We are looking forward to an exciting year 2018! Already in January, we faced some changes in our Vrygrond Computer Lab. We had to say our goodbyes to our old Lab Manager, Linamandla. He has supported the Lab since 2013 and become Lab Manager in 2016. But we are also happy to welcome our new Lab Manager, Chwayitile, who started in his new position in January. We look forward to working with him and also had some questions for him.
Welcome, Chwayitile. Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, your education and things you like to do.
I am Chwayitile Kiva and I was born in King Williams Town in the Eastern Cape Province in 1994. This is also the place where I grew up. From the early age I have developed leadership skills during open sport programs at school.
I attended primary school in my home village Ntonga and went to the Lukhozi High School afterwards. After Grade 10 I changed to Archie Velile High School, which is where I became captain for rugby team in 2010 and sport president 2011.
2013 I moved to Vrygrond in the Western Cape. 2016 I attended the False Bay Technical and Vocational Education and Training as a student of the Public Management program to further my studies at False Bay College.
I like reading newspapers and watching the news, because I always want to stay informed of what it is happening in my country and other countries as well. When I am at home I often watch sports, especially rugby, soccer and cricket.
What connects you with the Vrygrond Computer Lab?
What connects me with the lab is that we are sharing the common vision “Giving opportunity to community members to develop themselves by using IT”.
What are your goals for the first year in your new position?
My goals for this year in my position is to learn and ensure the efficient running of the Lab and that the courses are taking place at the Lab. I will also focus on the recruitment of more community members for the Basic Computer Course. As a Lab Manager I want to provide the best Basic Computer Course to our students.
What would you expect from volunteers coming to the Vrygrond Computer Lab?
Volunteers and Lab manager should maintain professional relationship, to ensure effective and efficient running of the lab. Volunteers should be acknowledging the separation of duties.
What do you wish for the Vrygrond Community?
The Vrygrond Community members must feel free to come and profit from the best services we are offering, so that they can develop themselves through IT. My wish is that more investors are coming to shape the future of Vrygrond Community through skills development.
It’s all been very quiet on our website and social media in 2017. We haven’t been good enough at keeping our followers updated. I’m sorry for that. But – good things have been happening and I feel now is a good time to update everyone as to what is going on.
Most importantly – the students have just completed their second term at high school and everything has been running smoothly. The students are continuing to adapt to their new schools and what is expected of them, but most importantly, they are all enjoying it. School fees were paid upfront at the beginning of the school year and the transportation for the students has run well. However, as with any young organisation, we’ve had a few teething problems in terms of how much we’re paying for the transport, how many trips we run, extra-curricular activities etc. We’re working hard with the students’ families and the community to ensure we sort out these problems for 2018 and beyond.
2018 and beyond…
Although we would love to continue to offer scholarship opportunities to more students each year, we are limited by funding and transportation. As of now, we have 15 scholarship students and our transportation is a 15-seater vehicle. Therefore – we will be continuing to work and focus on these 15 students year on year; developing not only their academics but also their character. Next year we intend to offer more focus groups and more opportunities for their personal development.
Our current focus is on finding cheaper transportation for 2018 and securing funding for the school fees of our students. We have now entered the second half of 2017 and we’re back focusing on raising money for the 2018 school fees and transport. If you can – please help us raise the funds for the school fees and transport by donating here: https://levanafund.com
We are always looking at ways to raise funds for the students – so please do get in touch if you can help in any way 😊
Always good and love to all
A few weeks’ ago, we had the opportunity to take the scholarship students for a day out at GrandWest in Cape Town. After a fantastic ice skating trip there in January – we decided we’ve take the students bowling this time.
Trips like these are so important so that we can catch up with the students and how they are doing. But it’s also an opportunity to have some fun and relax during the school holidays.
We started the day by picking the students up from their homes early on a Thursday morning. We all packed into the 15 seater school bus and set off on the 30 minute drive to GrandWest.
Most of the students had never had the chance to go bowling before so this was a great opportunity to try something new. For the first few rounds, the students were loving it, cheering each other after every turn and clapping when someone would get a spare or a strike!
After 10 rounds – it was Anastasia who ended up winning, scoring over 100 points! And she did that even with crutches!
After the bowling, we had the opportunity to sit down and have some food. It really was a fantastic opportunity to sit down with all the students and just talk about everything – from school to friends to boys to sports – we really got a chance to just relax and enjoy each others company. With all the changes in their lives, the students are really handling everything extremely well and continue to show fantastic character and drive.
After lunch, it was time to head back home. But not before we had the chance to meet the Nando’s Chicken and take a few pictures. While we were waiting for the transport – the students also showed us a new game called 3 sticks. It’s such a simple game, but so much fun and all you need is 3 sticks and some energy. After a good 20 minutes playing 3 sticks – the transport arrived and we had to say goodbye to the students.
Trips like these serve as a great reminder that these students are extremely special people and are going to do some great things.
We can’t wait to do it again soon!
Always good and love to all,
We have always said we wanted to create something sustainable, something that would make a difference, something that was driven by the community.
Today, we have taken a huge step forward on the way to doing just that. Today, we announce our partnership with initiAID.
Nowadays, there are so many different charities, doing so much valuable work for so many different causes. After months of talking and working together, both initiAID and The Compass Trust board members agreed that we would be able to make more of an impact if we worked together.
The Compass Trust has been built on partnership and people coming together. Since it’s birth, TCT has contacted many organisations in the area to try and establish different partnerships. In January 2016, initial conversations with a German Non-Profit Organisation called initiAID took place. initiAID runs a computer lab, with the support of University of Cape Town and University of Pforzheim (Germany), in Vrygrond/ Capricorn a township adjacent to Lavender Hill. As a shortage of skills and computer literacy remains a major crisis in South Africa’s work environment the Computer Lab is equipped with 20 computers to provide comprehensive IT support for professional and personal life.
Striving to be an IT competence center, the Lab offers members of the community to can engage in courses, training and volunteering. The vision of this project is to give opportunities to community members to develop themselves by using IT. It provides computer lessons to young people, accounting classes to adults, CV assistance and much more.
The goals of initiAID are identical to that of The Compass Trust, sustainable impact, transparency, long term relationships and thereby breaking the cycle of unemployment and poverty. After a few meetings and some productive discussions, it was decided that 5 of their board members would join The Compass Trust board of trustees and initiAID would merge with The Compass Trust in South Africa. With more than 60 members in Germany, mainly students of Pforzheim University, they will help us to manage, fund and further develop our projects. The computer lab is now a project of The Compass Trust, delivered in partnership with initiAID. Better Together.
In February 2015, The Compass Trust was merely an idea. As of December 2016, we have 15 children who will have access to better quality education at high quality institutions. We have provided over R30,000 of sports equipment to an under resourced school in Lavender Hill. We have gained an international following of over 1,100 people. We have a computer lab helping those who want a better future.
We are still proudly South African. Jamie, TCT board member, grew up in Mitchell’s Plain and went to Muizenberg High School, where 6 of our scholarship children will be attending. Jamie drives both our computer lab and scholarship projects on the ground. The maintenance and delivery of projects in the computer lab are also driven by a local community member. Mathili Zwane, another one of our board members, is also from South Africa.
The Compass Trust board consists of 2 South African passports, 2 German passports, an Austrian passport, a British passport and a Spanish passport. Better Together.
We have done a lot in 18 months, but we have so much more we need to do to make a sustainable impact. We want to ensure we have the funding to continue to allow children to benefit from scholarships to not only high school, but then on to university. We want to make sure our computer lab is offering any assistance the people of Capricorn and Lavender Hill need. We want to expand our sports program to not only sports equipment, but to also provide a sports field to these communities that deserve opportunity.
The Compass Trust wants to continue to provide the tools to help people living in poverty navigate the way to a brighter future. Together.
We will continue to update all our supporters as much as possible about the progression of the scholarship children and the computer lab. With a lot of hard work and focus, 2017 could be a vital year in ensuring we are making the largest positive impact possible.
We have relied on the support of individuals who have a passion to make a difference. To those people who have supported us, whether through their words, ambassadorships, or donations we want to say a massive thank you for your continued support.
On behalf of everyone involved with The Compass Trust, I want to wish you all a very Happy New Year!
Here’s a video with a little more information!
Always good and love to all,
The year is finally coming to an end which is exciting news for us at The Compass Trust, as we get ever closer to the children starting their new high schools in January! 9 of our scholarship children will be attending Cape Academy, and 6 will be attending Muizenberg, both fee paying schools.
Here’s an interesting statistic as to why this is so important:
Grade 8 students attending fee-charging schools are up to 4 times more likely to qualify for university than those attending no-fee schools.
Your support means that our scholarship children are now 4 times more likely to qualify for University!
The learners are finishing up their final exams and we are sure with their hard work, they will continue to flourish academically. It’s obviously a very stressful period for both teachers and students but everyone is starting to get excited for the summer holidays!
We are currently putting plans in place regarding the learners transportation to and from school as well as mentoring/focus groups for the learners as they enter high school next year.
We have some big, game-changing news coming in January, so please keep your eyes peeled!
Thank you all for your continuous support for the learners, because of you they will have a better education and a brighter future.
The Compass Trust has been officially handed over to South African hands now. We’ve concluded our P.E. program by providing the teachers at the school all the materials and supplies they need to provide fun exercise for their kids at least once a week. We’ve designed a structured program for them that gives both the teachers and the kids a well-deserved break. This is crucial for any sense of sustainability that doesn’t rely on international volunteers to come and work in such a relatively high-risk environment.
Unfortunately, there have been several shootings this term outside the school premises. I remember one day in particular where 3 separate classes had to be ended early due to gun fire going off nearby. Each time the kids only reluctantly got on the ground, or did so in a goofy manner to show off their nonchalant attitude towards their normalized reality. What’s worse, is that outside the school you could see not only children running away from the gun shots as they’re walking home, but also a shocking amount of people running towards where the bullets were coming from to see the action. For many it seemed as though this was live entertainment. Perhaps this helps illustrate how the gangsterism in Lavender Hill is truly ingrained into the fabric of the society, making it all that much more difficult to alleviate. There was even one day where classes got out early because some gang leaders had called the schools and told them that they were planning on having a face-off in the afternoon and they didn’t want any of the kids to get caught in the crossfire as they’re walking home from school. This certainly elicited many mixed feelings on my part.
Despite the grim picture I may paint for you of Lavender Hill, there is an unspoken beauty of the place that is often not deemed important enough to be focused on by local news outlets, resulting in an unbalanced negative image that many have of the area and the people inside of it. This is why many days I’ve waited upwards of 40 minutes to get an Uber to or from the school just because of what many fear will happen to them if they just enter the area. Many people are surprised to hear about the kindness and appreciation I face every day from the people at the school and the potential that lies within. For example, Levana just placed FIRST in the Growsmart Literacy Competition that rewarded them with 250,000 ZAR as well iPads, a Macbook Pro, and specialized assistants who are there to help teachers learn how to utilize technology in their classrooms. If the statistics from the improvements in other schools that have been rewarded with similar resources holds true for Levana Primary, it’s likely that we will have many more academically gifted students to potentially give scholarships to in the future.
On top of all this, the teachers and staff at Levana give me so much hope for the area. The work they do is incredible, and truly cannot be understated. I have said many goodbyes in my life, but the ones I’ve had to say a few days ago were some of the most difficult. After being a notoriously troublesome kid during my primary school days, I never would have expected to receive so much love and acceptance from a group of teachers in my life (half kidding!)
For the sake of honesty, I should mention that the biggest regret during my time in Cape Town was not being able to find a solidified sponsor for the transport that the 15 scholarship kids will need for their next term to and from their respective high schools. While we still have a feasible back-up plan that is a bit more costly and inconvenient, We still remain optimistic about this possibility because we’ve got some solid leads in various companies who might sponsor a designated transport van for us. We have also learned that our search-for-a-sponsor timing was very unfortunate due to many companies already having designated their tax-deductible funds elsewhere in the beginning of the year. This next fiscal year we will be ready with plenty of resources at our disposal that should prove fruitful.
One of these resources we’ll be using is a Compass Trust video that is directed towards potential South African sponsors as well as interviews of each of our 15 sponsorship kids that can be used for each of their tuitions and the future of their educational pursuits through Levana Fund. Using much of the same footage (and much more that I have been acquiring over the last few months) I plan on also making an overview video of what The Compass Trust is all about, which will be directed towards a more international audience providing ways to get involved, contribute, and empathize with our cause. We are confident that these digital tools are crucial for not just grabbing the attention of sponsors, but also by getting them as excited as we are about the opportunities for good that we can help create together. Videos are a great medium for conveying as much information as possible with the least amount of effort required by the viewer. If marketed correctly, we can exponentially increase our network and subsequently the good we can do on the ground in various townships through grassroots educational means.
On the topic of videos, which has been the majority of what my work has involved outside of teaching, I’ve finished 3 videos for the Vrygrond Community Lab run by InitiAID. One is a recap of our Braai we held, which I should mention was a great success and we managed to get some solid statistics within Capricorn and Lavender Hill that we can also use in proposals for potential sponsors in the future. The other two videos are short, catchy advertisements that can be used to target demographics on social media to spread awareness of the free courses offered at the VCL to help alleviate the computer illiteracy in these areas.
We’ve also been continuing to develop our informal partnership with the Surf Outreach in Muizenberg to get the kids attending classes at the VCL learning computer skills. Most excitingly, the Surf Outreach and I have been working on a rap song for the past two months, and I have recently finished editing all the footage taken over the past 4 months for the music video. Follow @the_surf_outreach on Instagram to see the hype and find out where you can see the finished product once it’s live online. We had SO much fun working on it, and it’s trilingual– we have verses in English, Xhosa, and Afrikaans all rapped by different kids in the Surf Outreach about the realities of their home life and what Surfing does for them. It’s objectively awesome, stay tuned. (;
I played the finished product for the kids just before I left, and they ended up watching it no less than seven times in a row. I believe this opened their eyes to their own talents, potential, and the possibilities they are capable of outside of just surfing at the Outreach. After seeing this awakening in their eyes, I put music-making software on their laptops at the Outreach as well as downloaded several tutorial videos from youtube for offline watching that tells them everything they need to know to make a song/beat and sing/rap over it. In the near future, I’m sure some of them will find an equal or even greater outlet in music as they do in surfing. This aligns quite nicely with the holistic vision of a supportive environment that the Surf Outreach seeks to provide for its kids, and the overall goals of The Compass Trust.
As The Compass Trust moves forward now, we are confident that our 15 scholarship children who have been officially accepted to their high schools will continue to receive ample amounts of assistance and guidance through our mentorship programs. We are confident that their educations will continue to be funded through our ambassador program, and we are excited to implement our new digital marketing tools to fulfill the goals of this great organisation– if we may be so humble. (;
It’s been real Cape Town.
As part of our commitment to people have supported us, we promised to release a blog each month. Jamie and Josh are doing fantastic work at growing and expanding TCT on the ground. We have had blogs from not only myself, but also Josh and Lara. Unfortunately, I am no longer in South Africa, and I will leave the updates on the ground to Josh and Jamie for now.
However, I can give you a brief overview of how everything with TCT is going 🙂
What Are We Doing?
We aim to have the six tasks above fully completed by January 2017.
Day-to-day, we continue to work on improving everything we are doing. We have a big team of around 17 people (7 board members, 2 employees and 8 ambassadors), not to mention the many people who continue to support us voluntarily and financially.
We have some really exciting developments coming up. We have been working on them for a while now, but over the coming months, everything will become public 🙂 ! Hopefully our next blog will be more informative!
Stick with us and we hope we continue to make you all proud of what we are doing.
Always good and love to all,
This has been a crazy few weeks here in the Cape Flats. The Compass Trust has trusted me to carry on many of the non-admin-related responsibilities that Matt had been doing alone, although he's too humbled to own up to the sheer amount of work he has taken upon himself & the initiative required for him to complete as much as he has over the last year. His passion for this project and these local partnerships is nothing short of inspiring. It's a surreal experience to have to begin each P.E. Class by reminding the children that if we're outside and gun shots go off, we must immediately hit the ground and stay there until I give the signal for us to go back inside, at which time class is cut short. This happened on Monday, where gun shots went off just outside the school's fenced-off playground. Most of the kids were giggling flat on the ground, while some kids were still standing trying to see which gang was doing the shooting, and only reluctantly got on the ground when I yelled at them. Luckily, the gunshots lasted only for a moment and didn't continue throughout the rest of day. This is the sad, normalized reality for many of them who have immediate relatives and friends who are part of these gangs. Many of these 10 to 14 year old kids see their only perceivable future beyond the three meter walls of the school. I asked them why they were laughing when we went back inside. It fell silent. None of them had an answer. I took off my sunglasses and looked them all in the eyes, got on their level, and asked again as sincerely I could, telling them there's no wrong answer; I just didn't understand what was funny. Still nothing. Before sending them back to their classroom I explained to them how this shouldn't be normal for them. They deserve to live in an environment where they're not under fear of falling under crossfire from gangsters with terrible aim. It's up to them to resist the temptation coming from their friends and families to join these gangs, because it's terrible for everyone in the community– not just our P.E. Class. They were much more solemn when I dismissed them. I suspect their laughter is a coping mechanism to deal with the harsh realities they face at home and at school. Perhaps the anecdote above might help explain why there are so few NGO's and NPO's working in this area due to the high level of risk for any kind of self-funded volunteer program. I have to say though, I love working working with the kids here; they have so much resilience and strength. I love being able to see how The Compass Trust's work is so vital for sustainably and effectively alleviating the cycle of poverty within Lavender Hill by tapping into this resilience of these kids' upbringings and showing them a way to a better future through higher education. Before I continue about what exactly we've been doing in The Compass Trust and our formal/informal partnerships, perhaps a little context about myself might be appropriate. I'm an American citizen, brought up in California, Texas, and the Netherlands where I met Matt and we played on the same soccer team for some years. Matt and I hadn't really spoken much for the last 8 years or so, but our paths had paralleled in many ways and we remained Facebook friends, as people do. Both of us had similar humbling experiences that made us ask the difficult existential questions like "what impact do I want my life to make in this world; what makes me feel fulfilled?". While trying to answer these questions, we were subsequently led to parts of the world outside our comfort zone to start our own initiatives. Our aims were similar, create outside-the-box sustainable programs that could continue their growth while alleviating problems in areas that would never affect us if we hadn't taken the time to care. I attribute this to a strong sense of solidarity-without-borders which arose from having the opportunity to grow up internationally. The initiative I started is in Palestine where I found much of what I had learned about the "conflict" from an American perspective simply wasn't true, and took the unique approach of starting a recycling business there to create sustainable difference and alleviate some of the socio-political problems there at the same time. While there, I found myself in stressful situations where I heard gun shots and excessive amounts of tear gas being fired at protestors on their own land. This is probably what qualified me to come work here in Lavender Hill, although I must say the gun shots from pistols sound significantly different than semi-automatic military grade weapons. Still, as one of the teachers here told me, "these bullets have no name on them, they will fire anywhere and kill anyone who might be unlucky enough to be in the way". Anyway, enough about that; let me tell you about all the positive developments that we have been up to lately. (: Over the past few weeks, Jamie and myself have begun sending out proposals to various companies hoping they might have tax-deductible CSI money to give so that we can provide the transport necessary for the 15 scholarship kids. If you keep up with this blog I'm sure you may be familiar with the concept, but we're trying to provide the transport for these kids so they can get picked up within a walking distance from home. We don't want to ask too much of these kids' parents, but at the same time we're not just giving away free handouts without any effort and communication expected. It's a fine balance to find, but in our meeting last Friday at Levana Primary, Jamie and Ms. Charity helped deliver inspirational discussions on what we expect from the parents in cooperation with what we're providing. Jamie's testimony on how he's made something of his life after growing up in Mitchell's Plain (another notoriously poor township) through the help from his parents always encouraging and being there for him by investing in his future. Something in the parents shifted during that powerful meeting, and it was strong enough to be felt. I'm so confident in what we're doing here, and what will continue to be done for the future of these 15 kids. In regards to developments on the transportation, we have a few more potential leads with various local sports drinks, banks, and the national lottery that we are currently working on sending proposals to, and we feel confident we'll have something solidified in the next month. This Saturday, the 30th, we have organized a Braai (South African BBQ) at the Vrygrond Community Lab for a quite a few reasons. In essence, In no particular order these are: 1. We can advertise the computer courses we're providing for all ages and skills (many have zero experience using a computer) 2. We can break down the barrier many might have of actually stopping by the VCL to see what we're all about, and also associate good times, community, & food with the potential learning environment. 3. We have created a one-page survey in English, Afrikaans, and Xhosa that must be filled out in order for them to receive free food that asks which, if any, bank they use, why they don't have a bank. We plan on using these for statistical purposes to be part of our proposals to the Banks around here who could benefit from sponsoring a transportation van for the 15 scholarship kids from Lavender Hill. 4. I will be getting lots of footage to use for a short advertisement I'll be making for the VCL (more about that later). We're pretty excited about the event, and our plan is to do it every 2 - 3 months in the future. There's plenty of incentives we're providing for people to come, from a local DJ & guest speaker to prizes such as free computer courses or an even an extra computer we have, as well as free food and drink provided upon the completion of the survey mentioned above. Our social media accounts for the VCL have been up and running and gaining new followers and exposure every day since I set them up a few weeks ago. While many do not have access to computers, the advent of cheap smartphone technology has made it possible to connect many within these communities through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and Twitter. We've taken advantage of this to encourage people to try the computer courses we've been developing with InitiAID. In the last few weeks we've built some solid syllabi that teach all kinds of basic computer skills from hardware functions to software navigation; we've even developed an introductory course for programming. One of my skills/hobbies that is being utilized here is my video production experience. I've taken on the job of producing a short, catchy video for the Vrygrond Community Lab as a way to advertise further to the community in the form of something that can be shared between smart phones without costing too much data. I also plan on making a video for The Compass Trust, to basically summarize what the Non-Profit is all about, what our motivations are, and where we hope to go in the future. I've been busy collecting all kinds of B-Roll & interview footage for this, and will soon be getting interview footage of Jamie as well to use in the video. Our plan is to get Jamie's wife Celeste to do the voice-over narration so that we can further emphasize how this is a South African project empowering people locally from within these communities. We also plan on getting interview footage of each of these 15 scholarship kids with the intention of putting them up on their recently-launched Levana page (see: www.levanafund.com) so that people helping these kids get through school can perhaps have a better human-connection to who they're helping. In addition, we hope that each of these kids will be able to someday look back on themselves and see what their goals were should they ever feel discouraged, and serve as a motivational tool for when school gets increasingly difficult to continue working as hard as they do to create a better future for themselves. On the side, I've been working with the Surf Outreach here in Muizenberg, helping with some of these kids by doing basic music therapy in drum circles and hip-hop workshops. Hopefully we'll have something really cool coming down the pipes in the next month in the form of a music video. I'd like to encourage anyone reading this to find their own passions and skills that can be used to help others. Especially in today's global political climate it can feel helpless, but it's crucial to find what makes you fulfilled and pursue it, because that inner sense of contentment won't come through mind-numbing distractions and escapist pursuits. All these things come with patience and diligent efforts, but honestly, I must say I have the best job(s) in the world & I'm right where I'm supposed to be. In Solidarity, Josh
June was an incredibly productive month for The Compass Trust. We helped launch Levana, an initiative set up by Lluis Blanc (board member) and Rickard Sunden. Levana allows people to view profiles of the children that we work with and gives the option to donate to put money directly towards their tuition fees. We’ve already raised over $1800USD through Levana, which is an unbelievable way to start our partnership. We still need to raise more to help secure the future of The Compass Trust Scholarship children. Please have a look at www.levanafund.com if you are interested in helping create a better life for these extremely gifted children.
Not only that, we formed partnerships with 8 different ambassadors to help promote each child’s campaign. I want to thank Iva, Devyn, Raul, Oleg, Nikie, Mikaila, Erik and Diego for agreeing to help spread The Compass Trust’s message across the globe to help create a brighter future for the Lavender Hill community.
Mikaila, our Canadian Ambassador, created an 11 minute video explaining what TCT has been up to this year. She did an absolutely phenomenal job and has helped us out from the beginning. Without Mikaila, TCT would not be what it is today. Check out the video here: https://vimeo.com/170473485
Levana Primary School has been in exam period for the last couple of weeks and finally finished on June 24. This is the half way point in the school year, which means it is vital that The Compass Trust keeps a close eye on the scholarship children and making sure their grades meet the standard which they have set for themselves.
What We’ve Achieved This Year
Now that I will be coming back to Europe, it feels only right to summarise where we are as an organisation.
– Supplied over 30,000 Rand ($2,000 USD) of sports equipment to Levana Primary School.
– Taught 3 academic terms of physical education classes and assistance.
– Assisted 6 children’s successful applications into Muizenberg High School.
– Assisted 9 children’s successful applications into Cape Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology — South Africa is ranked 148th in maths and science, which helps vindicate what we are doing in helping the children gain acceptances into Cape Academy of Maths and Science.
– Helped launch Levana.
– Connected with 8 international ambassadors to spread the word of TCT and to represent a specific child to help fund their education.
– initiAID partnership —We have partnered with a german organisation that runs a computer lab in Capricorn (township next to Lavender Hill). Three of their board members have joined The Compass Trust. They will help us keep everything going in regards to the scholarship and sports programs. It is all very presumptuous right now, but we hope to officially announce something special in the future 🙂
A huge welcome to our three new board members from initiAID, Yannik, Sascha and Jamie! And another special welcome to Josh Dauer who will be working with TCT on the ground South Africa until October!!
What happens now?
Our new South African board member, Jamie, will basically take over everything I have been working on. The Scholarship children start their new schools in January 2017 and Jamie will be working with them and their families to ensure they are prepared for what lies ahead. Jamie is originally from Mitchell’s Plain and currently works at the University of Cape Town. He is an inspiration for the children and will do a magnificent job in helping the children prepare for next year. Providing we find the funding, we will look to have a new intake of children applying for high schools next year. Jamie will now work on finding transport for the children and helping with any needs the children or their families may have.
The sports equipment we bought has been left with the school so that they can use it at their own digression. We will be in constant contact with them if there is any need for any other equipment that could benefit the school or the community. Our PE classes will continue until October with Josh Dauer coming in and helping the teachers with PE lesson ideas and getting the children outside at least once a week. In October this may well be transferred over to the teachers so that there is a sustainable plan in place for making sure each child gets at least 1 hour of physical education each week.
The Compass Trust belongs to South Africa. Jamie, Mathili and other initiAID volunteers will help grow our program going forward and assist with the needs of the children and youth of Lavender Hill. We will continue to have our monthly board meetings and we are constantly in contact via whatsapp to make sure everything is running smoothly, and to make sure we are all going in the right direction.
So all in all, even though I will be returning to Europe, The Compass Trust continues to grow and develop. With your help, we can continue to try and make a positive impact of Lavender Hill.
Thank you so much to everyone that has been a part of The Compass Trust journey so far. To those who have donated, become ambassadors, sent messages of support, The Compass Trust would not exist without you and you have allowed us the platform to change people’s lives for the better. Thank you to Dave and Fiona for helping get me to SA in the first place and thank you to Ant, Surf Outreach manager for allowing me to work with children that I have known for a few years now.Thank you so much to the Principal of Levana Primary School, Andre Lamprecht. He took a massive risk in letting a 22 year old come through and try and create something in partnership with his school. I hope we have repaid his faith.
So, that’s it for me in South Africa for now! The Compass Trust is in safe hands in South Africa and I look forward to helping TCT develop and still being involved on a day to day basis, just from a few thousand miles away.
My heart is forever with Lavender Hill and my love for South Africa grows everyday. It is a beautiful country, both the nature and the people. It faces many challenges, but none that they are not capable of solving. South Africans will be the ones who change their country for the better and to help those in poverty into brighter futures. People like Jamie, like the children we have provided scholarships for, they are the future and they are the ones who will make a difference in this beautiful country they call home.
And while I will always be involved, The Compass Trust is yours, South Africa.
Always good and love to all,
For the past four months, I have been working at Levana Primary in Lavender Hill. I remember that what struck me most on my first day, was not the area or debilitating circumstances that these children live in like most would think, but rather the warmth and happiness of all the students and teachers alike. This warmth was a complete juxtaposition to their surroundings which were dilapidated and bare.
I am South African and have lived in Cape Town since I was 15 (I am now 23); in all this time I had never set foot into a township, and especially not Lavender Hill which is notorious for its crime, violence, drugs and gangsterism. I’ve lost count of the amount of shootings that occurred just across road from the school, during school hours. My fifteen year old self would never have envisioned that I would be willingly driving into an area that has been compared to a war zone, every day for two school terms. I can happily say that I regret nothing, and that meeting these children and helping them in some small way to overcome their circumstances has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
Every misconception that I had, was quickly replaced with a sense of awe as these children proved to me that all I had thought was wrong. I expected to walk into a school with naughty delinquent children that would be a projection of the circumstances that they were living in. I was so wrong. I came to realise that these children, are just like any other children; they laugh, play and hurt just like any other child would. If I hadn’t come into the school and known that some of these children have had very difficult upbringings, I would never have guessed it myself. They have never let their circumstances get the better of them and have a strength in them that overcomes every obstacle thrown their way.
I am so incredibly happy that some of these children will now be getting a helping hand in overcoming their circumstances, through a scholarship to a good school. All the days of stressing and nagging the children to bring in their application forms and documents payed off. It is through education that people overcome their circumstances, and this is why the work that The Compass Trust is doing is so important. During my time at Levana, I did a leadership development class with some of the children in each class, from grade 4-7. I really bonded with the children in this time and I hope that they took some of what I taught to them to heart, and will use it to create better futures for themselves.
My time at Levana has been one to remember. From the sweet little letters from the children, to across the road shootings, there has never been a dull moment- although I won’t be missing the latter. I truly hope that The Compass Trust becomes as much of a success as I know it can be, not for any other reason than to be the stepping stone for these children out of Lavender Hill and into a better life filled with prosperity and opportunities. These children deserve it. They have made such an impact on my own life, and I know that I will be keeping in contact with them in the future. My time at Levana and with The Compass Trust will never be forgotten; the image of warmth and smiles from the children will always remind me that no matter your circumstances, you always have the power to choose how you want to respond.
We thought the children at Levana Primary School would struggle to get acceptances into the better quality high schools.
The good news is, we were wrong. The bad news is, education costs money. 14 Levana children have been accepted into schools they would not have had the chance to attend without your help. 9 children have been accepted into Cape Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology ($300USD each).
The CAMST Principal came into Levana and presented to the children and their parents, as well as meeting with them if they had any questions. After that meeting we had it confirmed that as long as the children keep up their academic performance, they will be accepted for the CAMST Grade 8 Class in 2017.
5 students ($1,000USD each) have currently been accepted into Muizenberg High School, a local expensive high school, but with great facilities and opportunities for the children. These schools will open so many doors for the children going forward and will give them a shot at further study or at least a better quality job. Lara, our teacher, deserves a huge amount of credit for all these acceptances, the work she has done is phenomenal.
We are trying to put resources and money into breaking the cycle between the primary school and high school. If we get them into better quality high schools, these children will have the chance at university education, better jobs and sure if they “get out” of lavender hill, that is great. But our ultimate goal is to get them to be leaders within their communities and find ways to help those in Lavender Hill who also want to make better lives for themselves. The leaders and those who are going to change Lavender Hill aren’t people like me and coming and kicking a ball around with the children. It is these children who live in sometime traumatising circumstances, but choose to learn and choose to better themselves and make the right choices. These are the people who are going to change Lavender Hill, and communities ridden by poverty around the world. Those who have every opportunity to take the wrong path, but choose the right one. And not only choose the right path, but make their own path.
We need your help. We have helped children at Levana with their high school applications and will offer them scholarships.
We have worked with 21 children. 9 have got in to Cape Academy of Maths and Science, 5 into Muizenberg HS, we may well have more by the end of the year.
Overall, we may need £15,000, €19,000 $21,000, each year. We want to help cover costs of school uniform, transportation costs, stationery as well as the scholarships themselves. We will continue to monitor the children’s progress throughout high school and beyond and keep those who donated up to date on their progress.
Someone who has already raised a huge amount of money for the Levana children’s scholarships, is Hannah Berendson. Hannah has been a huge support ever since TCT began, and she created an event called Cocktails for a Cause. Around 40 friends and family came together and raised $750. Right there, Hannah and co. have put 2 children through Cape Academy of Mathematics, Science and Technology for a full year. I want to use this part of the blog to say a huge thank you to Hannah, Meghdeep and those who attended the event and helped raise that huge amount of money.
People often ask the easiest way to donate. The easiest way for the donor is definitely by donating to campaigns on crowdfunding sites, they make it as easy as possible.
My mum is running the Leiden Half Marathon in May and if you would like to help her reach her target of £1,000, please visit the following link and donate what you can! Even if you can’t donate, please send her your love and support 🙂
The Sports program continues as usual. However, my godmother Christine raised a huge amount of money (17,000 Rand) to be specifically used on Sports Equipment. We have already supplied the school with a lot of equipment, but Levana has recently become involved in yearly inter-school athletics. They have previously had to borrow sports equipment from other schools, but Christine’s donation means that they now have shot-puts, discus‘, relay batons and even high jump equipment at their disposal for whenever they want to use it! Thank you Christine.
On a personal note, Mikaila, a good friend of mine, and huge supporter of TCT came over to help us out. She’s been working so hard on a video that you will all be able to see very soon 🙂
Keep and eye out for that!
Always good and love to all.
The first term at Levana has ended.
Physical education focused on bat and ball games this term. Baseball, Softball and cricket were just some of the games we played throughout the first 10 weeks.
More importantly, however, we completed all our high school applications.
We have a group of 21 students with whom we worked with. We handed in 45 separate applications to 4 different high schools. The annual high school fees for these schools are between R7,000-R16,000 ($450-$1050USD). These schools are much better-resourced and have a higher quality of education in comparison to the high schools these children would have attended in the immediate vicinity of Lavender Hill. Muizenberg High School is about 10 times the price of Lavender Hill High School, for example.
Most of the parents of these children will be earning around 1USD per hour if they are lucky. They would only be able to afford the types of high schools that we are helping them apply to, after 1,000 hours of work. That is without paying for food, rent, etc.
So, now we sit and we wait for responses. We helped the children complete their applications to the best of their ability, so now we hope for acceptances. If we get the acceptances, we will then start fundraising for as many scholarships as possible.
As for the next couple of months, we will continue our physical education as normal with a soccer unit.
Our teacher, Lara, will not only continue in the school, but she will also help provide teaching/administrative services to the Surf Outreach in Muizenberg.
And that leads us into my last 3 months in South Africa.
And finally. I’d like to say another thank you to all the people that have supported us, not only through their kind comments and words of support, but also to the people who have fundraised and donated money to The Compass Trust. Thank you so much to the Van Wyk family who have supported us from day one. My godmother Christine and her daughter Hannah, as well as Erik Fladager have also raised a huge amount of money for us to keep the program going.
Keep an eye on our “Our Finances” page to see exactly how your donations have been used in the coming months. We have come a long way since last July, but we’ve got so much to do in these next 3 months to create a sustainable program for when we leave. I look forward to sharing the journey with you all.
Always good and love to all.