The THUSO 2014 newsletter is availalble as a PDF download here.
The THUSO 2013 newsletter is availalble as a PDF download here.
Summer 2011 Newsletter
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.
Summer 2010 Newsletter
In 2009 we saw the school we support achieve many successes in winning competitions for sponsorship. Thuto Lesedi Secondary school also achieved the best grade 12 (Matriculation) results in South Africa. Nine pupils sponsored through WFTISA were among those who passed the final examination. Joseph Ngwenya won a sponsorship, paying fees and a maintenance grant to study Engineering.
The support they received meant that they did not have to worry about fees and the cost of essential books. The food program WFTISA supports ensured that they were no longer hungry all the time. They could learn.
The School received three sponsors in 2010 for grade 12 performance in 2009. The first one is Peermont Global that will be sponsoring the school for 5 years, giving R400,000 per year. The second sponsor is SAVCIO who built two laboratories, one for Maths and one for Science. Both centres will be fully equipped with computers, so at last, pupils will have opportunity to become computer literate. This company will also award scholarships for best pupils who want to study engineering.
The school has also been given 2 Teacher “Ambassadors” to help pupils with Maths and Science. The Teach SA will also be donating mobile class rooms to alleviate the shortage of classes due to the high enrolment of learners. Standard Bank SA will be assisting with internship and scholarship for our Maths, Science and Accounting top pupils. The highest achieving Maths and Science pupils was invited to a luncheon and given an incentive of R500.00.
In 2009, we made a one-off payment of first year university fees, for Ntebaleng Maruping. WFTISA had sponsored her from year 8 through to year 12 at Thuto Lesedi Secondary School. She had not been able to get financial support for year one. She passed the end of year Business Management course examination, and was admitted to the second year, while applying for a student loan.
In a letter informing WFTISA about the schools achievement, Head teacher Mrs Zanele Tlhakanelo Wrote “We are doing our best as a school to ensure that our learners’ education is not compromised. Thanks to organisations like Waltham Forest Thuso in SA for believing in us as a school and assisting destitute learners although some have given already given up hope but your organisation is really making the difference.”
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” This year we will be sponsoring 52 pupils.
We thank Gerald, Naima and Adam for welcoming guests to their home for the Garden Party. On 7 June the event raised £1156.65 for the food project.
In 2009 the money we raised helped to increase the number of pupils getting lunch at school from 220 to nearly 300. The number of those receiving food parcels to take home for evenings, weekends and school holidays also increased. 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 a project developed in partnership with the local community, the school has started growing vegetables. These supplement meals provided in school and in the homes of poor participating community members.
Book and 10 pence
Our support for Community H.E.A.R.T’s “Book and 10pence” appeal continues. In 2009 WFTISA collected 3,849 books for the project. Community H.E.A.R.T sends books to historically deprived schools, with no libraries, in South Africa.
The kind of books sent is fiction and non-fiction. The objective of the campaign is to promote an environment where children and young people enjoy reading.
The school is currently looking for a donor or sponsor to help in developing recreational facilities.
Newsletter Summer 2009
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.
Newsletter Spring 2007
WFTISA’s main objective is to assist young people in South Africa to continue attending school and further their education. We believe that for most of those young people education can “make poverty history???.
Fees and Books
In 1995 a sponsorship program was initiated, paying school fees and buying essential books for two young people at Thuto Lesedi High School, Vosloorus, and a township near Johannesburg. By 2005 the number of sponsored pupils was 15. In January 2007 the number was increased to 32. The school has 1,873 pupils, most of whom need help.
WFTISA, where possible, follows the progress of pupils after Matric. This year WFTISA learned that Sibusiso Hlongwane, one of the first sponsored students, had transferred from university to a college to complete his electrical engineering course. In a telephone conversation, Sibusiso Informed Mmapula Small, (chair of WFTISA), that the move was due to financial constraints. In 2007 he had no money to pay the fees for the final six months. WFTISA offered to pay the £68 he needed.
Thuto Lesedi Secondary School, Vosloorus.
In January this year, we learned that Sebabatso Rantsane successfully completed Matriculation (A level equivalent) at the end of 2006. He was the only sponsored student at Matric level that year. In January 2007, he was reported to be working as a clerk in a local authority Office.
During a visit to the school in 2005, discussions with sponsored pupils and teachers had revealed that some of the 15 sponsored pupils had no food.
The Home economics teacher informed me that some pupils used to stand outside, begging for food from the cookery practical lessons. Having identified the need, teachers brought groceries from their homes to supplement the food. The school encouraged pupils who could afford lunch, to share their lunch boxes with those without food.
We believe that effective education is attained through adequate nutrition. In May 2005 WFTISA sent £1000 to provide lunch for the sponsored pupils.
Lunch at Thuto Lesedi Secondary School.
In 2006 the school reported that the money sent had been used to include another 260 pupils. Those were the most destitute among other orphans and vulnerable young people at the school. In October WFTISA sent £500.
Bonga is one of those young people. In his letter to WFTISA he wrote “sometimes I travel to school without eating anything. Not that I don’t want to eat, it’s because there is no food to eat and you can’t listen careful at school because you hungry???
Pupils carrying Food Packs
During a visit to the school in January 2007, the Home Economics teacher leading the lunch program informed me that the additional £500 WFTSA sent in October 2006 had enabled them to provide food for an evening meal and food packs for week-ends and holidays.
The pack includes fortified maize meal, Soya milk powder and beans. Without the food pack, lunch would be the only meal most of these young people had in twenty four hours. The £1080 raised at the garden party hosted by Naima and Gerald Omasta- Milsom, and their son Adam, in June 2006, means more young people will get food this year. WFTISA thanks the family, Harry Cohen M.P, and all the guests for their generous contributions. Naima and Gerard offered their home again for a party on 1st July 2007
In January 2007 the school was given a total £2090 for the food Program. 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???, by buying their Handicraft and selling them in the U.K.
South Africa is reported to have the most number of AIDS orphans in the world. By the end of 2005, according to UNAIDS estimates,there were five and a half million people living with HIV in South Africa, and almost 1,000 AIDS deaths occurring every day.
The new National Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS and Sexually transmitted diseases for 2007 – 2011 outlines primary goals. The stated intention is to achieve 50% reduction in the rate of new infections by 2011, and to provide an appropriate package of treatment, care and support services to at least 80% of people living with HIV and their families by 2011.
As the HIV/AIDS epidemic rages, the number of young people needing assistance continues to rise. Where parents are dead, ill or unemployed, the family has no income. Some young people live in a family headed by a poor grand-parent. Others are in “child headed households??? Sebongile Khumalo is one example of the young people in such circumstances. Her mother died in 2000, father in 2001 and grand- mother in 2002. She now lives with an unemployed neighbour, whose husband died recently, leaving a wife and three children.
In 2007 WFTISA’s objective is to work with our supporters to reach all poor young people at Thuto Lesedi High school. The school has 1,873 pupils, a significant number of whom need help.
Book and 10 pence.
As stated earlier, WFTISA believes that without education there can be no development, and escape from poverty. Our support for Community
H.E.A.R.T’s “Book and 10pence??? appeal continues. In 2006 WFTISA collected 2900 books for the project. We thank all those who contributed, and hope you and others will continue to do so.
WFTISA needs all the help it can get in order to support the young people at Thuto Lesedi Secondary School. Our objective is to help those young people “make poverty history???, and to quote ACTSA, “Reap the Fruits of Freedom???. You Can Help.
- A donation of £5 per month will provide food for 8 pupils
- A donation of £20 will fund one student’s school fees for one year
- A donation of £30 will fund one student’s fees for one year, plus books
Please be Generous: Education is their life line.
Donations to: The treasurer, Waltham Forest Thuso in South Africa, 7
Rectory Road, Walthamstow, London E17 3BG. Cheques payable to: Waltham
Forest Thuso in South Africa. Or use the Banker’s order Form to make
regular contributions. (Registered Charity No: 11153066)
Waltham Forest Thuso in South Africa (WFTISA) (Helping Hand)
Please be Generous. Education is their life line.
During my visit to South Africa in January 2007, I was contacted by three rural schools who had heard of the project. They were pleading for books. Although by the end of 2006, Community H.E.A.R.T had sent more than 2 million books to schools all over South Africa, the need is still great. Historically black schools were deprived of books during the apartheid era. It will take several years to meet the need for books.
The need for books at Thabo High School