Newsletter Autumn 2018

With updates of our new local TfA staff, our sponsor projects and more....

In our newsletter

  1. A story of meeting our sponsor student, young deaf girl Tsembile Nokeri
  2. Our new local Teachers for Africa team
  3. We say goodbye to Prince; Our Learner Support Centre (LSC) assistant 
  4. Adventure at the Learner Support Centre - Refentse Primary School
  5. Retuchegile - our new Special Need Project 
  6. An update of our Sports for Development project at seven different locations in Phalaborwa
  7. A report of the training day for our TfA educational staff by Canadian intern Simon.

The 10th anniversary of Teachers for Africa Foundation!!

Not a bad start for a newsletter isn't it? It is almost time to party! This coming March. Teachers for Africa will celebrate it's 10th anniversary and that is of course a reason for a party.

We would like to thank you all for your commitment to Teachers for Africa, whether this was by giving sponsor material, financial or intangible support to the projects by volunteering. Without you, we would not be where we are today! Thanks to you we have been able to make a difference at selected school and projects in Cape Town and Phalaborwa where we keep making a difference in the lives of children in South-Africa through the support in good education!.

However, we still need your support to help the different schools and special needs projects for children with a disability in Phalaborwa. So, if you feel called to support or sponsor these projects of Teachers for Africa, please make your contribution by donating to our Dutch bank account: NL06 RABO 0111 6549 98 / Stichting Docenten voor Afrika. BIC code: RABONL2U or our South Africa banking account: 62441566348 / Teachers for Africa Foundation / FNB Branch Hout Bay

And see how you can contribute in other ways at 

A story of meeting our sponsor student, young deaf girl Tsembile Nokeri

It is at the end of the morning when I enter a hospital with the blue Subaru from Teachers for Africa. I am in a neighbourhood near Tzaneen and looking for Yingisani special needs school, where is it located? I don’t know yet. What I do know is that they can help direct me at the hospital.

A few minutes later… I am back in the car with a route description and I take a narrow road that leads me straight to the school. When I see the grounds of the school, I drive a little slower, after which I park the car a little further in the shadow of a tree. I look around me and see dozens of buildings, I see signs with ‘’Kitchen’’, “Dinner hall”, signs with “Hostel” and a sign with an arrow that will take me to “The Clinic” if I follow it. They really have everything here.
I am being greeted by a man who will give me some more information about the student for whom I am here today: Tsembile Nokeri. Last year, a young girl was discovered in Ntabiseng by Puck (one of the earlier coordinators in Phalaborwa). Tsembile was the only deaf girl at this school and therefore could not be accommodated as she deserved. With help from Puck and Teachers for Africa, Tsembile could be transferred to Yingisani, a specialised school for the deaf.
“There are 4 schools for the deaf in the Limpopo Province.” As I’m told. Three primary schools and one high school just after Polokwane. Tsembile is currently in Grade 1 and who knows? In a few years she might attend the high school.
It takes a while before we find the classroom but then I finally see her. I recognize her from the picture. She still has the same insecure eyes and slim face. I only know the ABC in sign language so I turn to the teacher who can provide me more information.
Tsembile has been in this class for half a year now. “She is a smart one.” says the teacher, with a little pride in her eyes. While conversing with the teacher in the centre of the class, surrounded by so  many little curious minds . From the corner of my eye, a boy showing hand signs is caught signalling to someone behind me and as I turn around, Tsembile is standing right next to me and gesturing back to him. All children in this class are taught only 3 basic subjects, consisting of English, Sign Language and Mathematics. And to witness how proficient she was in sign language I have to agree with the teachers comment earlier.
Despite the fact that Tsembile is only 12 years old this year, she does not look that old. When I ask if I may take some pictures of her between her classmates. It’s clearly visible she is the small for her age among her peers. She does not reach the average of a 12-year-old in terms of height or weight. But she boasts with pride and joy when she is asked to pose with her workbook for a photo by the teacher.
School holidays occur 4 times per year where the children are allowed to go home. In Tsembile case she lives with her grandfather back in Namakgale. Family visits are only permitted during weekends but due to distance and financial difficulty it becomes a struggle to overcome where not many family members can accomplish.
The school currently suffers financially where bare hygienic necessities such as toothbrushes and toothpaste can no longer be provided by the school. At the moment the school has 152 children. 152 children require 152 soap blocks, 152 toothbrushes and 152 tubes of toothpaste.
If you feel you can contribute towards this worthy cause please make your contribution by donating to our Dutch bank account: NL06 RABO 0111 6549 98 / Stichting Docenten voor Afrika. BIC cade: RABONL2U or our South Africa banking account: 62441566348 / Teachers for Africa Foundation / FNB Branch Hout Bay.

Thank you for your kindness

Yours sincerely
152 little smiles and big hearts 

By: Myrna Molema, Project Coördinator Phalaborwa 01/2018-06/2018 

Our new Phalaborwa TfA team 

As many of you know there were some changes in the TfA organisation this year. Not only in the operational structure but also in the local team there were some changes and newcomers. In the past six months, not only new projects have arisen and have grown. New local people have also become involved in our projects. Sometimes on a voluntary basis, sometimes because a position became available in the existing local team. We are proudly to presentour local TfA staff to you.
Pinky Mokgalaka: Pinky has been our loyal employee at the Learner Support Center of Refentse Primary school for more than three years now. With all her experience what she has built up over the last couple of years, she is a really fine base for the rest of the team. Not only the team is enthausiastic when Pinky is present, also the children from Refentse are happy when she enters the class to take the learners to the Learner Support Center (LSC).  
Anastacia Shabangu: Ana was the first to call us after we had posted flyers that Teachers for Africa was looking for volunteers at the LSC. After we had a conversation with her and she was introduced to Refentse she was here from Monday to Friday to find from early in the morning until the LSC closed. From 1 July she has taken over the position of Prince and with her we have found a very good replacement for the empty spot that was created.
Evaristo Mupeta: A pastor, a writer, a passionate man full of social skills. That is the best way to describe this volunteer with full motivation. Every Thursday and Friday when his own activities allow it he comes to Refentse to support Pinky and Ana. "The children really respect him" is what we often hear and it is a treat to see him teach.
Sanny Mothuke: The deputy principal of Refentse who felt she wanted to take responsibility for the Learner Support Center at Refentse. If volunteers or assistants have questions they can go to Sanny who is already familiar with the ins and outs of the LSC. This due to her experience at Refentse.
Tinyiko Shibambo: Because of her past job in the pharmacy Tinyiko already was familiar with the special need children. On a number of projects, there were even a few children who already knew her and enthusiastically greeted her. In addition, it is very useful that she speaks not only English and Sepedi, but also almost all the other languages ​​that occur around Phalaborwa. The lack of a sport background is taken care of by creativity and a passion for dancing. With Tinyiko we have found a cheerful sports coordinator.
Thandi Sambo: Founder of Horisani project and working as a therapist for people with disabilities. Nevertheless, Thandi has seen space to become the overall coordinator for Teachers for Africa (and probably also have more projects running). Despite the busy schedule and the many responsibilities that Thandi already has, or perhaps because of this, we have full confidence in Thandi while fulfilling this new job..

We say goodbye to Prince: Our Learner Support Centre (LSC) assistant

Besides that new motivated people have become involved in Teachers for Africa we also had to say goodbye to others. For Lebeko it was time to take over the Learner Support Centre we have set up together with the staff in 2015 and continue this themselves. Just like we discussed this with Lebeko High school when we started this educational sponsor project. And the school wil therefore have to start looking at what position of our tutor assistant Morongwe, for three years, will be able to take in this.

Prince has found himself a new job in Pretoria and left our local TfA team at the beginning of June. Before he left Phalaborwa we asked him a few questions about his time as a tutor assistantat Teachers for Africa. 

How did you start working for Teachers for Africa? I was working here at school during my experience training from the college, and then Teachers for Africa came after and they found me here at school in 2016 while I was busy with my training.
What do you think of Teachers for Africa foundation? It is a very good organization, in terms of helping children with education. It did improve a lot of children’s max (the scores) at our school. Since they were here, children are very eager to learn and they are very excited with the programs that we do here at school.

What are you going to miss the most about this job? The children! I am going to miss the kids here at school, they are something else. Like the way they interact with the teachers, the respect they give, it is something great. Even those interns that I have worked with from the Netherlands they were very welcoming.
And what are you not going to miss about the job? The area, the place that I live in. This area is very boring in terms of, like the environment is extremely hot here, and then there are not much opportunities here, it is like in rural area. Let me try the city and see what is going to happen. I have been offered a position there, a good one.
What did you have learned during your time working for Teachers for Africa? I have learned a lot, I have learned like how to interact with learners and time management. It requires a lot of time to, to be with children and in what we do it cost a lot of time. But also I have got now teaching experience and I have learned a lot about communication.
Thanks a lot for your time and we wish you all the best for the new opportunity that is given to you.

Adventures at the Learner Support Centre - Refentse Primary School 

A valuable principal, annoying bugs and love of books.

This year much has changed within Learner Support centre Refentse. Our tutor assistant Prince found himself a new job in Pretoria, but fortunately Pinky, our other tutor assistant continues to work for us. Pastor Evaristo saw the opportunity to volunteer in his spare time and the deputy principal of Refentse felt called to take responsibility for the Learner Support Centre at her school. Five motivated local people who form a passionate new team.
In addition to this official TfA team that supports the Learner Support Centre and keep it running, the Principal of Refentse himself has repeatedly ensured that his learners could continue to follow their lessons with the motivated tutor assistants of the LSC.
While the hot summer temperatures did not release Phalaborwa, it turned out that a dog had pups under the floor of the LSC, unfortunately one of the puppies had died and we could not get to what caused an unbearable stench afterwards. Prince called me to inform of this problem and not much later we arrived at Refentse Primary. Good news, the principal had already put the gardener / concierge to work with some grade 7 boys to solve the problem. At the end of the day the lessons at our Learner Support Centre could start up again.
A little month later we drive back to the grounds of Refentse when we see Prince, Anna and Pinky outside. Whether they have come from the dead pup they do not know but the whole LSC is plagued by bugs. They jump everywhere and leave small itchy spots and teaching the children would not be justified. Again the principal takes action and he has already turned on the pest control. The boys of grade 7 are again standing next to me and together with this group we move the tables in the direction of a building at the back of the Refentse School site. At this new place the lessons are given for the next couple of days so that also this week the tutor lessons can continue.
Besides those two setbacks the Learner Support Centre is doing great. For the learners of grade 1 the ABC was taught well with some help of our  Dutch expert volunteers Janny and Thijs. The higher grades are struggling a little bit with using the dictionary’s but they really enjoy to get to know our reading books. Now the youngest ones are playing educational games on the sponsored I-pads on which they learn how to pronounce, read and write small English words.
To add on these educational activities during school hours, there is also the possibility for grades 4, 5, 6 and 7 to borrow books in the library. Because there are some learners of grade 3 who are already interested in reading the books, the assistants of the LSC allowed them to come by after school and read until the library closes.

There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

By: Myrna Molema, Project Coördinator Phalaborwa 01/2018-06/2018 

Retuchegile - our new Special Need Project

After arriving in Phalaborwa it was time for me to visit Horisani Inclusive Learning Center, our newest sports project in Lulekane, on the outskirts of the northwest of Phalaborwa. Ms. Thandi Sambo, the founder of this school and herself being an occupational therapost (now also our overall coordinator for Teachers for Africa in Phalaborwa) welcomed me. For the next week we had not even park the car yet or a group of enthusiastic learners was already there to help unload volleyballs, hoops and otedher sports equipment. Together with Cynthia and Anne, our first two sports interns of 2018, we moved to the community sports field with many cheers from the kids, and every week since.

When we take a moment to look at the own resources of this project, we can describe it as ‘it makes do with what it has’. However, this does not stop Thandi from being not only committed with her own project. After our first few months at Horisani she asked me if we would like to meet a friend of hers, Lydia who is also an occupational therapist, and who also has a project with people with disabilities like Horisani. Thandi’s question: “Would it be possible to also help out with sports lessons there?”

Two weeks later we arrived at a building in Mashishimale, on the outskirts of Phalaborwa. We noticed straight away that this school, Rethuchegile special need project, was for (young) adults. Wow, what a special project, what a group of friendly people and what a beautiful smile all these people have!
In the weeks that followed we gave one hour of sports lessons, twice a week. Some of the activities we did included a musical dance (whatever that may be), a dance-off with a game of the project itself (whatever that may be), a relay race with fanatically motivated teams, and agility games with hoops, where children were absolutely concentrated. All of these things turned out to be very successful and the young adults absolutely loved it! Within two weeks they captured the heart of us all: me and our TfA volunteers!  

Granted: at first we were sceptical on arrival when we saw young adults, since we thought we were going to be working with children… but Rethuchegile special need project is a living example of a school where Teachers for Africa is very welcome and where we are needed to bring extra joy to the young adults who go to this project. And we are happy we can help support the school this way.  

An update of our Sports for Development project at seven different locations in Phalaborwa 

Beside the Learner Support Center (LSC) at Refentse primary School and the focus on the 'regular' education, Teachers for Africa Foundation has its other core focus on sports. This is why we gladly give you an update of our Sports for Developmment project in and around Phalaborwa. Here we go: 

Refentse: Several times per week we gave regular sports classes and afterschool sports to the children of Refense Primary School.  One of our Dutch sport interns Anne, in association with the Dutch Volleyball Association (NEVOBO), introduced volleyball to the local community, and to the learners of Refense Primary School, and at the end of her internship, she organised an actual volleyball tournament. However, as Teachers for Africa we have decided for now, to actually focus more on our Educational Learner Support Centre at Refense, which means that sports education by our NGO will be temporary put on hold.

Horisani: Since the beginning of 2018, we have been doing sports at this Special Need Project. Besides the fact that the children are very enthusiastic, it is great that their caregivers are mostly present at these sports lessons to help us with translation when necessary. On top of that, they often actively participate themselves. This special Needs School and its learners are always happy to see us arrive and support them with these important sport lessons.

Mashishimale: After the first six months (of 2018) of giving an hour of sports to Grade 4, 5, 6 and 7 every Tuesday and Thursday, we knew it was not possible to continue with this schedule with our new local Sports Coordinator, Tinyiko. So from the middle of July Tinyiko started doing afterschool sports lesson every Monday at the special netball/volleyball sports field of the school, which proved to be a great success. About fifty girls were able to enjoy netball in different teams. And the school provides teachers to help Tinyiko set up everything in advance. We also help out the boys with afterschool soccer. To conclude: unfortuanally, we had to cancel the more extensive sports schedule for Mashishimale Primary School, but we are happy to report that we have managed to continue with the afterschool sports for this Primary School. And the school is happy we continue to support them this way.

Frangipani: At Frangipani we teach one hour of sports per week. Yet we are at least three hours per week at this school. The remaining two hours are reserved for personal training for four children. We still are grateful to make use of the training schedule that was previously set up by our physiotherapist interns of the HvA College in Amsterdam. The teachers at Frangipani school are grateful for this support as they see their children improve their motor skills. That is of course the most beautiful thing you can experience when working for TfA!

Phurulenke: We still provide one hour of sports lessons to the kids of this small Special Needs Project twice a week, or actually, 45 minutes. The last 15 minutes are always reserved for soccer, where one goal after another is scored or stopped. Is it boring to look at it or to participate as well? Certainly not…! Especially when you realize that these kids didn’t know what a ball (or a balloon) was in 2014 when Teachers for Africa came to this project for the first time. Ever since we have been supporting these learners with sports lessons by the many international volunteers and interns we have had. And we can clearly see that their work has paid off tremendously!

Ntabiseng: Personal therapy was also the focus for Ntabiseng Special Needs School. Instead of four children like at Frangipani, the group for personal therapy at Ntabiseng consists of fourteen children, which is divided into two hours a week for seven children. Sadly, at the moment it is practically impossible for one individual to carry out seven different training sessions all at once. As a result, the decision has been made to put the personal training temporarily on hold for this governmental Special Needs School, but we are hoping to start again in the near future.

Retuchegile: This special need project is described more extensively in another part of this Newsletter. Our local TfA Sport Coordinator, Tinyiko, does two hours sports every week with the young adults, which often results in a lot of dancing which is also a highly appreciated form of physical activity. Besides that, Tinyiko, teaches new games and dances to the young adults, but at the same time they also teach Tinyiko a lot of new games as well. In short: Our help is very welcome and helpful and all are happy that Teachers for Africa is supporting Retuchegile this way.

A report of the training day for our TfA educational staff by Canadian intern Simon.

An example of Teachers for Africa commitment to the educational development of its South African local staff.
As an intern specialised in education, I have had the chance to spend six weeks in Phalaborwa. During this time, I have witnessed on a daily basis the great benefits Teachers for Africa brings to the province of Limpopo. Among them is the Education Day, which I would like to further discuss.
By focusing on sharing knowledge and promoting education, the Education Day brings together teachers, interns, volunteers and students together for an innovative and dynamic day once every six months. This TfA’s initiative goes along with the organisation’s primary mission to foster the development of sustainable educative programs in South Africa and shows its willingness to share tools for the development of local communities.
One of the key elements of the Education Day’s success relies on its rich learning opportunities for both local actors and students. For the teachers, activities take place during the entire day throughout interactive workshops that cover a great range of topics. Every volunteer, intern and teacher of the region is welcome to share ideas related to the improvement of education in local schools. These workshops also cover specific topics related to teaching, like communication, and offer practical tools to help increase each and everyone’s ability to deliver a high quality of teaching. On the students’ side, the activities that are offered encourage them to share creative ideas and highlight the importance of education. The activities offered on this special day also seek to highlight future career and educative opportunities for the students and foster the development of their local communities.
The improvement of South Africa’s educational programs is a continuous process and, from a Teachers for Africa intern’s perspective, the Education Day is an initiative that shows the great potential of cooperation between a large diversity of actors to achieve South Africa’s goals in terms of education.
By: Simon Beaudoin Gagnon, Intern Phalaborwa 2018
Copyright © 2018 Tachers for Africa, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.