Each year, Action Africa awards grants to African organizations whose projects serve vulnerable women, children and families. In 2020, our inaugural year, we proudly awarded funding to four worthy organizations.
Amos Youth Centre (AYC) opened in Kafue, Zambia in 2006 to provide academic, leadership, and community service programs to youth ages 5 to 25. Over 400 youth take advantage of AYC on a daily basis. In March 2019, the “Read for Rose” Special Education Program was opened in partnership with one of AYC’s beneficiaries, Febby Choombe. AYC’s Scholarship Program opened the doors for Febby to earn her high school degree and a BA in Special Education from the University of Zambia. Febby has always had the dream to change the education landscape for students with special needs. She was inspired early on as she witnessed how few personal or community resources were available to a close relative of hers who has a special need.
Read for Rose provides language and occupational skills to special needs students. At this time, 14 young people are in the program with varying degrees of impairment: hearing impaired, visually impaired, cerebral palsy, spina bifida/hydrocephalus, epilepsy and intellectually challenged. Reaching the center is a daily challenge due to dirt roads and the annual rainy season makes the trek nearly impossible. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the students have not been able to attend at all. Febby and her teaching assistant, Annie, have relied on individual socially distanced home visits to keep the students engaged due to limited access to technology and internet.
The Action Africa award will make remote learning possible for these isolated children, as well as provide more opportunity to engage with their families. The funding will be used to purchase tablets and internet bundles, along with various individualized learning programs for all of these children, who then will be monitored daily by Febby and Annie. Exercises and homework will be shared with the students and their guardians, and every month the students will be assessed, not only to mark progress, but also to see what future tutoring or skills development is needed.
eKhaya eKasi means “home in the ‘hood” in isiXhosa. The Centre was established in 2008 in Khayelitsha (greater Cape Town), South Africa to serve as an oasis for families impacted by poverty and HIV/AIDS. Since then it has grown into a community service center that provides assistance to the vulnerable members of the community through its interdisciplinary program - skills development (including literacy), income generating (product development, marketing and sales), self-sustenance, and healthy living. (They created an “Edible Rooftop Garden” where they teach the community how to grow, use and sell organic plants.)
The Centre and the community were hit very hard by CoVid-19, and in the wake of the country’s lockdown the staff and volunteers used the facilities to provide hot lunches twice a week to 1,000 people at a time. They also have provided food parcels to the elderly who cannot come to the Centre, as well as basics such as masks for those who do.
Their grant will help continue this program, but also provide support for the staff as they plan for the “new normal,” and see how their resources, knowledge and facilities can continue to support their community.
Loving Classroom, South Africa, has been operating since 2016. Based on a model from England, and adjusted to meet the needs of the South African children between 7 and 18 years that they serve, Loving Classroom SA provides training and workbooks for teachers and children to understand and learn eight social and emotional skills: respect, compassion, listening, kindness, gratitude, love, friendship, and care. One skill is covered for each month of the school year. They serve the Township of Soweto, and the greater region of Gauteng, where there are over 20,000 students in 58 schools, and the goal of Loving Classroom is eventually to provide these skills to all.
Using pre- and post-tests, the program can now show it has had impressive impacts on participants’ behavior, such as: bullying reduced from 40% to 8% in classrooms, violence and fighting from 55% to 10%, tardiness from 40% to 4%, and drug/alcohol abuse from 45% to 10%.
During CoVid 19 lock down, the Loving Classroom team has:
• Delivered 6,700 food parcels feeding over 26,000 family members
• Prepared and served 5,600 warm chef-quality meals to 10 schools
• Delivered 10,000 litres of sanitizers
• Delivered 120,000 refuse bags to 58 schools
• Given warm soup and bread to 4,000 children
• Delivered 2,000 nutritious breakfast cereals
• Given study guides to 1,500 grade 12 learners
• Delivered 10,000 toilet paper rolls to 20 schools
• Given 20,000 surgical masks to 40 schools.
Now that schools are reopened, the Action Africa grant will help pay for the workbooks that teach, give examples and practice exercises for acquiring the social and emotional skills that are the heart of this program. At $2.50 per book, this will bring the program to 850 students, as well as their teachers and parents.
WCI, located in Livingstone, Zambia, began providing services in 2004 to help orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV and AIDS. Their programs have evolved to helping the families of vulnerable children become self-sustaining members of the community.
Over the years WCI has partnered with several local and international agencies. In 2017 they began the program for which they applied to Action Africa for support: The Women’s Livelihood Program empowers women to be economically independent so they can meet the daily needs of their families through various income generating activities.
This grant will contribute to the training of 100 women in producing sewn goods and peanut butter. The grant will cover the purchase of 2 sewing machines and 3 peanut butter-making machines that are simple and user-friendly, as well as seed money for raw materials and resources needed to produce goods, which then will be sold at eight local markets. (Zambia has not had a lock-down, and so public events, with mask-wearing, have continued.) After receiving five days of training, the women will work in groups of 20 to produce, package and market their goods. They then will be monitored by WCI every month and evaluated every three months.