Melane is only 7 years old and is in Grade 1, and one of the top academic achievers in this year's school awards for English. Melane is part of our literacy programme with Wordworks (funded by The Learning Trust) that helps children learn and enjoy reading by sharing materials and making reading fun. When Melane started she was very shy because English is not her first language. With many kids struggling with English, we are doing our best to prepare our primary school learners for Grade 4 when teaching changes from their home language to English.
Melane kept on attending the Wordworks program and our homework support sessions to improve her English. Her tutors were very patient with her as she is one of the youngest but brightest kids in class. We are happy with the improvement that Melane and other children have shown, not only improving in English, but in Mathematics as well. We will continue to partner with Wordworks and other service providers to help us improve the quality of education in our communities, focussing on one child at a time.
Sign up and start donating today to help us reach one more child at a contribution of R250 per month to our After School Programme.
Click here for more information about WorkWorks
My name is Lungisa Sobhuwa from Crossroads.
I am 25 years old, and matriculated in 2008.
I took a gap year in 2009 and participated in a youth programme and from there I went on to work so that I could gain experience.
In 2013 I came to Beautiful Gate's Youth Resource Centre to look for opportunities. I participated in a 6 weeks Self Development and Computer Literacy held at Beautiful Gate and took another short programme which works closely with Beautiful Gate got a job to work in retail.
Now in 2016 I am a volunteer Tutor for a programme called Year Beyond. Year Beyond or YeBo is a partnership between the Western Cape Government and NGOs aimed at improving educational outcomes and encouraging a culture of volunteerism. I work at Bongolethu Primary School. This was all made possible by Beautiful Gate South Africa and I am grateful for the opportunities.
Visit their website to find out more information about the YearBeyond Programme.
Blossom Salman-Grade 11 learner from Vuyiseka High School
"I was born in Cape Town in 1999 and live with my family in Acacia Park in Lower Crossroads. My sister used to attend a youth club at Beautiful Gate and in 2015 I decided to find out more about what Beautiful Gate does. Because I love education I applied for the high school programme. Ever since I started attending the after school tutoring classes at Beautiful Gate it's been great, I can now also help other learners at school. Because of the challenges within the community and at school I overcome them through praying and writing poetry. I see myself with a degree in performing arts and media. There is so much I want to achieve and I am focused."
Ziyanda, a Grade 6 learner, lives in Lower Crossroads with her parents and older sister, When she joined Beautiful Gate's After school education support programme in June 2015, she was struggling a lot and was so shy, lacking confidence in herself.
After a few weeks in the programme, her academics started improving, but she still lacked confidence. It was then that our tutors decided to initiate some one-on-one sessions with her, encouraging her that she could do better.
Over the past few months she has started gaining confidence and now she is one of our best learners who participates willingly and helps others in the class.
Linathi (10) and Abongile (12) are orphans. Both their father and their mother have passed away. Although they were taken in by their maternal grandmother, she did not care for her grandchildren properly. She was receiving their child support grants every month, but the children were often hungry and didn't always go to school. She was misusing their money for her own needs.
Their other granny, Ntombizodwa, was worried about her grandchildren. She took them home to live with her. The problem was that the maternal grandmother wouldn't cancel the grant and Ntombizodwa was struggling to provide for them on her own. In August 2013, she went to the SASSA office to explain the situation and to make an application. But every time she went to the office to follow up, officials promised her that they were trying to deal with her case.
It was then that she heard about Beautiful Gate and came to visit our social workers.
Our social worker wrote a referral letter to SASSA, explaining the situation and asked them to cancel the grant in favour of the maternal grandmother. Each month Beautiful Gate supported her family with food parcels while she was waiting. We also helped with follow ups, taking the matter up with the SASSA branch manager.
After a long wait, Ntombizodwa was rewarded, with a back payment of cash, and the monthly grant being paid to her.
Some interesting facts...
Beautiful Gate's Family Services includes providing access to grants, short term food relief, advice and referrals for 240 families each year to help them stay together and find long-term solutions. Every year we run a number of workshops to help equip parents, caregivers and the general community with important life skills and information. Read more about our programme.
SASSA (The South African Security Agency) is tasked with administering social security services. Beautiful Gate is pleased that they have decided to open an approval office on our site. This will further assist our community members to access the support they can get from government.
In 2012, there were approximately 3.54 million orphans in South Africa. This includes children without a living biological mother, father or both parents, and is equivalent to 19% of all children in South Africa. Many children in South Africa do not live in the same dwelling as their biological parents. The proportion of children living with both parents decreased to 35% in 2012. Twenty-three percent do not have either of their biological parents living with them. Just over a quarter (26%) of all African children do not live with either parent. If you are interested in finding out more about statistics relating to children, you can read more here.
The names have been changed to protect the family. The image is a stock photo.
This article first appeared as part of our April 2015 newsletter. Read the full newsletter here.
When Athenkosi joined the Beautiful Gate After School Programme in 2014 he was in grade 4. He wasn't doing very well at school, at home he was not listening to his parents, and at school the teachers were concerned about him.
"When he first came along, he was disruptive. I was worried about him, so I referred him to our social worker."
Athenkosi met with our social worker, and our child care workers visited him at home. His parents were invited to a meeting at Beautiful Gate.
And now, a year later...
Athenkosi has changed. He has become a soccer star, and has become a respectful little boy, at school, at home and at after care.
"We are also very proud of him as his tutors! He makes us proud!"
Athenkosi passed grade 4 very well and is now doing grade 5.
Beautiful Gate's After School Programme reach more than 200 children every week day afternoon at the Beautiful Gate centre and other sites around the community. Read more about our After School Programme on our website, or if you would like to help us reach more children like Athenkosi, please make a donation online today.
My name is Funelakhe Duze and I live in Lower Crossroads. I am currently doing my first year B.Com Accounting studies at UCT, thanks to the help I received from Beautiful Gate's Youth Resource Centre.
I first started coming to the Beautiful Gate Resource Centre during my grade 11 year at Phandulwazi High School. In the beginning, I mostly came to do my school assignments. Having not had much exposure to computers and how to find all the information I needed for my assignments, it was such a blessing to have access to the internet and friendly people to help me learn how to use the computer to find what I needed!
But the support didn't end there. Soon I was faced with the stress of having to leave high school and not knowing what career to focus on or how to even find out what I could do. Fortunately, I was invited to a Career Exhibition hosted by Beautiful Gate for all the community members. This helped me find the information I needed and later one of the staff at Beautiful Gate helped me to apply to tertiary institutions and for a bursary as well. Some months later, UCT accepted me to study!
Welcome to a window into the lives and issues facing children in the Crossroads community on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa. Most of these stories centre around the children and families we work with at Beautiful Gate South Africa, a Christian non-profit organisation whose mission is to show God's love as we care for and protect children, empower and preserve families and mobilise our community to do the same.