Thuso Chair Mmapula Small will be leaving next week for her annual fact-finding trip to South Africa. Deputy Chair – Elaine Daniel and Treasurer – Tania Collins will fly out to join her at a later date – all self-funded of course.
The purpose of the visit is to gain real evidence of what’s happening on the ground and what the school’s and the students’ personal needs really are. The Thuso visitors will be able to not only visit the school but also see the town of Vosloorus, near Johannesburg and where and in what conditions the children live.
They will meet teachers and our sponsored students at the school. They will review our current students’ progress and well being, and will be asking the head teacher to increase the number of children we support through school to 50. They hope to bring back school reports, recent photographs and letters from all our current and new sponsored students that we will pass on to YOU the sponsors.
Thuso is in the process of initiating partnerships with South African companies and trusts that will assist our sponsored students to progress through tertiary education and beyond to employment. Our visiting Trustees will therefore put Thuto Lesedi School in touch with these companies so partnerships may be formed. From our Social Fund Thuso will also help school-leaving sponsored students with the transition to tertiary training and/or employment.
One of the most important tasks for the visiting Trustees will be to see how the school’s feeding programme is working. Our contributions so far to the programme have no doubt helped but represent only a fraction of the need. There are currently 250 children benefiting from daily lunches and evening, weekend and school holiday food boxes. We understand that a further 250 children really need this support. The school does a marvellous job in obtaining some free staple foods from local sources but this does not equal the ever-growing need as more and more families are hit by the AIDS pandemic. The Thuso visitors will be warmly congratulating the staff on their sterling efforts in obtaining, cooking and delivering food to the hungry children. We plan to increase our contribution to the food programme by 50% this year, but realise we must redouble our fundraising efforts in line with the need.
On their return we hope to put on the website lots of photos of the school, the students, staff and Vosloorus that our Trustees have taken together with a report of their findings.