2010 was the 15th anniversary of the support Waltham Forest Thuso in South Africa provides to young people at Thuto Lesedi Secondary school. The school is situated in a historically black township east of Johannesburg. The need for support was recognise by members of the local branch of the anti-apartheid movement who visited South Africa post apartheid. They saw that education was essential in helping the people of South Africa “Reap the Fruits of Freedom”. The substandard “Bantu education” of the apartheid era had left the black population with very poor education and no skills.
Schools for Black children had poorly educated teachers, no libraries, and no laboratories. Some were in disrepair and others held in shacks.
The situation was exacerbated by the HIV/AIDS pandemic which, by 1997, was leaving many orphans. This meant some young people were forced to leave school early, because there was no one to pay the annual school fee, of £2.
In 1995 ACTSAWF setup a sponsorship program paying school fees and buying essential books for two orphans at Thuto Lesedi Secondary school. One went on to train as an engineer and the other was accepted to train as an pilot. In 2010 the number of sponsored pupils had reached 50.
In 1996 the organisation started sending schools in Vosloorus books to help them develop libraries. This work is being continued by WFTISA, ACTSAWF’S successor. Books are sent books through the “Book and 10pence” project run by Community H.E.A.R.T.
From 1995 to 1999 ACTSA Waltham Forest(ACTSAWF) contributed to the funding of community projects providing adult literacy classes and developing basic computing skills. WAFTISA’s supports pupils from the second year at secondary school, (year 9) to year 12, the final year (matriculation).
During a visit to the school in 2005 discussions with sponsored pupils revealed some of them had no food. That year a food program was initiated with a contribution of one thousand pounds to provide lunch.
By 2010 WFTISA had extended the food program to include food packs to provide food at home. Over 500 children were benefitting from the food scheme. The head teacher, Mrs Tlhakanelo, commented that the effect was visible in how alert and engaged the pupils were in class. That confirms WFTISA’s belief that “a hungry child cannot learn”.
Thuto Lesedi Secondary school has benefited from the support WFTISA provides in many ways. The teachers are motivated by the help their learners receive. They no longer have to worry about hungry children and devise means of feeding them. They can concentrate on teaching.
WFTISA’S involvement, and the high Matriculation examination passes, has also encouraged other sponsors to
support the school. In our summer 2010 news letter we mentioned some of the sponsorships viz: annual sponsorship of R400,000.00 over 5 years for the school; two newly built laboratories, one for maths and the other for science, both fully equipped with computers; an offer of scholarships to study engineering.
In March 2011 the school received a minibus from SMD, a company in South Africa. The vehicle will be used to transport teams to games and anywhere else small school groups need to go. The Chair of WFTISA, Mmapula Small was invited to the handover event.Thank You
The sponsorships received through WFTISA means that children at Thuto Lesedi do not have to worry about fees and the cost of essential books. The food program ensured that they are no longer hungry all the time. and so they can learn. We at Waltham Forest Thuso in South Africa thank all sponsors and supporters who have made all this achievable.
We do believe that with your continuing support we will “ Make Poverty History Through Education”.
We thank Gerald, Naima and Adam for welcoming guests to their home for the Garden Party, on 7th June 2010. The event raised £1156.65 for the food project.
Over 500 orphans and other poor children benefit from the food program. In a school of nearly 2000 pupils this still does not provide for all those who could benefit from just a little more food in their day
In order to reach more children, WFTISA is helping a project for women who are HIV positive or living in families with HIV/AIDS, “Azwikundi Women’s Health and Training” a Venda word for “it is possible”. As volunteers, these very poor women provide home care for sick people with AIDS in their community. Sadly some of the grandparents who care for orphans have developed dementia. The women’s group has developed a support group for them.
We help Azwikindi raise funds by buying their handicraft and selling it in the U.K.
During our trip to South Africa in April 2011, chair of WFTISA, Mmapula, was invited to a gathering where clothes donated by the organization were being distributed among needy children.