Frequently Asked Questions About SOS Africa
If you have browsed the SOS Africa website and still have questions about the charity, the sponsorship process or the work we do, you might be able to find answers to these queries below. If not, feel free to contact us and ask us directly.
1. What does the SOS Africa Charity do?
SOS Africa is a non-profit, predominantly volunteer-run, UK registered charity (no. 1105747) which funds the education and care of underprivileged African township children. We believe that the only way to break the cycle of poverty which continues to haunt African societies is through the provision of education and care to future generations.
2. What specific support does SOS Africa provide?
We provide the children we support with a well-rounded reception, preparatory, primary and high school level education. The SOS Africa Aftercare Centre also provides extensive aftercare support (including lunch, assistance with homework, extra lessons and swimming lessons in the summer). In addition we provide each child with school uniform, stationery and transportation. However, we are not a hand-out charity – we only provide children with tools which will assist their educational development.
3. When was SOS Africa founded?
SOS Africa was founded in January 2003 by gap student Matt Crowcombe and school teacher Henry Matthews, when SOS Africa's first child began his education at Mafikeng Primary School. For more information visit ‘the SOS Africa Story.’
4. How much will it cost me to sponsor a child through SOS Africa?
There are two options available to child sponsors:
‘Option 1’ (£20 per month) pays for the school tuition of an SOS Africa child.
‘Option 2’ (£50 per month) pays for the complete education and care of an SOS Africa child.
For more information about sponsoring a child in Africa click here.
5. Which areas of Africa does SOS Africa support?
SOS Africa currently funds the education and care of children from the townships of South Africa, predominantly from Lonely Park Township in Mafikeng and Pineview Township in the Western Cape. As we continue to grow we will consider the possibility of broadening our scope of support across Africa.
6. How much money does SOS Africa spend on expenses?
The SOS Africa Charity is unique because it pledges that 100% of all funds raised and donated will be invested in the education and care of the children we support – all UK expenses are covered by Gift Aid, the SOS Africa Shop and specific administrative grants.
For more information about this pledge visit our ‘Expenditure Information’ section.
7. How do you select the children you support?
SOS Africa is linked with Early Learning Centres; most of our children are selected from these centre with the assistance of its staff. There are also specific criteria which must be met by applicants. Interviews are also carried out with the guardians of each child to ensure that this criteria is met.
8. What is the age range of the children you support?
SOS Africa supports children from the age of 6 when they begin at a Reception level through to the age of 18 when they complete Matric (the South Africa equivalent of A-levels).
9. Can I monitor the progress of the SOS Africa child I sponsor?
As a smaller, grassroots charity, SOS Africa believes in the importance of maintaining a strong line of communication between sponsors and the children they support. Of course their level of involvement is entirely up to the sponsor. However, upon request SOS Africa is happy to send sponsors regular progress updates in the form of school reports, test results and photo albums. Sponsors can also communicate with their children via email.
More recently SOS Africa has launched the SOS Africa Children’s Online Blog which is regularly updated with articles and drawings from the SOS Africa children. Sponsors can also communicate with the children they are supporting through this new feature.
10. Can I choose the SOS Africa child I support?
SOS Africa gives prospective sponsors the option of selecting the gender and the age of the child they support.
11. For how long do I need to sponsor an SOS Africa child?
If you wish to sponsor the education and care of an SOS Africa child, the duration of this support is entirely up to you. SOS Africa does not commit sponsors to long term contracts. Although we hope that sponsors will continue supporting their children throughout their education, we understand that this is not always possible in the current economic climate.
12. How do the SOS Africa children get to school?
The SOS Africa children travel to school every day in the newly purchased SOS Africa school bus; this is thanks to those involved in fundraising for SOS Africa’s School Bus Appeal, which was successfully completed in December last year. Thanks to these individuals and groups, the SOS Africa children can now travel to and from school safely every day.
There are a few exceptions where specific children might live outside of the area; in these instances these children travel to school in taxis or public buses organised by SOS Africa.
13. What if an SOS Africa child receives a poor school report?
Inevitably there are instances where some children may struggle academically, despite the extra support they receive every afternoon from the SOS Africa Aftercare Centre. On these occasions, after consultation with the child’s teachers and guardians, SOS Africa children may be asked to repeat a year at school. This has happened on two previous occasions after which the academic achievements of the children concerned showed significant improvement.
14. Do you organise official SOS Africa fundraising events?
SOS Africa now organises a wide array of upcoming fundraising events. In September 2014 for example, SOS Africa is hosting a sponsored abseil event from Glastonbury Festival's Pyramid Stage.
If you wish, SOS Africa will also help you organise your own independent fundraising event.
15. Does SOS Africa have a shop?
SOS Africa has a fully established charity shop based in Shepton Mallet, Somerset. This shop opened in September 2012 and raises valuable funds for the SOS Africa children. More recently the charity has also launched an online charity shop on Ebay.