1. Unrealized dreams come true | Wells Estate
Personal development is an ongoing process and is often managed through the personal relationship between our One Life staff and a child. Life skills mentoring is also offered at our weekly youth program. Occasionally guest speakers and life skills mentors come in and address different career options for the kids, ex. nurses, police officers, teachers.
Currently, we are identifying the interests and talents of kids in our program and then pursuing opportunities for them to engage.
Aman, a kid who just graduated from high school in December excelled academically. One Life South Africa Director, Alison pursued several university options and Aman was accepted into a Marine Engineering Motorman Under the Sea Safety Training Program on a full scholarship. The scholarship (government bursary) covers tuition and room and board. He no longer needs to be on our program. Aman would never have realized his dream of college without One Life investing in his life and encouraging him pursue his dreams.
Aman sent this message on to Alison after he found out about the scholarship:
“Thanks for everything you have done for me. I sincerely appreciate it and thanks for always being there when I needed something. This wouldn’t be possible without your assistance and I promise not to forget the sponsorship once I’m a qualified, successful engineer and I’ll give back to the community as you did to me.
Your sponsorships make this life change possible!
2. Training Caregivers | Wells Estate
We are realizing more than ever that success hinges on the ability to train the caregivers to provide a continuum of care once the children get home each day. Throughout this school term, four of our One Life children's caregivers from Wells Estate, Port Elizabeth have attended a Parenting Skills course at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. Over several weeks these caregivers learned basic parenting skills in areas of discipline, hygiene, structure and education. At the end of the course each caregiver was given a certificate of completion! We are so thankful to the Psychology Department students who took the time to educate our caregivers and give them tools to properly care for their children!
This year, we have a new volunteer, Yolandi who is taking on the Mama ministry and providing emotional support to the caregivers who are struggling in their circumstances. She also plans to teach these women how to cook healthy, nutritious, inexpensive meals.
3. Lihle Maranti | Walmer Township
When our education director found 13- year-old Lihle (pronounced: Leeshlay), he was wearing clothes three sizes too small, living in a metal shack with a dirt floor taking care of his little sister. His father had died a year earlier and his mother, unemployed and an alcoholic, had abandoned him and put their house up for sale. Lihle spent many of his days hungry with no access to food and often missed school to care for his little sister. Through local partnerships, One Life found a safe place for Lihle and his sister to live. Lihle is a talented musician—he plays the saxophone, trumpet, trombone and drum and since moving to his new home, has joined the local band where he has taken the lead role as Drum Major. The band practices every afternoon after school and at the end of each day they march through the dirt streets of their township and play for the community. Through sponsorship, Lihle is thriving—doing well at school, and getting the emotional and spiritual support he needs to become he leader God has clearly created him to be.
4. Child and Staff Enrichment | Walmer Township
Personal development is an ongoing process and is often managed through the personal relationship between our staff and the child. Life skills mentoring is offered at our weekly youth program. Alison plays an important role in our kids’ development. This is closely linked to their education and their learning capabilities and what they’ll be able to achieve relative to their skills, as they mature.
Luthando has a love for drama and is quite gifted in this area. Alison signed him up for weekly drama classes. While I was visiting, Alison got a call from a talent agency in Johannesburg. They were interested in Luthando auditioning for a part in a weekly TV show. If Luthando passes the first round of auditions, they will fly him to Johannesburg to take the next step. Even if Luthando does not get to move on in the process, the experience has been so valuable in affirming him in his God-given talent.
One Life is also offering opportunities for the kids to experience life outside of the township. When they have attended homework club regularly and are getting good reports at school, they are rewarded with special outings to the beach or a trip for ice cream, etc.
Not only is One Life committed to personal development for our children, our team in SA is also working on equipping our staff. Margaret prepares the soup during the holidays for One Life kids and works in the garden at Elukolweni. She also cleans the classrooms and helps Alison with One Life logistics, like getting the transport money to caregivers, house visits, and being the eyes and ears in the community. The trust she’s been shown and responsibility she’s been given elevates her position in the community and allows both herself and One Life to be more effective.
5. Mentoring impact long-lasting | Walmer Township
Last July our team did some projects on the center in Walmer and Gilman—staff member Margaret’s husband, worked alongside Mike Crosby on installing guttering on the building. Margaret says Gilman is a changed man. Working with Mike gave him the confidence he needed to get a job and he has since added on to his 2-room shack. His 12-year-old daughter Asiphwe, who was sleeping on a small couch in the entrance to the house now has a room. Margaret is so happy and says “…everything has changed and everything is so much better.”
6. Bonus! | Walmer Township
Ethel is a beautiful, soft-spoken woman who began volunteering as a preschool teacher 5-days a week with our partner, Healing Minds. Previously, Ethel worked in ministry doing family restoration—home visits and working alongside social workers to address domestic problems.
On Thursdays, she has begun teaching Bible stories to the One Life K-3rd graders.