The “likes” on a wordpress blog do not necessarily represent the audience we are actually reaching with our scribblings. I am delighted to know a lot of people from the South African educational reform community as well as interested entrepreneurs have been reading up on my opinionated evaluation of the trouble with the South African educational system in my previous posts!
Some commented on twitter how a government subsidized free education system could create a sense of entitlement counter productive to the sense of self-responsibility we are trying…
Our young dancers have started work on a dance drama Jan Venter and I developed a while ago, and I am positive this is going to be instrumental in raising awareness in young men and women that we’re all responsible to intervene and prevent abuse!
check my post about the topic here.
We had decided to go and visit specific classes at separate visits to bring specific aid to the different departments. There are 360 learners at the school and it is impossible to bring something for everyone at one visit.
Today we went to visit grade R-3.
With the help of friends from our church and Hope for Limpopo and using my own ressources I had purchased different educational materials such as CD players, educational CDs ranging from sound effects such as weather and animal noises to nursery rhymes, stories and songs. I also made shape, number and letter sorting boxes that can be used by deaf and blind children alike since the letters are made from wooden shapes that must be matched to the appropriate shape fixed to the box.
I had also been making several educational tools myself such as letters and numbers to feel and match.
We brought modelling clay, toy animals, puzzles, toys, clothes and blankets. The children enjoyed me singing a few songs with them and Roelien handed out some sweets for everybody.
We went to the very drab and depressing dorm rooms to take measurements for the mattresses we are going to order for the children.
I so hope we can find some sponsors to help renovate this boarding school for the visually, hearing and physically impaired children!
Field trips are great, and field trips that come right to your preschool are a lot of fun too because it is safer!
Horses are magnificent animals. Horse riding and interaction with horses is a proven aid to education, concentration, honing fine and gross motor skills, muscle development and social skills. Unfortunately many children do not have the opportunity of the benefit of getting to know these amazing creatures.
Therefore we are offering our children at Emmanuel Kinderland Preschool a very special chance every Monday morning.
We provide our students with a chance for horse interaction and an introduction to horse riding with experienced horse trainer Sarah Coronaios from the Rondebosch Riding School.
Blogging about life in South Africa, I sometimes forget to include the challenge of raising my kids trilingual, with German as their first, Afrikaans as their second and English as their third language. Both kids can hold conversations very well in all three languages and also translate from one to the other. I thought you might enjoy Sammy’s ABC out there in the South African wilderness.
He is also chatting with me in German, telling me that to him, the mountain is his playground.
His brother contributes an Afrikaans folksong for you! The song is a bout a baboon climbing a mountain, telling a farmer not to grieve, not to cry, the girl from Stellenbosch will return. Alas, Steven does not know what Stellenbosch (South African college town similar to Oxford) is. However, he knows a skelm (South African for thief), so he is singing about the skelm bos se boys (thief bush boys) who will return. Funny if you know several languages.
Seems that google includes some clips from my Preschool as well, in English and Afrikaans …
Today I received this letter from the intermediary for child witnesses and victims of sexual crimes at the Magistrate Court in Sibasa about how our Comfort boxes now are helping even children in the Musina court:
Good Afternoon Mam,blessed be God and the Father of our Lord Jesus who causeth us to triumph through Christ!
I am simply excited for the foundation that has been laid because for this vision to manifest like this means Victory!
My colleagues Nthabiseng Dzhivhani has just given out a 12-15yrs box yesterday @ Musina and I heard the girl couldn’t put it down.
This project is really working as I realized that most kids come dejected and rejected with little or no support from parents or relatives as if they chose to be victims.
But when they find LOVE in that little box is like their WORLD has suddenly changed as they understand that irrespective of what happened and how they feel and what others take them for, there’s still HOPE in life because someone out there loves them and care about them so much.
Thank you once again Woman of God for your heart for souls.
Pass my regards to Pastor
So wonderful to hear about those boxes really making a difference in children’s lives.
Of course I cannot post details about the children involved, but share some photos of the people who work with the children and pictures of the court:
So you have some time with the kids over this Easter weekend and would love to do some baking, but grandma already did the Easter egg cookies?
I have something fun for you. An edible dough to shape Easter eggs from and dip them in melted chocolate for a wonderful taste feast.
(Inspiration hit me when dipping my teaspoon in a bit of Nutella and some peanut butter and enjoying the taste together.)
If you love Reese’s peanutbutter cups, these special chocolate Easter eggs are perfect for you!
I made them yesterday with my preschool class, and everyone had a lot of fun.
The peanut butter – Nutella dough is easy to make:
To make that super elastic and delicious dough, put equal measures of peanut butter, Nutella and mini marshmallows into a plastic bowl. It renders a lot of dough, so work with 2 Tbs each in the beginning to see how far that gets you.
Microwave on high for no longer than 3 seconds. The marshmallows will crack if they are overcooked, which will give you lovely little, chewy candy pieces in the dough, but you will add and warm more marshmallows to get the softness into your dough. Take it out of the microwave, stir vigorously. Add the same amount of icing sugar as used per ingredient.
Microwave a few marshmallows for about 10 seconds if you like crispy-chewy candy pieces in your chocolate egg: immediately incorporate into the dough while still warm, they will break up and form delicious crispyness for your soft chocolate eggs.
Knead till all ingredients are incorporated beautifully and the dough is soft and supple. Add more icing sugar if needed. Process into any shape you like, coat with chocolate, yumm.
Today I went to the Magistrate Court in Sibasa delivering 40 care boxes.
The boxes contain high quality toys, stickers, activity books, snacks and a high quality fruit juice. Many children have not had breakfast when they come to testify in court and often they wait for a long period of time.
I had been talking to a friend about the plight of the children in Limpopo, with child abuse rates soaring so high. She is a Magistrate judge and I had asked if there is anything we as a community could do to make testifying easier for victims of child abuse. After Magistrate Kellerman got the permission by her head of department, I started making of these boxes to help the children bridge the uncomfortable time at court. The boxes will be used in rural courts such as Sibasa, Waterval and Musina.
This has also come up as a topic with the Guardian Angels, our local High Schools care group, who helped me with the collection of boxes while we informed them about their own responsibility to step in and step up when they see abuse happen.
How an individual responds to unpleasant events in their life is crucial for their future.
“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
To assist a child and young woman or young man in overcoming the trauma of abuse is a call we all need to take up in this nation.
To end this, there are many different steps needed. We as a church are going into schools, training learners how to prevent abuse, how to interfere when you know a peer faces abuse, how to report abuse. We train parents. We try to get the community involved.
It is very important that abuse cases to go to court and the perpetrators get sentenced.
The stress is very high. A case can only be processed when the judge finds the child capable of making a statement. For that, the child must show an understanding of truth, understanding of consequences of lying. Since most children only understand tribal languages, the have to be able to communicate via a translator and intermediary.
The judge says that unfortunately often children stress so much, they tense up and refuse all communication. The case can not go to trial then.
The comfort boxes will be handed to the child by the intermediary. This will give them a positive start in their communication. The child will be more positive about the experience and also have juice and a snack. They often come to court without having had breakfast and without a lunch box. These comfort boxes cover all that.
Yippeh, my husband just returned from a real intense trip to Uganda/South Sudan. He went to encourage Christian leaders, ministers and educators, conducted leadership seminars and visited a lot, a LOT of orphans ministering to the children as well.
I started Emmanuel Kinderland Preschool in 2012 as I identified the need for quality preschool education in rural South Africa. Many preschools are simply creches run from somebodie’s backyard with little or no educational stimulation let alone a curriculum.
South African schools have now even opened their own grade R (Kindergarten) classes because learners arrive in grade 1 who do not know a word in English, never held a pencil, never played with modeling clay, do not know numbers, shapes or colours!
I am following a German curriculum and place a lot of emphasis on early learning. I even teach our students classical music.
In Africa, there is not much money for anything. So you gotta be creative.
Last week I asked my husband to cut me 26 10×10 wooden blocks. I cut out the letters of the alphabet, glued them on and, voila, there you have Montessori style educational toys. The children love to trace the letters with crayons to get a feel for writing.
We also made our own sand-art by colouring ordinary river sand with food colouring and sticking it to our numbers. Fun!
In a previous post I have talked about the high rate of child abuse and rape resulting in death in South Africa. Only an estimated 10 percent of all cases do go to court and the children as young as 3 have to testify under horrible conditions against the perpetrators. To encourage the children and bless them while waiting, often for hours, in the drab corridors of rural courts, I put together these care boxes containing a fruit juice, a snack, a new soft toy, a mini book and some stickers to keep themselves busy for a moment and be comforted from this unpleasant setting.
A box costs me about 7 US dollars to make seeing that these items are all new and the fruit juice and snack are high quality.
If you want to help me make more boxes, please donate to my paypal account. You can find it on the left hand side of my blog. Thanks.
If you are from around Limpopo you are welcome to provide us with new soft toys, fruit juices and snacks!
South Africa has some of the highest incidences of child and infant rape in the world. In 2001, it was reported by the South African Police Service that children are the victims of 41 percent of all rapes reported in the country. Although there are varying numbers on the number of reported rapes of children, one report states that in 2000, 21,538 rapes and attempted rapes of children under the age of 18 were reported and another from 2001 states that there were 24,892 rapes.
A trade union report said a child was being raped in South Africa every three minutes. Some cite a 400% increase in sexual violence against children in the decade preceding 2002. A third of the cases are committed by a family member or close relative. Child welfare groups believe that the number of unreported incidents could be up to 10 times that number. The largest increase in attacks was against children under seven.
A number of high-profile infant rapes appeared since 2001 (including the fact that they required extensive reconstructive surgery to rebuild urinary, genital, abdominal, or tracheal systems). In October 2001, a 9-month-old girl named Tshepang was raped by an HIV-positive man and had to undergo extensive reconstructive surgery in Cape Town. In February 2002, an 8-month-old infant was reportedly gang raped by four men. One has been charged. The infant has required extensive reconstructive surgery. The 8-month-old infant’s injuries were so extensive, increased attention on prosecution has occurred.
A significant contributing factor for the escalation in child abuse is the widespread myth in HIV ravaged South Africa that having sex with a virgin will cure a man of AIDS. This virgin cleansing myth exists in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. The child abusers are often relatives of their victims and are at times their fathers or providers.
Sexual violence against minors older than the age of infancy is also extremely prevalent in South Africa. According to the Medical Research Council, more than one in four minors experience physical violence at home daily or weekly and more than one third of girls have experienced sexual violence before the age of 18. Its study also states that by 2009, 40% of all victims who reported rape to the police were under 18 and 15% were under 12 years old.
South Africa has extremely high levels of sexual assault. “The prevalence of rape, and particularly multiple perpetrator rape… is unusually high,” according to a 2012 report by the think-tank the Institute for Security Studies (ISS).
Lizette Lancaster, manager of the ISS Crime and Justice Information Hub, says there are many complex reasons South Africa has such a high sexual offence rates.
South Africa is a very paternalistic society where women are not seen as equals, contributing to abuse. “Rape, as you know, is not a sexual act but a violent act,” Lancaster said.
“Rape is one of the most under-reported crimes in South Africa,” noted the NGO coalition Shukumisa. It points to research, conducted in Gauteng in 2010, that found one-quarter of women questioned in the study “had been raped in the course of their lifetimes, while almost one in 12 women had been raped in 2009. But only one…
Schools have opened again in South Africa and my little preschool is working hard to deliver excellent schooling to all children.
At the same time I am working hard on creating and purchasing sensory teaching aids for the blind and deaf children at the Tshilidzini Special school. I will be going in about 2 weeks time to help and assist the teachers. We also want to get a local African artist to paint a nice mural to brighten up the drab environment of the doormrooms.
I need to purchase paint, ornaments, fruit and veg for a better diet for the children, mattresses and some CD players. I have put together a collection of music CDs that are ideal to teach with.
The South African educational system lacks on every level. Education, public schooling, is expensive. The government is not putting the taxes into education (nor into roads, health care etc. It goes into villas and luxury cars). Teachers haven’t heard of pedagogics and are very little schooled in education theory, educational psychology, scientific background.
In Africa, you do never know where to start. Jump in and believe that every drop of sweat you put in has the power to drive away the darkness. Prayers are welcome.
As somebody who works in the education field in South Africa, I am tremendously impressed with what happened at the Madiba Memorial. A genius planned a fantastic stage act to expose some of our most pressing issues.
For those of you who do not know, millions across the globe were inspired and moved by speeches made at former President Nelson Mandela’s memorial service on Tuesday, December 10, 2013.
You can read about this inspiring event everywhere in the web. Maybe you were also amused at Obama’s selfie shoot,
and Michelle’s angry expression resulting in her even switching seats with the Potus during intermission since he seemed to get a little too comfy with the blonde he was seated next to.Great photo-story here.
But what the international community was really outraged about was this sign language interpreter who was not signing in South African or any other known sign language, but seemed to have stepped right off a star ship :
Or was it true Anti-American activism at work here, really really subtly?
Watch him “translate” President Obama in his historic address to honour old president Nelson Mandela for his life’s work here:
The man, who signed for a portion of the ceremony including Barack Obama’s speech, was simply making up his own signs, say the Deaf Federation of South Africa. David Buxton, the CEO of the British Deaf Association, said the unidentified man, who was supposed to be signing in South African, was “waving his hands around but there was no meaning.”
Mr Buxton said it was “childish hand gestures and clapping, it was as if he had never learned a word of sign language in his life.”
He said sign languages across the world share a similar structure and pattern, but his were just repetitive hand movements.
“It was hours of complete nonsense. He is clearly a fraud who wanted to stand on stage with big and important people. It’s quite audacious if you think about it.”
I beg to differ. I am saying:
Well done, Comrade!
You accomplished what many of us tried before but always failed: to raise awareness on an international stage of the outrageous South African habit to employ someone for any other reasons than qualification.
Let us learn the lesson. Maybe talking about headmasters of special needs schools who receive outrageous pay but do not bother to learn about education should get an reaction?
Will the CIA hold the ANC responsible for allowing a mentally unstable, unqualified person such close access to the president of the United States? Are we ever going to be able to discuss qualifications in South Africa?
Blind children who sit in dark, empty rooms while the donated Braille typewriters stand unused in the shelves because the principal has no idea what to use them for (but he did bother to study the car marked before buying that high end SUV) can maybe draw attention to this problem.
Or a fully equipped computer room that does not get used because, as I am told in no uncertain terms: deaf children can not learn words. Just like that. When I am informing the teachers that you can download loads of visual vocabulary games for free online, they do not even look up from their whatsapp chats on their cell phones.
Applaud this comrade who was bold enough to show how the cadre does not bother a bit about educating the special needs people of South Africa!
Well, whatever episode you are suffering on the mental spectrum, you are normally much more likely to regress back to old habits rather than making up non-intelligible signs. For him to sign: mama makes great stew, or at least repeatedly use the SA sign for Mandela, would have been more likely. Which means this interpreter probably never knew how to sign in the first place.
Singing together with the parents of my preschool’s first ever Christmas Concert.
Living in South Africa can be frustrating, to say the least. I learned: involve some topic that matters internationally, like offending the international deaf community, and you might draw some bit of attention to major South African problems. Will things change? Not through international outrage.
At always, it will be the tedious works of love by dedicated individuals that will continue making a difference.
Here is a great blog summarizing the correct steps that should have been taken in appointing an interpreter for such an historic event:
There is too much abuse of children going on in the world and especially in South Africa. God is watching over the little children. If you minister to them, God will reward you. If you hurt and harm their body, soul or spirit, God will surely punish you. Pray for the safety of all children! Keep praying for the Children, that they will be brought of in the love of Christ and the Integrity of the Word of God!
I do admit I do not really enjoy looking at caged animals, although snakes and spiders are definitely nicer behind thick glass … But when you are a mom of two little ones, trips into the wild, where the animals roam free and nature is fierce, are not always an option and actually pretty boring for the kids. “Look, there is a Cheetah” “Where mom?” “150 meters from us far in the tall grass”. Not cool for a 2-year-old.
So I am always glad to find a pretty enclosure with relatively happy animals and nice surroundings, so I can show my children what these amazing creatures look like from up close.
What a wonderful surprise Mystic Monkeys and Feathers turned out to be!
While my husband had some business to attend in Pretoria and the Waterberg area, we used the chance to explore a little bit more of south Africa.
The following posts will be describing some destinations around that area.
The Geluksfontein dairy goat’s comprises a 400 acre dairy goat farm in the Waterberg region of the Limpopo province. It is 30 km from Modimolle (Nylstroom), 30 km from Vaalwater and approximately 2½ hours from the city of Pretoria.
At Geluksfontein the goat milk cheeses are made in the traditional way, using milk produced by the Swiss-Type goats reared on the farm. Cheese is made daily, using only milk low in butterfat content, ranging from 2.5% to 3.25%. Cheese also have less than 1% salt content. Goat milk cheese is thus very healthy. Individual cheeses are formed in traditional moulds brought especially from Kwa Zulu Natal, and are…