While I always feel young at heart, I’m beginning to see the world from a slightly different angle. Yes, I know I’m not old yet, but sometimes it’s refreshing to get a little bit of perspective when you take a step back. I did just this on Tuesday.
I’ve always been the overachieving type, who goes to the first day of high school and signs up for absolutely every club (society) possible, thinking this will be of benefit one day when I have to apply for college, and to help me to discern what I actually enjoy doing and want to continue as a career potentially. Well here I am now, ten years later, meeting the next generation of me. Just much more grounded and confident in the direction their lives are going to go.
CHOSA had the pleasure of hosting four grade 11 high school students to come and volunteer for the day to learn a little bit more about what CHOSA does. Now, if any of you know CHOSA, you may know that this isn’t the simplest of explanations, as CHOSA carries out many different roles, ranging from a funding organisation, to also a capacity building organisation, and doing everything in between to grow current grassroots organisations that are improving the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children. So after a brief introduction to CHOSA at our main offices, we were off to the field to go and spend the day at Blessings, one of preschools (creches) that CHOSA supports.
Upon arrival, I introduced these young women to the principal of the school, who then gave them a tour around the various container classrooms on the property. Immediately afterwards, the young women divided themselves into classrooms that they felt they would be able to provide most support for, and each jumped right into the routine that was being followed for the day. There was no fear of any language divide, overwhelm by the number of kids in the classroom, or wanting to be with their other friends. As I popped my head into the various classrooms to provide them support if needed, I quickly realised they were already in their element: singing songs, reading stories, and carrying out math lessons. The children at Blessings absolutely loved them, and had a great day getting to share each other’s company.
Reflecting on the day with these ladies, I learned that they had aspirations ranging from becoming a paediatrician to heading into a career in finance. They didn’t need to come spend their day volunteering with CHOSA, but they wanted to. Seeing their compassion for children they had just met that morning, and eagerness to get involved, shows me there is hope for the future. If these young ladies are any example of the next generation of youth coming through the schooling system, then I believe there is lots of hope for South Africa’s dynamic development and growth. And I’m inspired to have individuals such as them continue to come to CHOSA and actively engage with our communities to work towards positive change.
If you are interested in getting involved with CHOSA, please reach out to us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to have you!
Two weeks back CHOSA staff had the opportunity to attend an amazing conference about early childhood education sponsored by UNICEF, the Centre for Early Childhood Education, and PRAESA. It was a great opportunity for our project coordinators to learn more specific approaches to early childhood development (ECD) that could be passed on to all of CHOSA’s partner organisations that run crèches (preschools) or work with young children. This conference also gave CHOSA a chance to network with other individuals, organisations, academics, and policy makers who work also work to educate and develop the children of South Africa.
The conference was structured in a way that there were both speakers addressing the entire assembly of attendees, as well as breakout group sessions that brought attendees into more of a classroom like sessions. In the smaller sessions attendees where taught about approaches to incorporate lessons of maths, science, writing, and reading in fun and simple ways, evolving from the play children are already taking part in throughout their daily crèche routine.
But what was most fun about this ECD conference was the interactive nature of the smaller group sessions. These sessions took me back to my days of crèche and play, and allowed me to engage with the materials and lessons that they were teaching us about, through teaching us as though we were the crèche students. We were taken through a session about story telling, where we were read “The Three Billy Goats Gruff”. We sat on the floor and listened as the teacher read. Then we were told to create what the monster’s house looked like through use of fabrics and clay and all kinds of other fun materials, creating a grand masterpiece that incorporated tables and chairs into the design (almost lifesize!). During our time of monster house construction, a hand written note from the monster himself was delivered! I was immediately transported back in time to this kind of carefree nature of learning, and absolutely loved allowing my imagination to freely flow and enjoyed re-enacting my learning in this kind of environment again. I can only imagine how much a child might enjoy a lesson taught to them in this manner, as I, an adult, was having a blast!
Beyond time traveling back to my childhood, I think the biggest take away that the CHOSA team received from attending this ECD conference was discovering the simple additions that could be made to lesson plans in order to further a child’s knowledge around subjects that will be imperative to their success later on in their educational career. And, most importantly, these additions intentionally were developed with no extra cost component, identifying that one doesn’t need to spend money on expensive resources or materials in order for children to learn. Rather all of the suggestions provided throughout the conference could be implemented at little to no expense, rather only requiring an application of creativity. The teachers of the conference sessions were self-proclaimed “trash queens” who salvage most household resources, such as toilet paper rolls, empty water bottles, and popsicle sticks to add to their learning in their classrooms. The simple act of filling a bucket with water, and placing cut water bottles inside, allowing the children to play with the water and these containers teaches crèche children about volume. It’s that simple! And the children don’t have to understand the greater specificity behind such concepts, but just that they hear such words being referenced gives them a solid foundation to take with them into their more formal education once they reach primary school.
These are the types of tricks that are so applicable to each of our partner organisations that work with young children, as there is no cost associated with giving them the knowledge that they need for future success in school. And it’s fun! We at CHOSA have already begun to transfer what we learned at this valuable conference with the principals, teachers, and caregivers that work in our partner organisations, and we cannot wait to see the smiles on the children’s faces when they too get to read “The Three Billy Goats Gruff,” create monster homes, and receive letters from the monster himself!
Our first networking event of 2017 happened this past Saturday. As my first networking event, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Not only was I attending for the first time, I was also the keynote speaker! But if anything, what I have learned from working with grassroots organisations is that rising to the occasion is half the fun of the work, along with never knowing what is to come around the next corner. As the focus for this event was around fundraising, it simply made sense that I would share my knowledge of fundraising with our partner organisations. One of CHOSA’s core focuses is building ownership into the process of development, and thus also fostering self-sustainability. For this reason fundraising is a key area in which our partners need to understand and implement, in order to gain access to more funding that can further their work to improve the lives of orphaned and vulnerable children.
In the process of settling into my role as fundraising coordinator at CHOSA, I have had to identify for myself the best practice approaches to fundraising that I would be organising my strategy around. And while fundraising can be a monster of a task at times, as not many people enjoy asking others for money, I have come to learn that it’s more about relationship building than anything else. This is truly what best practice fundraising is centred around.
Within fundraising then, relationship building is easiest when incorporated with sharing passions. This networking event had brought together women from six different organisations who shared in the common goals of educating, loving, and protecting the lives of the orphaned and vulnerable children in their communities. While their work varied from teaching, to caregiving, and principle to staff, the one area that I identified that all of these women had was passion for their work. In fact, most of them wouldn’t even consider their work to be work at all. Rather, love in action. And this is where the basis of their fundraising must come from. As they continue to work hard to maintain their daily operations, and seek out funding and support from both their communities, and external sources, I passed this message along to them: their fundraising should come from the heart.
Of course, I also felt it necessary to give them a general step-by-step process of how to fundraise, which aims to streamline and guide their approach with a specific strategy and goal. But I hope that the greatest take away that they received from this networking event is that they already possess the skills to be talented fundraisers. It’s innate to who they are as individuals, as many of them are the founders of such initiatives that work tirelessly for these children, and that passion is what fuels them being able to operate in the first place. While funds are necessary, and that is where YOU come in, these women have done a great job to get the ball rolling, identifying a need in their communities and making change happen. Passion fuels fundraising, and after attending my first CHOSA networking event I have come to recognise that these women are already well equipped.
If you’re able to support the passion and initiative of these women, CHOSA would love your support. Please go to www.chosa.org/donate to make a donation today!
As I continue to acclimate myself to the the work of CHOSA, learning as I go on visits to our 8 different partners about the projects which they run, I cannot help but have a smile on my face when I meet the amazing women who run and work in these organisations. Each of them have the kindest hearts, warmest hugs, and infinite drive to provide for the orphaned and vulnerable children in their communities.
Yesterday, we took the visiting supervisors of our current CHOSA volunteers around to a few of the partners that CHOSA supports, stopping in at Blessings Educare Centre, Philani Nutrition Centre, and Abaphumeleli Home of Safety. Upon each arrival the team was immediately greeted by friendly waves, hugs, and extended hands that led to guided tours of the crèche (preschool) or children’s home. There we no tears or sad faces, just smiles and joyful giggles. The love for these children is evident, as the Mamas (caregivers) of the children are caught constantly singing songs and giving praise and support to the little ones.
It was very fitting to be able to have these visits scheduled on International Women’s Day. Most of the women working I’m sure had limited knowledge that this event was even occurring today, as South Africa has it’s own public holiday to celebrate women on August 9th, and they all had their hands full teaching a classroom full of kids, overseeing boys playing soccer in the street, and changing nappies (diapers). So to them it was just a regular day in the life. But for me, I put a special lens on these partner visits. Rather than focusing on the kids, as we often do, I took a special look at the Mamas, and was blown away by the passion and love that exudes from them.
Interestingly enough, this is exactly the kind of research that the volunteers who are working with CHOSA are conducting. Their research seeks to understand the Mamas role, as both a caregiver for a career, and often times a mother at home. How are they able to process and balance these roles, while coping with the stresses of having to care for 30 as opposed to 3 children on a daily basis? CHOSA is excited to support such research and cannot wait to hear about their findings.
As we went from a Grade R (Kindergarten) classroom at Blessings to a baby room, I overheard the teacher say to her children how proud they had made her, as they successfully answered questions about the materials they had been learning in the class. Joyfully shouting their shapes and colours all in English, I was blown away by these children’s knowledge! Most children from Xhosa homes don’t begin speaking English until their school work transitions to being taught in English in Grade 4, so these kids are way ahead of the curve! Mamas like this, who teach from their heart, and define success through the children that they teach, are just a small glimpse into the power of women within the local communities, putting the children before themselves to give them a future that they deserve.
It is these women who inspire CHOSA staff members to continually work to fundraise and provide capacity building to their organisations, because of their deep rooted dedication to sharing a home, protection, and love to children in need. Thank you Mamas for all that you do!
Greetings from South Africa! After a brief hiatus of posting, we are back to keep you updated about what is happening in the field with CHOSA. As February has already come and gone, CHOSA is now in full swing for 2017, working with our 8 partner organisations in and around the Cape Flats. All of the children that CHOSA works with seem to be doing well and growing so big! We at CHOSA are also excited to announce that we now have an additional member on our South African team, Adele, who will be bringing a stronger focus towards fundraising within South Africa.
We have two new volunteers working with CHOSA from Holland. CHOSA is very excited to welcome Liza and Shannon to the team and looks forward to learning from the research they will be conducting with our partner organisations. This week we have taken them around to all of our partners in Khayelitsha, where they will be focusing their work, and they seem thrilled to get started!
As an exciting pit stop, we were able to go to the 18 Gangster Museum with the volunteers between visits to CHOSA’s partner crèches (pre-schools) and children’s homes. This museum is housed in a pop-up shipping container, and details the crisis of gangsterism in South Africa. Providing education to foreigners and locals alike, the 18 Gangster Museum highlights how important it is to provide support and positive opportunities for children growing up in South Africa in order to keep them on a healthy trajectory that will guide them towards long-term success and a life free of gang involvement. As CHOSA works in communities plagued with unemployment, addiction, poverty, violence, and HIV/AIDS, this visit brought home the importance of the work that CHOSA’s partner organisations do in order to keep the children that they care for safe, healthy, and loved. The role that CHOSA partner organisations play could make all the difference in keeping children off of the street, and away from gang involvement. While the realities of South Africa can at times be hard to swallow, as was this visit to the 18 Gangster Museum, it reminds us at CHOSA of why we do what we do, and why it is so important to continue to fund our partner organisations. Learning of the humbling facts about the correlation between youth and gang involvement further guides CHOSA to seek to support more community-driven projects that aim to improve the lives of youth within their communities. Thanks again for letting us come visit and learn so much 18 Gangster Museum!
In the coming weeks we will be supporting Liza and Shannon with their research at a few of our partner organisations and continuing with various capacity building activities with our partners. CHOSA will also be ramping up our social media presence, so look out for interesting reads and posts to share! Keep a look out on our news page and social media for more blog posts providing updates from the field about CHOSA’s work.
CHOSA (Children of South Africa) is calling for applications for the position of Fundraising/Project Coordinator. She/he will split time between the Cape Town office and various townships to further CHOSA’s mission, which is to identify and support communities and community-based organisations (CBOs) that reach out and take care of orphans and other vulnerable children in South Africa.
Currently, most of CHOSA’s fundraising occurs in the US. With this position, CHOSA is widening its reach within South Africa to fundraise and network in and around Cape Town. For this reason, the successful applicant must be an innovative self-starter with a track record of successful fundraising and/or networking strategies. She/he must also be able to build rapport and humbly interact with marginalized communities, as this role will be complemented with direct work providing capacity-building and other support services to our partners. For more details, see “Full List of Responsibilities” below.
More about CHOSA: CHOSA, established in 2005, takes a holistic and non-directive approach to community development. CHOSA’s goal is to facilitate the empowerment of marginalised people as they seek to serve the orphaned and vulnerable children in their communities. Through community participation and ownership of the development process, CHOSA promotes local action, self-empowerment, and peer-to-peer networking as essential strategies for community-driven development. Visit www.chosa.org for more.
To apply, submit the following:
Send all of the above to email@example.com. Incomplete applications will not be considered. The application deadline is the 2nd of December 2016.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Candidates who have received no response within two weeks of the closing date should assume their application was unsuccessful.
Full List of Responsibilities
(Note: Responsibilities 1-2 will constitute 24 hours, i.e. 3 working days per week. Responsibilities 3-7 will constitute 16 hours, i.e. 2 working days per week. All responsibilities will add up to 40 hours per week.)
Greetings from everyone at CHOSA! It has been a busy few months for our partner projects, and we wanted to share a few highlights through photos.
The teachers at QQ community crèche have been working tirelessly to make improvements to the preschool building. They recently held a community fundraiser which raised R1,600 ($160) and CHOSA matched that amount, in addition to the monthly grant we provide. This recent fundraiser is evidence of how deeply invested the QQ Section community is in their children’s welfare. With the help of these funds, the preschool has installed new wood laminate flooring, colorful new curtains, and a full sink with running water (a first for the preschool). They have also invested in Early Childhood Development training and manuals for the teachers. As a result, the children are thriving, bringing joy and hope to their families.
Last month, CHOSA staff facilitated one of our quarterly networking events. The topic of the workshop, Leadership and Governance, was chosen by our partner projects. With the help of a guest speaker, the projects were able to share best practices with one another around effective leadership and relating to staff (teachers, caregivers, etc.) Participants came away with an important lesson: that any organization thrives on mutual respect and genuine two-way communication. A new community preschool joined us, and are so eager to learn more through CHOSA’s quarterly events that they offered to serve as host of the next one!
Welcome to our annual online fundraiser! The raffle and auction take place from Monday, July 18th to Friday, July 29th (at midnight PST). Every dollar we raise makes a difference in the lives of the orphaned and vulnerable children we serve through our community-driven educational programs and residential care. (New to CHOSA? Click here to learn more about our vision and work.) There are two ways to participate in the raffle:
1) Buy a raffle ticket: Every $10 donation gives you a chance to win, and you can purchase as many as you’d like to increase your chances. A dozen winning tickets will be drawn throughout the raffle. Click here and use the donate button to purchase a ticket. Here’s a look at a few of the beautiful prizes you could win, hand-crafted in Cape Town:
2) Bid on an item! Click here to visit our auction site.
At the site, you can place your bid on the gorgeous items you see below – and more! Each unique piece of art was made by mothers in Cape Town who participate in an income-generation program at Philani, one of CHOSA’s partners.
Thank you for your support! Please share this page with your networks – together we can make a big difference for the Children of South Africa.
Every year on June 16th, South Africa marks Youth Day. This day is set apart to celebrate the legacy of youth activism in South Africa, and to recognize today’s youth who shape the future of the nation. The day is rooted in the events of June 16th, 1976, when thousands of students in Soweto, Johannesburg organized a march against oppressive language policies in their schools. Students were being forced to learn in Afrikaans rather than in their native languages, a policy which reinforced the government’s domination over the Black majority while hindering Black students’ ability to critically analyze what they were being taught.
The peaceful protest was met with violent suppression. Police opened fire on the marching schoolchildren; 176 were killed and over a thousand were wounded. The tragedy became known as “The Day Apartheid Died,” because it awakened much of the globe’s conscience to the gruesome truth of apartheid South Africa. A powerful radio documentary of the same name can be heard here.
Today, Youth Day is celebrated not only to keep the memory of those children alive, but to recognize the great power and potential of today’s South African youth. It is this potential that drives our work in Cape Town. CHOSA believes that every child is entitled to grow up in a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment, and we work tirelessly with our community partners to provide the care these children need. To make a donation today in honor of the youth we serve, please visit www.chosa.org/donate. Also, be on the lookout for a post about our upcoming Online Art Raffle next month. We hope you’ll participate!
Thank you for your continued support.
Today, we feel it’s important to inform each of you about two losses impacting our CHOSA family in Cape Town.
We are devastated to share that over the weekend, Mama Zelphina Maposela, the founder and matriarch of Emasithandane Children’s Home, passed away. Mama Maposela began her work in the Nyanga community as a Community Health Worker. However, during the 90s, during the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Mama became involved in helping find alternative homes for the children who were being orphaned by the virus. Eventually, she started taking in many of these children, both from within her own family and from the local community. As she began fostering children, the project grew quickly and soon became the boisterous home – bursting at the seams – that it is today. Emasi is a completely grassroots-run initiative that has received support from CHOSA in various forms over the years.
Former CHOSA staff member Rob remembers Mama Maposela as “a quiet force at Emasi, seeming to effortlessly run the organization from her chair in the back room; the children will forever remember a woman who welcomed them into her home with open arms and provided a safe and loving place to grow up. While never seeking the limelight nor recognition she unquestionably deserved, Mama Maposela relentlessly put the needs of her children first.”
Also, just a few days ago, the QQ Section community suffered a tragic loss. One of QQ Section Crèche (Preschool)’s most beloved teachers, committee members, and former principals, Ms Sisana Booi, lost her son, Thando, in a car crash on Monday. Thando was just embarking on young adulthood, and the family has played an important role in community life in QQ. Years ago, CHOSA co-founder Jared was invited to stay in the community for two weeks, and he was housed by the Booi family, so he got to know Thando well. Jared remembers him as “a friendly, good natured young man who often came by the crèche to help his mother out.”
To respond to these two significant losses, current and former staff and board members of CHOSA have decided to personally raise funds toward funeral expenses for both Mama Maposela and Thando Booi. Mama Maposela’s funeral will take place in Nyanga on May 18th, and in her hometown in Eastern Cape on the 21st. Half of any funds raised from this post will go towards funeral expenses, and transportation for the children in her care to attend both services. The other half will go toward laying Thando to rest in QQ Section.
Those wishing to make a contribution to these expenses can send any amount to Jared’s personal PayPal account at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can email email@example.com to make other arrangements, or to receive bank details for those based in South Africa.
Thank you for joining with our Cape Town community in grieving these losses.