‘The Magic Dot Touch After School Care (Madtasc) Programme has made me a Better Person for my Community’.

Thabo Skotoyi started a project called Madtasc Programme in 2013 in Khayelitsha. He then became part of the Educo Africa Sihambela Phambili Programme, because he thought it was a platform for networking, and for an opportunity for his organisation to be taken to the next level.
In an interview with one of the Madtasc programmes’s participants, 12-year-old Masithembe shares his experience about how the Madtasc Programme has impacted his life.

What is your name and tell us what is Madtasc?
My name is Masithembe Bozana, I am 12 years old and I go to Isiphiwo Primary School where I am in Grade 7. Madtasc Programme is at my school. This Programme is all about education, teaching children how to overcome the challenges they currently face and it also helps me engage more with my parents through Parent- Child Workshops.
When and why did you join this Programme?
I joined the Madtasc Programmes in 2013.There were 35 learners including myself that were selected. When I joined Madtasc, I had a different character. I was this over-excited boy who liked to tease my peers and who would seek attention from the crowd in a negative way. My happiness came from teasing others and not considering how they would feel about it. I even joined Madtasc to have fun more than to focus on what they came to teach us. My best buddy did exactly the same. We stay in the same area and we would both bunk the programme sometimes.
One day, Thabo Skotoyi called me and spoke with me about my behaviour. He asked me important questions like; “Where do I think my behaviour is taking me?”, and “Would I appreciate the kind of attitude from the other person being done to me?”. He told me that I am experiencing peer pressure and that he is going to help me through it. He also called my friend aside and spoke to him. After that, my behaviour changed in a positive way. I was made the new president of the Madtasc Programme. My friend also improved his attitude towards other people.
What is the highlights and challenge you face in the Programme?
What I love about Madtasc is the fact that our teachers motivate us. The Programme helps us in our Mathematics and English, and our self-confidence of standing in front of a crowd. When my 2 year old sister died from lung failure in February, Thabo knew that there was something wrong and asked me what was bothering me, so I told him about it. He is a great mentor!
There are challenges that the Programme experiences. One is that the Madtasc Programme only operates 1 hour a day 3 times a week. I wish it can be more. This is because there are not enough teachers.
Another challenge is that there is no food provided in the program and this resulted in people leaving. The learners join other Programmes such as Soul Buddies and Dance groups where they receive food. We are currently 21 active members in the programme.
Last words,
The reason why I am still here is because I get food of the brain and I adapt it in my life. When I head to Secondary School and Tertiary I will still participate in the Madtasc Programmes.
When I reach Grade 10, I also want to start teaching at Madtasc until I finish my tertiary education. I feel that I owe it to the programme, my school and my community.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY EDUCO AFRICA

The 4th of July, 21- years ago, Educo Africa opened its doors. Join us as we celebrate this landmark moment, by taking a moment to remember how Educo Africa has impacted your life or the lives of people you know. Furthermore, most of us are out in the field running courses over the June/July holidays, so think of us out in the mountains with young inspiring people realising their potential and their greater selves (and maybe put an extra jersey two on for us as well!!…)

We are immensely grateful to have come this far. Thank you for your continued and dedicated support. Without your thoughts, your contributions, donations, prayers and blessings over the years, our work would not be possible.

In celebration, we held two raffle draws. First, for all the Footsteps supporters, and second for people who bought tickets from our staff. Both prizes are a special edition Educo Africa Hoodie. The staff got together and drew a name out of a box for each, and we are delighted to announce that Amie Louise Brodie is the Footsteps winner. The staff then blindfolded staff trainee facilitator Thotywela, spun her around and made her pencil point onto a sheet of all the raffle numbers, and again we are thrilled to announce Rowan Belchers is the winner of the staff raffle draw. Congratulations to both our winners and thank you to everyone who bought a raffle ticket and supported Educo Africa.

If you would still like a hoodie, we can order one for you for R500.00. Please contact Milly at milly@educo.org.za if you would like one.

We cannot say it enough. Educo Africa appreciates your support.. Thank you so much;
Kakhulu – The Educo Africa Team

4 July 2015 – Educo Africa 21st birthday

Hello Educo Africa Supporters!

We are one week away from our 21st Birthday

Watch this space on the 4th of July.

A loyal Educo Africa Supporter – Pam

Pam’s journey began in April of 2011 when she was selected as one of only 24 teachers in the U.S. to visit South Africa funded through the Toyota International Teacher Program, courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales and the Institute of International Education. What Pam considered would be a “once-in-a-lifetime experience” has transformed her and the lives of people living in the impoverished townships of South Africa.

Pam recalls when she travelled to South Africa and saw Soweto Township for the first time. At first sight, says Pam, it appeared as an endless jumble of shacks made up of corrugated metal, concrete, and just about any material that could be salvaged. It’s an enormous sprawl of ‘shantytowns’ stretching as far as the eye can see. “All I could think of is how wrong it felt to be sitting on a coach bus, looking down at the township and its folk, taking pictures of them as if they were some type of attraction, and then knowing that I was going to eat my fill in a quality restaurant and sleep in a four star hotel that night.”

During her trip to South Africa, Pam learned about Educo Africa- a non-profit organization that works with at-risk youth from impoverished South African townships. Educo Africa helps to empower and transform disadvantaged South African communities by focusing on vulnerable youth, their parents/guardians, and their social environment. The organization’s philosophy is to provide a holistic circle of support to improve the dignity and power of those less fortunate.

Upon return from South Africa, Pam contacted Mark Gamble, CEO of Educo Africa. In the fall of 2012, Pam and Mark came up with the idea of fusing science education with the needs of the people in South Africa by finding a low-cost way to provide solar-powered lanterns to people with no access to electricity. In November 2012, Pam partnered with Sundance Solar (based in New Hampshire, USA) to design a working prototype of a solar powered LED jar light kit. The agreement is that Sundance Solar would engineer the solar lanterns, and Pam would develop the curriculum, lab manual, and educational assessments.  After a few months, Sundance Solar had a circuit board designed and produced in order to create a functional do-it-yourself kit. By the summer of 2013, Sundance Solar had a product on the market in the U.S. that that was simple way of turning a glass jar into a functioning lantern and is available to teachers and the general public today. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the SunBender DIY Solar LED Jar Light Kits are donated to Educo Africa.

In the U.S. the solar jar classroom kits have been successful beyond Pam’s expectations.  She presented the kits at state teacher conventions and showed them at a vendor booth at the national science teacher’s convention.  Sundance Solar has signed contracts with national science supply catalogs, some of which sell $4 billion in educational materials annually.  The proceeds collected through the sale of the solar lanterns in the U.S. has was used to fund a shipment of 20 solar jar kits  back to Educo Africa, and additional proceeds will be used as a source of seed funding to purchase domestic materials and the future vocational training of Educo Africa youth.  Mark Gamble envisions a small-scale business enterprise where Educo Africa youth receive education, technology, job training, and business skills through the construction and sale of domestic solar lanterns.  The proceeds of the sale of the lanterns (which replace less sustainable and more hazardous kerosene lanterns) would, in turn, cover the cost of further materials.  Ed Bender is currently collaborating with engineers and stakeholders in the U.S. and South Africa in order to create a customized prototype to serve Educo Africa’s needs.  At this current development stage, all possibilities are being openly considered, including the integration of a USB charging portal into the solar lantern.

Pam is currently creating more curricula to suit the needs of other Sundance Solar kits (including their solar USB charging kit) under the agreement that a portion of the proceeds is likewise donated to Educo Africa.  Pam and Ed are also exploring the possibilities of using crowdsoursing web sites in order to generate more funds to support the solar lantern project.  Pam’s greatest motivation comes from those around her who still offer support, and want to see the dream become a reality.  “So far, each step I take has been a step forward and a step further than what I thought I was able to do,” says Pam.  “So far, the road just keeps on going ahead.  I want to thank my community, our local Rotary Club, and those in the educational community who believe that what we teach can truly do a world of good.  Most of all, I want to thank Educo Africa for believing that I could make a difference that stretches beyond what I thought I was capable of doingSunbender

Change starts with you

I always wanted to make a change, but I did not believe in myself and my ability. So, I would always complain about how things were not going the way they are supposed to be. Instead of trying to change the situation in my community, I would post a complaint on Facebook.

However, things started changing the day I met and invited Thembinkosi Matika to be my friend on Facebook. It was a few days after chatting with him that he commented on one of my post stating “that change starts with you before you can change the world”. I spent about a week trying to figure out what he meant by that, until he invited me to the community youth parliament and there I was inspired by My Honorable. He made me believe that I have the ability to change my community.

A week later, I attended the sessions at the Community Youth Parliament and I was again invited to join the Sihambela Phambili group for hiking trip. It was the most exciting and difficult experience. What made it exciting was that it was my first time to be involved in a hiking adventure. While climbing the mountain i had moments where I felt like quitting because hiking Table Mountain was difficult. I kept on going because I had a support structure that I believed in. The most valuable lesson I learnt from the hiking was that life is not an easy journey. You have to work hard because it pays off at the end of the day!

As of now, a day does not go by, without looking at ways in which to make my community a better place to stay. Apart from that, I am also studying accounting and I aim to have my own business .

My name is Anga Maki and you are currently looking at your future Social Entrepreneur, motivational speaker and Accountant. A special thanks to Thembinkosi Matika, the Community Youth Parliament and Educo Africa, for giving me the inspiration to be change that I want to be!

written by Anga Maki

anga @ table mountian

Educo Africa Impi Challenge

Educo Africa is calling on all our Cape Town based friends to join the Educo Africa Impi Challenge Team!

Gather a small group of your friends and family (groups can be between 2 and 10 people – or you can do it alone if you like), sign up for the IMPI Challenge, and raise funds for Educo Africa, all while having a huge amount of fun!

What is the IMPI Challenge?

The IMPI Challenge is a fun obstacle course for people of all ages and fitness levels. impichallenge. It is held on the 19th October on a wine estate in Stellenbosch.There are a limited number of tickets that are sold on a first-come-first-serve basis (Saturday 18th is all sold out).

The following entry categories are available.

  • Mini IMPI (6-10 years): 1km with supervised obstacles.
  • IMPI Dash (10 years +): 5-7km with 12 obstacles.
  • IMPI Challenge: 10 – 12km with18 obstacles.
  • IMPI Elite: 20 km with 28 thrill seeking obstacles.

Why join the Educo Africa Impi Challenge Team?

Educo Africa serves young South Africans in one of the most challenging times of their lives. They help youth to not only discover their potential but to live their potential by becoming contributing members of society and generating their own income.
How to Enter?

Step 1:  Get a team together! A team can consist of your work colleagues, family, friends. Purchase tickets online (impichallenge). There are several courses for various fitness levels – if you would like to participate with your family we suggest the IMPI Dash, if you are an older more adventurous crowd we suggest the IMPI challenge.

Step 2: E-mail me your name as well as a picture of yourself and your team (if you are participating in a team), to footsteps@educo.org.za

Step 3: I will e-mail you your own personalised “back a buddy” fundraising page with details on how to use it and how to raise funds for Educo Africa. Each team will be tasked with trying their hand at fundraising

Step 4: Ask your friends and family to back you on your challenge!

It would be great if you could join us in tackling the obstacles while at the same time contributing to South African youth overcoming their obstacles.

Kind regards
The Educo Africa Team

State of the Nation

Educo Staff appear on “Street Talk” and discuss the state of the nation.

Click here to watch the episode

Service Day With Educo Africa at Ekuphumleni Old Age Home

During the process of helping with activities, I became very emotional just looking at the elderly. I wondered if they still got visitors, many of them come from as far as the Easten Cape. My emotions took me back to when I was at Groot Winter Hook Mountains with Educo Africa. We had to go for a solo night, sleeping alone outside in the dark and I was so scared of the darkness and being alone.

I managed to get hold of my sadness, and pull myself together and enjoy my time with the elderly. It was wonderful to see how happy they were to do something different for the day. Our visit was very different to their daily routine of waking up, taking a bath, eating breakfast ,watching TV, eating lunch then supper and TV again until bed time. This experience made me realize how good it is to put a smile on the face of others.

In life we tend to forget about others who truly need us to help them  feel that they are not alone. There are still people out there who care enough to show love and support. This day taught me that doing service days like this are so important, because not only do you show love, you also receive love, plenty of it.

By: Linda Dziba

Check out our pictures from the day here

Getting your hands dirty

With an early rise the next morning the basecamp manager took the young people out for a hike and an abseil. Abseiling was a huge experience for many and they returned with many humorous stories surrounding this interesting activity. After returning from the hike, it was back to the sanding and grinding of the floors in the various houses.

As Saturday night approached one could see the exhaustion on individuals’ faces as they started to realize the real meaning of the word “service”. Giving back to your community is not easy task and it comes in different forms. One of the comments made by one of the young people; “ Now I know what it is to give my service”.

Interesting dialogues happened over our Saturday night braai with topics ranging from “parents disciplining their children, is it right or wrong? to “ which political party will you vote for as a young person or if you will vote at all”.  There were sparking comments like; “ I do not believe in sending my child to sit in the corner when he or she has done something wrong.” and “ I will not beat up my child, I will talk to them and build that bond.” and “ There has to be a foundation laid in the child’s life, so talking has to help together with a hiding.” and “ I do not know which political party to vote for, I will just take my ballot paper and vote for everyone”.

I wish there was more time and energy to converse about topics like these, because in actual fact this is what the young people are looking for- a platform to allow their voices to be heard, their opinions and frustrations to be heard and seen. The style of toy-toy is old school, lets create those spaces for another be it old or young.

Hearing the sound of grinding and sanding before the sun even hits the horizon and they have started their Sunday shift; finishing off last touches before heading back to Cape Town and to their families. We all have to remember it is not easy to get your hands dirty, but if you wanting to see positive change in your society that is what it will take.

Are you ready to get your hands dirty?

By Niki Alexander

Board Member Boxing for Educo Africa

Read all about Wilco’s “White Collar Boxing for Africa” by clicking on the following link:

http://toescapeto-blog.com/2014/02/25/white-collar-boxing-for-africa/