EDUCATION

We are committed to the development of the whole child: Body, mind and spirit. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world” and we too believe that without access to a high quality education there can never be social upliftment. It is for this reason that we run an Early Childhood Development Centre (ECD) for 75 children between the ages of 3 and 6. The children in the ECD come from Shiyabazali and other impoverished communities in the Howick area. Their education is completely free, including the provision of health care, school uniforms, and nutritious daily meals. As part of our ECD programme we focus on the development of the following key skills: Language, cognitive and critical thinking, numeracy, motor skills improvement, and emotional strength. Other educational programs include a Bridging Class for 10 children who have never had access to schooling, and who receive individual instructions enabling them to enter mainstream schooling. We also offer an Aftercare Program for primary and high school children from indigent homes.

Our 3 pre-school teachers focus on early childhood development so that our children are fully prepared for Primary School. Our school provides a loving, caring place where children receive the mental, physical and spiritual stimulation that is essential for development of their young minds and bodies. In 2019 all grade R children progressed to quality primary schools. Of those 87% illustrated a level of school readiness on par or better than their peers.

Our bridging class caters for children 7 years and older that have never been to school. This class aims to provide learners with the basic educational tools required for them to later be included into main-stream educational institutions. During 2019, four of our bridging class children made such commendable academic progress that they are now in various grades at a quality mainstream school. Three children (from our first group of bridging class) completed mainstream primary school (grade 7) and are all now enrolled at high school.

Desmond Sokhela runs our sports program in the afternoons. At present the children are participating in the local leagues for netball and soccer. Desmond has led his teams to various victories and is incredibly dedicated and proud of his pupils.

We Offer:

  • Small classes

  • Safe and secure environment

  • Qualified teachers

  • Regular medical assessments

NUTRITION

Whilst our long-term goal is to ensure children who receive help at Angels Care can receive a wholesome meal daily, we currently have a weekly feeding program that provides food for approximately 485 children. We provide daily meals to 135 school children during the week, this includes: Provision of breakfast and lunch to 75 preschool children and 10 bridging class children and provision of a meal to 50 learners that take part in our youth development program. A well planned menu is provided for all school learners attending educational programmes at the Centre to ensure they receive a balanced nutritional diet. To monitor their individual progress, their height, weight and general health is measured monthly throughout the year. This consistent monitoring enables our staff to ensure optimal growth and identify children who may suffer from chronic diseases.

Every Saturday morning 350 children flock to the Centre to enjoy their peanut butter and jam sandwiches, fruit and yoghurt. They also each take home a small food parcel to eat later or to share with their families.

There are many people who assist weekly with this program ably led by Anette Naicker. The donations of food from companies in and around Howick are invaluable and help us keep these little people fed.

What is provided:

  • Peanut butter and jam sandwiches

  • Fruit

  • Yoghurt

  • Any other donations received during that week

CRISIS CENTRE

Angels Care opened The Crisis Centre in July 2015 to help children who are survivors of gender-based violence, abuse and neglect.

You can read more about it here: Crisis Centre

Community Outreach

Whilst we hope to make a difference in the lives of many indigent children, we also try to focus on the individual needs of each and every child in our care. As part of our social outreach projects in the community we have managed to change the lives of children through numerous different initiatives.

EMOTIONAL & SPIRITUAL & PHYSICAL CARE

Many children who live in the terribly challenging conditions of the informal settlements unfortunately become victims of domestic and sexual abuse. A long-term goal of Angels Care is to provide a centre where these children can receive all the counselling and medical assistance they may require. In the meantime we do what we can….. An 11 year old female child was referred to Angels Care after she was sexually assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend/fiancé. Her mother decided to seek for help at her Church and was advised not to report and open a police case. Due to unfair judgment she felt from the senior Church members (Pastor’s wife) she decided to go to court and apply for a court order against her fiancé to protect the child. The mother was referred to a government hospital where medical examinations were conducted. Subsequently they were referred to Angels Care where our social worker intervened by interviewing both the child and the mother to hear their story. The Centre social worker, with the mother’s permission, then opened an official sexual assault case with the police. The perpetrator was arrested on the same day. Thereafter the child started with ongoing counseling sessions at Angels Care to which she has responded well. Home visits have been conducted to support and strengthen the relationship with the mother and the child and to provide additional support.

HEALTH CARE

Our professional nurse provides general health care to all children who attend the Centre including:

  • Referring sick children to the clinic;
  • Treatment of children with minor ailments;
  • Monthly developmental status assessments for all children who attend educational programmes, including constant monitoring of their height, weigh and head circumference – ensuring age appropriate milestones are met;
  • All child vaccinations are up to date;
  • Physical examination and treatment of victims of sexual and physical assault;
  • Screening, treatment and counselling for children suffering from HIV and TB;
  • Every pre-school child undergoes hearing and eye sight testing and are they fitted with glasses when needed.

Many children need individualised health care and we help out wherever possible. Their needs differ from requirements for specialised surgery, mental health, access to opticians and audiologists, to everyday accidents that happen in the home or at school. A child with cerebral palsy who attends our Bridging Class has undergone extensive surgery and physiotherapy due to the intervention of our nursing sister and the Community Care Givers at the Centre. As a result he is now able to walk unassisted and is making better academic progress.

PROVISION OF CLOTHING AND BLANKETS

The KwaZulu-Natal Midlands has extremely harsh winters with frost almost every morning. Our children who live in extreme poverty have little or no access to warm clothing or blankets and every winter we receive donations from kind people in the community who lovingly knit or donate sweaters, scarves, woollen hats and even make beautiful colourful blankets for us to distribute.

ASSISTANCE FOR FOREIGN NATIONALS

Whenever possible we attempt to provide children who arrive in South Africa as refugees from our neighbouring countries, and who cannot attend our government schools, with an education. An example of this is when our community caregivers became aware of four abandoned children from Malawi who were in a desperate state and with no one to help them. One of the older children received individual classes from one of our volunteers for four years and then joined classes offered at a night school. The Angels Care staff also assisted the family with obtaining the relevant documentation they required for the other three children to attend school.