During a typical week at Masibambisane Centre in Cato Manor, you might witness support groups for HIV positive community members, gardening projects, church services, and community members receiving CAST food parcels.
But recently, a new group of people from Cato Manor started coming to Masibambisane Centre for assistance: Grade R to Grade 2 learners!
It all started with CAST’s Cato Manor Area Coordinator, Lizzie Mkhize, posting a notice on her fence, advertising English classes for young learners. Lizzie had noticed how many young children in her community did not begin to learn English until Grade 4 in the township schools, so she decided to open her own English classes, offered every weekday from 3-6pm.
Parents came to ask about bringing their children, and soon after Lizzie had 30 kids ready to learn how to speak and write in English.
Because Lizzie has no “kiddie-sized” chairs or tables, the children sit on the floor during class. Oftentimes her learners come with hungry bellies after school, and struggle to concentrate on the lesson. Lizzie takes one day at a time, providing snacks as she can, and patiently teaching English through fun activities and games.
Parents are happy to see their children learning English at such an early age. As one parent told Lizzie, “We thank you very much for your extra class. They are really helpful.”
In December, Lizzie would like to give a “graduation” for the learners to celebrate their accomplishments.
As part of the greater mission of CAST’s Educational Assistance Programme, this new programme in Cato Manor is working to remove obstacles that stand in the way of learner success. If you are interested in this new opportunity there are many ways to get involved through volunteering, providing snacks, donating “kiddie-sized” tables and chairs, or donating educational books and materials. Contact Murry Pieterse at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.