Prochorus Newsletter April 2018
The first quarter of our year is done and dusted – and we celebrate success in all of our branches.
Prochorus has some exciting events on its calendar for the year. The most notable being the Xhiliraces happening on the 12th of May. This is our annual fundraiser in conjunction with our sister organisation Kibwe Kids. Read more about it below.
Thank you for your continued support in our endeavours to Use our Power to Empower. We would not be able to do it without the support of donors, partners, friends and family.
Creative Writing Workshop
Some of the youth forum members had the privilege of helping to facilitate a Creative Writing Workshop, which took place at Drakenstein Correctional Facility from 5-8 February 2018. The workshop was a combined effort between the Franschhoek Youth Forum, the Foundation for Sport and Peace and Development, and two individuals Diana, and Gayriah. Diana and Gyirah both have an extensive background in creative writing. The themes of the workshop were Freedom and new beginnings, Sport and Peace, and Values and Leadership.
The workshop was a combination of inmates from the book club and grade 7 classes from different schools. Not only was it a platform to discover and showcase talent, but throughout the process, us writing as a form of expression to heal the wounds of the past. There were many deep discussions about the issues of the heart, and much hope springing forth from this process of development. It was truly a privilege to be part of such a tangible change in the lives school children and inmates alike.
On Saturday 17 February 2018, a devastating fire burnt down 32 shacks in the nearby township just outside Franschhoek, leaving about 100 people homeless. As soon as it was brought to our attention we were on standby ready to deliver rapid relief resources, which we are able to stockpile due to Franco’s financial support. The following week we handed out 36 “feed a family for a week” food bags, with 36 basins with necessary toiletries and soaps, and 36 blankets. The families were grateful to receive the help and support.
We at Prochorus would like to thank Franco for making it possible for us to respond to the disaster with necessary resources, and that we can have a constant stockpile for those who lose most of what they have through disasters. We would also like to thank Councillor Minnie Petersen for her active role in the community of Franschhoek. Her rapid response to the needs of the people and her effective communication enabled us to mobilise our resources. Finally, a special thank you to Tanya Rousseau for volunteering her time and vehicle to transport the goods.
Franschhoek Youth Forum – Helping to bridge social and racial divides
Jeremy Davids, who is the Manager of the Franschhoek Hospitality Academy, requested that the Youth Forum facilitate a dialogue workshop with the students of the Academy. The Hospitality Academy provides hospitality training and development to disadvantaged youth. The aim of the dialogue was to bridge the gap between the social constructs and racial divides that exist due to prejudices.
The dialogue took place on the 19 February. The day of an icebreaker, an in-depth discussion of opinion vs truth around various questions about race, skin colour and genetics. The session ended with a facilitated small group discussion on what it means to love your neighbour. Many of the students were challenged in their way of thinking, and all of them seemed receptive to the truth. The feedback from Jeremy was positive, saying that we achieved the goal and that the students would like us to do more workshops with them in the future.
Prochorus- Jonkershoek Educare Centre
The year started with new attitudes, challenges and personalities at the centre. We were at the beginning of a new year and the children were so excited about starting in their new grades and making new friends. The grade 1’s and 8’s were so excited to tell about their new journey in new schools and we could see that they were happy. We provided all the children with pencil cases and stationery to show our support for their school year.
In March some of the girls and boys did the Cape Argus Cycle Tour in Cape Town and they really enjoyed it. For most of them, it was their first tour.
Currently, we have about eight volunteers that assist us on a weekly basis. It really makes a big difference when you have enough people to help the children individually. We have one volunteer from Germany, one from the local community of Jonkershoek and a few from a residence from the University of Stellenbosch.
We started to use new numeracy activity books and it has really helped the children enormously. It gave them more insight into their work. The children enjoy it because it is on their level and they understand it much better.
Our playgroups aim to give a safe place for the most vulnerable children in the communities of Cloetesville and Kayamandi. The projects run between 09:00 and 16:00 during the week. In Cloetesville we started with a BANG, with too many children that wanted to come to Little Builders. We are filled to capacity with 35 children and have a waiting list. The teachers were all very excited to start the new year.
At Siyanda in Kayamandi we currently have 21 children attending the playgroup, so we are almost at full capacity with about 4-5 spaces left to fill. Thulisa (one of the teachers) is on maternity leave till May. Luckily, Anna (a volunteer from Germany) is there to fill her spot while she spends some very special and needed time with her newborn baby boy. We also have volunteers from the community who clean and assist with cooking during the week. This has helped the teachers to focus on educating the children and facilitating the curriculum. Some of the themes for this year so far was “My Body”, “I am special”, “Senses”, “Summer”, “Animals” and will end off the term with “colours” and “Easter”.
Some of the biggest challenges that the teachers face are the fact that most of the children struggle with the routine at the beginning of the year. They have also experienced that some of these children have not been stimulated at an earlier stage, so they struggle with discipline, the activities as well as making new friends. However, there has been notable development in these children over the past 3 months. We cook for the children and they receive breakfast when they arrive, a snack in between, lunch and then a snack again before they go home.
The playgroups will close for the school holidays and this will give the teachers time to refresh after a long first quarter.
Jonkerhoek Cycling Project
The New Year is always a great way to get a fresh start and reflect on how we can better ourselves. We have thus decided to focus on ‘’what we put in’’ with the beneficiaries on the cycling project. This focuses on knowledge of what we put in our bodies such as food and nutrition, to keep us healthy and to provide sustained energy levels. On top of physical health, mental health and positivity in form of self-reassurance and positive self-talk are also encouraged. Through this, the kids realize that we can not only feed themselves with healthy food but they can also feed themselves healthy thoughts.
The great thing about endurance sports is that one can apply these lessons in real life scenarios. It is important because it re-enforces knowledge in a fun way that can later be applied in “real world’’ incidences. We have so far participated in 2 events where these skills can be applied, the Grabouw Xterra and that Cape Town Argus Cycle Tour.
The Cape Town cycle tour is a 109km with 1200m of ascent. We had 6 Boys and 2 Girls who compete. In the first few km’s one of the boys got a bad sidewall cut. He cycled back to the start to find a replacement tire and despite his bad luck he kept his head up high and still finished the entire 109 Km. Our fastest boy finished in a time of 3 hours and 38 min and will next year aim to ride under 3 hours with an improved seeding. The most impressive were the two girls. They, age 16 and 17 years, have only have been cycling for the past year. They have shown dedication over the past few months and finished the event with no cramping and a massive smiles on their faces.
Our Project Leader Chris Marais and long-term German volunteer Daniel Manweiller competed in the 2018 ABSA Cape Epic which is considered the toughest MTB Stage race in the world and is spread over 8 days. They did the event to create awareness for the project and to inspire the kids to dream big. One of our long-term goals is to have a development team participate in the Exarro category which is exclusively for development teams. Daniel and Chris finished the race in 31 hours and 30 min and place 60th out of 700 Teams that started.