantly due to the fact that they felt empowered with very important skills. Our thanks to the expert teaching skills of Nyasha (right) from the library staff for leading the course.

Senior librarian Susan Alexander, was also present to thank everyone who had been part of the course and for making it a success. She also emphasised the importance of being computer literate, especially for those who are looking for jobs. She also used the opportunity to inform the graduates about other programmes which are run by the library – with several graduates showing immediate interest in some of these programs.

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2There was a huge range of ages among the graduates – even including one mother with her son. One of the graduating students, Nontobeko Mashiya summed up the day perfectly:

I am really grateful to be part of this computer course. I started the course without even knowing how to use a mouse but now I can use more applications comfortably”.

The end of the year at the library also marks an important milestone as Susan Alexander retires from her position as senior librarian. Susan has worked for the city in her capacity as a librarian for 21 years and played a key role in Masiphumelele library since its construction with help from Masicorp in 2003. She leaves us with these final words

susan-alexander-photo-from-www-reputationatters-co_-za_My time in Masiphumelele has been the best time of my working life. I have learnt so much, met many wonderful people and been able to share unforgettable moments in this community.

Ixesha endilichithe ndisebenza apha eMasiphumelele libe lelona limnandi kakhulu ebomini bam. Ndifunde lukhulu kwaye ndidene nabantu abalunge kakhulu. Andisoze ndili libale ithuba endilichithe nabo kule ndawo.

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On behalf of everyone at Masicorp Thank You Susan and we wish you a happy and relaxing retirement.

Life Skills Graduation – December 2016

Last weekend we celebrated the graduation of another cohort of adult learners on the Masicorp / Evangeline Ministries life skills course in Masiphumelele. It has been another successful six months, with 15 ladies – and one man – from the community upskilled in English and computing as well as learning practical sewing skills. The event was again excellently led by Wendy Ryan, with a inspirational speech from Masicorp director Carol Hanks.

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Carol praised the graduates with A.A. Milnes famous quote “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think,” – expertly delivered in isiXhosa.

Here are a selection of the wonderful creations on show – all pictures courtesy of Louise de Waal from Green Girls in Africa.

 

 

As usual every graduate was rewarded with their own sewing machine to take away and continue their creative work.

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Farewell to Doreen Zanyiwe

Last week we had the opportunity to sat farewell to Doreen Zanyiwe who formally retired from her role as the head of Ikhaya Labantwana Crèche in Masiphumelele. Masicorp has a long history with Doreen that goes back to 2001 when she first met up with John and Carol Thompson. At the time Doreen had given up her job in a hotel in Fish Hoek to run a small pre-school for a handful of children from her own one-room shack. She was part of a group of Masiphumelele women who wanted to change their lives and had written an article in The False Bay Echo asking for support for projects they wanted to set up.  The Thompsons went in to the township and met her and her group and set about helping them with their requests. Masicorp was eventually able to transform her shack into a spacious, well-lit, two story facility. The pre-school now employs eight people and looks after more than 80 children between the ages of 2 and 5.

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As Doreen said in her farewell speech “I asked John for a complete creche”.  Subsequently the Thompsons funded the building of a house for Doreen which then expanded to an adjoining creche which then expanded further with a second floor.  Doreen then undertook to complete her Matric, proceeded to gain her Level 5 ECD qualification and eventually to run one of the first pre-schools in Masiphumelele.

More recently Doreen has been studying for her Education Diploma which she has now completed. She decided last year that it was time to ‘retire’ to her home in the Eastern Cape, but it seems she will be continuing to teach! She has been offered a teaching position in a primary school near Butterworth.

never-give-upOne of the most inspiring moments at Doreen’s suprise farewell party was the choir who sang “Never ever ever give up!” This appears to be something of a motto for Doreen and reminds us of a poster that is on the wall in her office – a picture of a heron with a frog dangling from its mouth, hanging on for dear life!

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We are delighted to have worked with Doreen over the past 15 years and wish her well in her retirement. In the meantime Ikhaya Labantwana continues to provide an essential start in the education of many of the youngsters from the Masiphumelele community.

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Hiking with the Learners from Ukhanyo School

Masicorp has recently started working with Cape Town based Active Hearts to provide outdoor activities for the children at Ukhanyo Primary School. Active Hearts have a mission to involve and train children, from differing, disadvantaged areas across Cape Town, in various sports and activities not normally available to them.

This very much matches our awareness of the importance of physical education. As Active Hearts state on their own website:

The benefits of sport and activity are immense and far-reaching, giving confidence, teaching discipline, teamwork and a sense of security and belonging.   A ‘family;’ being part of something you can rely on; equipping the children to face the very real challenges in their lives with a renewed optimism.

Active Hearts have been providing monthly hikes for selected children from Ukhanyo School. School sports coach Nceba Jonas has brought groups of around 25 learners to meet with Active Hearts and together they have hiked through the local mountains and along the beautiful beach at Nordhoek. The day typically ends with a picnic on the beach. We are pleased to share some of the most recent photographs from this month’s hike.

This will be an on ongoing partnership, with the next event planned to take the learners over the mountain and into the slightly different environment of the Constantia Valley. Our thanks to the team at Active Hearts for enabling the Masiphumelele learners to experience the wonders of their local environment.

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