Imagine growing up in a house with corrugated iron walls and roof, with no heating and where the electricity is drawn from a nearby street light. In this area there are no public services provided – everyone fends for themselves. There are many other challenges the residents face on a daily basis including getting food to eat, drug pushers and unemployment to name just a few. This tough environment is where countless numbers of children live in the Cape Town Flats area.
This is what I saw on a recent visit to the Cape Town Flats, a project funded by the Speak First Foundation and run by Ester Uys and her team.
I also had the privilege to witness what happens when these children get a chance to come together to learn in one of the sessions run by Ester and her team. They smile, have fun and are totally engaged in grabbing the chance to learn. It’s an oasis where, for a while, the daily challenges of life are forgotten.
The children have extra reading and writing sessions – often their parents can’t help with this as they have never learnt how. They learn how to use computers – great for their future work prospects. They have sessions on HIV and other topics that will keep them safe, such as saying ‘no’ to the offer of a drug-laced lollipop designed to get them hooked. One thing both boys and girls enjoy immensely is soccer lessons with their very own football coach and referee. The excitement on their faces is enough to make anyone smile.
Every Speak First client contributes towards the difference we’re together able to make to these children’s lives. Thank you.