Give the gift of education
It's hard to believe, but December is upon us and next week school will be finished for 2023! A huge and heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you for the many different ways you have supported our work this year.
As students excitedly get ready for the holidays, many of us are also frantically gift shopping and scribbling greetings cards to loved ones. Which brings us to some mind-boggling statistics...
Did you know that in the UK alone £1.6 BILLION is spent on greetings cards every festive season? Not to mention the huge environmental cost of the estimated 8 billion cards being posted annually.
At KHULA, we are suggesting a greener way to help you send holidays messages to your loved ones this year, while also giving the gift of education! Find out more below... and read on for news on progress at our fourth preschool, our most ambitious remediation activities to date and a VERY special donation.
"For the parents and children, this is a start of a new journey of hope."
In uMzinyathi district, the majority parents of children with learning and physical disabilities cannot afford to pay for the assessments needed to access specialist government grants and support. This means that we see children with acute learning and physical disabilities who receive no additional support or accommodations at school to ensure they are able to fully participate and learn.
In late November, for the first time ever, KHULA Education, in collaboration with the Departments of Education, Health and Social Development, was able to conduct detailed assessments of 30 highly vulnerable children with acute learning needs. This will help to ensure that each of them gets the specialist support they require and that each child’s individual needs are met, whether that means specific accommodations at school, access to government grants, additional remedial support or referral to a specialist school.
The under resourced schools KHULA works at simply do not have the capacity to provide this level of support and we are delighted to be able to start these children on a path to an education that works for them. These assessments sit alongisde KHULA's regular small group remedial support programme which we provide to over 150 learners in our dedicated remediation spaces.
With these assessments, we have achieved something very special - in the words of our CEO Debbie Heustice, "for the parents and children, this is the start of a new journey of hope."
Will you #GoGreen and give the gift of education this festive season?
We already mentioned the eye-watering amount (£1.6 billion!) that Britons spend on greetings cards each year. Imagine the good the charity sector could do with just some of those funds....And that’s not all. Each year:· 30,000 tons of Christmas cards are thrown away in the UK alone – that’s £2.8 million worth of landfill· Just one in four Christmas cards are recycled· With one tree making around 3,000 greetings cards and 8 billion cards sent annually, that's goodbye to some 2.6 million trees :(So this year, we are asking you, our wonderful supporters, to consider the greener option of donating your card and stamp spend to KHULA Education and sending e-cards instead (which we will provide!) - it's easy:· Head to https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/thegiftofeducation and donate the amount you would normally spend on greeting cards and stamps· Email firstname.lastname@example.org to access your e-card which can be used with email and WhatsApp· Email/Whatsapp your loved ones in aid of a fantastic cause!Yes, I'll donate and #GoGreen this festive season!A very special gift, in memory of hotelier Charles Aikenhead
In 2020 the local community mourned the loss of Charles Aikenhead, a distinguished former British Army Officer who moved to South Africa to, among other endeavours, pursue his dream of building a hotel by the famous battlefields of Rorke's Drift. This dream was realised in 2010, with the construction of The Rorke's Drift Hotel on the banks of the Buffalo River.
Following Charles' untimely death in 2020 as he tried to save the hotel from a localised fire, his sons Nicholas and Phillip took over its management. Then, this year, Nicholas and Phillip approached the Rattray family to discuss repurposing the property. The Rattrays saw a special opportunity to further KHULA Education’s work in the community and proposed this as an option. To our huge delight, the Aikenheads were similarly enthused about the idea, and so, the Charles Aikenhead Skills Hub, a David Rattray Foundation Centre of Excellence, was born!
In honour of their father's pioneering spirit, it is our hope to transform the Hub into a place of great educational distinction in rural KwaZulu-Natal, a part of South Africa that sorely requires such engagement. Work is already underway to repurpose the facility and represents a major step change in how KHULA can operate locally. For the first time ever, we will have a KHULA property which is large enough to accommodate our quality teaching and training programmes, as well as providing office space for our growing staff. In time, the Hub will also house new skills training and income and local employment-generating activities.
We extend special thanks to Phillip and Nicholas Aikenhead for this incredible gift, as well as Nicky and Doug Rattray and Micko O'Byrne for their tireless support and shouldering the legal costs associated with its transfer. We are very excited about what this means for KHULA’s future and growing our impact!
Building Futures at Sigubudu: Construction is underway at our fourth preschool!
The heavy rains tried to stop us, but last month, construction of KHULA's fourth preschool at Sigubudu finally began. With all our existing preschools oversubscribed, the timing could not be better, and we expect to open our doors to an initial 40 young learners in February 2024.
The build is also supporting local income generation and skills development, with members of the community trained in fence construction so they can build the perimeter fences around the site.
We were also delighted to hire qualified Land Surveyor Gcina Thwala (pictured below, far left), who was retrenched during Covid and has been unable to get paid work since. Young mother of one Gcina said: "Sitting at home you sometimes lose hope – you think no one wants you. This opportunity from KHULA is amazing!"
With special thanks to the Aeonian Foundation, whose funds have made the construction possible, the Mangwebuthanani Traditional Council under the leadership of iNkosi Mbangomuni Mazibuko, the Ingonyama Trust Board and Build it.
It remains only to wish you all a very happy holidays and thank you again for everything you do for KHULA Education - we couldn't do it without you.
Iona, Debbie and the KHULA team