Samara Foundation is about sowing seeds of opportunity in rural communities where access to quality education, resources and income opportunities are hard to come by. As we move into the new year and consider what needs we need to address in 2018, Samara would like to reflect on the opportunities shared in 2017, and what they have brought about.
Austrian Youth Group at Noluthando
In July a Christian Community youth group from Austria with some South African counterparts travelled to Alice in the Eastern Cape and spent several days at Noluthando, one of the crèches Samara works with, fixing up the building and meeting the community. In the middle of the week, a Community Day was held at the crèche and traditional Xhosa cooking smells filled the grounds as laughter, drumming and running feet could be heard. The youth shared some traditional Austrian songs which was met with much cheering and an impromptu reply from the local Xhosa choir. While the youth group left a physical mark on the crèche, the more important mark was left in the hearts of the community and Samara.
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Samara hosted a teachers’ workshop in October and focused on craft activities that not only support the different developmental phases of the children but also make use of recycled items. Stilts were made out of tin cans, hand puppets out of old socks, crocheting and knitting was done using plastic bags or old t-shirts, scrap fabric was used for weaving, paper mâché bowls were made out of newspaper and toilet rolls were repurposed into fun paintbrushes or different shapes. The workshop ended with a visioning session on how each teacher would like their crèche to look in 5 years’ time, which they had to draw. Some fun ideas emerged, as well as common threads for every crèche. Together with the teachers and the crèche committees, these ‘vision boards’ are what Samara would like to work towards.
In 2018 we will be intensifying the work with the teachers and will be hosting an extended course for them, looking at topics such as nutrition, safe and healthy environments, craft and handwork and everyday activities to support the children’s development.
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Samara believes that safe, inviting spaces are important for the children to thrive and develop, so resources and time were put into improving the infrastructure of the crèches with which Samara works. At the end of 2017 we had:
- completed toilets at three crèches
- two crèches received kitchen equipment and utensils
- three crèches had been rewired with lights and plug points and fitted with security features
- tables and chairs for the children arrived at two crèches
- seeds were bought for food gardens
- all crèches received toys, books and stationary items
That these changes are achieving our aim becomes clear with each visit as we meet more engaged and active children. By the end of 2018 we would like to see each crèche equipped with toilets, a kitchen and a food garden. We will also begin to shift our focus to the space around the crèches and create safe playing spaces outside for the children.
If you would like to find out more about our work and projects, visit www.samara.org.za or drop Louisa Feiter a line on firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you are inspired and want to contribute to our work, we have a new GivenGain donation page: https://www.givengain.com/cause/9572/campaigns/18136