In 2008 WFTISA celebrated Nelson Mandela’s 90th Birthday. This year we join ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa) in celebrating the 50th year of the organisation. The origion of WFTISA was inspired by ACTSA’s campaign to “Help the people of South Africa Reap the Fruits of Freedom”
Our objective is to assist young people at Thuto Lesedi Secondary School, in South Africa, to gain education so that they can “reap the fruits of freedom.” We seek sponsors to support orphans and poor children at the school. £30 a year pays school fees and buys essential books. Donations help to provide much needed food.
Since the beginning of the academic year in January 2009 new sponsors have helped to increase the number of pupils whose fees are paid from 30 to 50.
In 2008, 11 sponsored pupils completed Matriculation. One of them, Ntebaleng is currently at university. WFTISA provided a one-off grant to help her pay registration and tuition fees while she was seeking Scholarship support.
In April 2009, I (chair of WFTISA) went to Thuto Lesedi, during my annual visit to South Africa. The sponsored pupils I met asked me to convey their appreciation of the support they receive.
I noticed that some were no longer as sad and lethargic looking as they had been when I first met them some two or three years ago. They were lively and motivated. Freely expressed their vision and goals for a future. For that, WFTISA thanks all those whose support helped to make that possible.
In discussion, the head-teacher told me that benefit from the food program was that pupils were more attentive and engaging in class. There was energy in the school. In November 2008 the school had achieved the best Matriculation results in Gauteng Province. Press reports I read suggested that with 86% pass rate, some achieving grades A in science and mathematics, these were among the best in the country
The school has 1968 pupils. 220 have lunch provided, 140 also have food packs to cover after school meals. They are the most needy. Over the whole year in 2008, lunch cost £30, and a food pack £34.56 for each child. Teachers donate vegetables to be cooked for lunch. The Head Mrs Tlhakanelo told me that without help from WFTISA, the food program would not exist. Concern was that not all who needed help were getting it. Another 300 could benefit.
The recession related un-employment, and the unabated rise in the number of AIDS orphans, means more young people will need help.
Book and 10 pence
Our support for Community H.E.A.R.T’s “Book and 10 pence” appeal continues. In 2008 WFTISA collected 3,849 books for the project. Community H.E.A.R.T sends books to historically deprived schools.
During my visit to South Africa early this year, teachers confirmed my observation that there is still great need for donated books.