New computer rooms and skills training – thanks to the Chester Group and Activate Academy

At the beginning of the year, some members of the Chester Group visited our Home. As they toured the facilities, we mentioned the need for a study/computer room for our children. A month later, the Chester Group contacted us to let us know they wanted to renovate and set up not one, but two computer rooms for our children – one on each property – so that our children would have safe and easy access to these facilities whenever needed.

Needless to say, we were overwhelmed by this wonderful news! At last, our children wouldn’t have to queue up at our reception area and ask our receptionist for help with assignment research, printing, etc.

But more was to come. We were also offered the Activate Academy online learning programme, which is designed to grow the capacity of youth through self-led and blended learning programmes.

Activate Academy

Jacqueline Joshua, a facilitator of Activate Academy, now comes on Tuesdays and Thursdays to run the training sessions. Our young people started with a course on leadership, which they are thoroughly enjoying. They receive a certificate after completing each course.

Thank you Chester Group and Activate Academy!

As an added footnote: one night during loadshedding some neighbours drove past our Home and noticed that the place was mostly in darkness. They came to us with an offer to help by donating portable rechargeable lights for each of our houses. What a difference this had made! Thanks to these two members of the community, we now have sufficient lighting in and around our home during loadshedding.



School bus hijacked

Our School Bus has been hijacked – children and staff traumatised

School bus hijacked

Yesterday at 15:20, we received a call from the child care worker accompanying our driver on his school pick up route. She was hysterical. The news that our new Quantum School Bus, full of children who were being collected from school, had been hijacked at gun point outside a local school was almost unbelievable.

Whilst the hijackers eventually dumped the children and staff physically unharmed on the side of the road, the emotional trauma runs deep.

Thanks to Umbilo SAPS, who kindly escorted our other driver into the area to pick up the abandoned children and staff. Our social worker and child care team were on hand to provide everyone with trauma counselling.

But, finding words to express our feelings after this heinous act is difficult. Our previous vehicle was stolen from out of the locked up garage on our property just 19 months ago. This caused great inconvenience, as we struggled to get 74 children to and from the 23 schools they attend, whilst working tirelessly to secure funds to cover the difference between the insurance pay-out and the cost of a new vehicle.

We have been left us discouraged beyond words. We know that incidents such as these have become a common occurrence. The fact that our experience has happened during South Africa’s observance of Child Protection Month, makes it even more compelling for us to refuse to accept the lawlessness that has gripped our country.