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SOS Africa: Celebrating 10 Years of Empowerment through Education!
14 Jan 2013
It all began 10 years ago, with a unique conversation over a bowl of jelly and ice cream, between a small group of people looking to make a lasting difference. At that time we were entirely unaware that during this discussion we were sowing the seeds of a project which would grow to change the fortunes of many of South Africa’s future generations.
SOS Africa was a small organisation launched with realistic but influential objectives; we knew that we would not be able to help every child in South Africa but wanted to make a lasting impact upon the lives of those within our reach. This could be achieved by providing each child in our care with everything they would need to break the cycle of poverty which has haunted Africa’s underprivileged for generations; this could only be achieved through the provision of education.
When we reflect on the moment when we walked a very nervous 6 year old Mavis Madie through the gates of Mafikeng Preparatory School for the first time we are still overcome with goose bumps. We felt so honoured to be able to provide Mavis with an opportunity which every child deserves and many go without. At that time we were unsure of how Mavis would fare in her new school environment but were determined to give her every opportunity to succeed. Only now are we realising just have much the fate of the charity rested on Mavis’s shoulders. However, thanks to her bravery and commitment Mavis flourished! As a consequence, we gained the confidence to support more children and before we knew it the charity had developed a vast array of volunteers and supporters in South Africa, the UK and across the globe.
Ten years on from these memorable and decisive moments, this January we had the privilege of walking Mavis and 17 other wonderful and very deserving children through those same school gates. Though we are all a little longer in the tooth, the emotions are still very much the same; words simply cannot accurately summarise such feelings and experiences, though we hope that you can relive some of them through the images shown here.
This year it is our absolute pleasure to welcome little Angelinah and Ofense into Grade 0. We were particularly impressed by Angelinah’s confidence as she led us into her classroom for the first time. As we watched her greet her new friends it was not difficult to visualise her heading up a large and fruitful organisation of her own in the future.
Among our worthy graduates, Boitshepo, Olebogeng Junior and Thato were joined by Nthabiseng in Grade 1, their first year at Mafikeng Preparatory School; they looked so proud as they wore their brand new school uniform for the first time. Whilst the ever popular and confident Kabelo attended his first day at Mafikeng Primary School, Olebogeng and Kelebogile became the charity’s second and third children to graduate to High School; representing another significant steppingstone on their paths to empowerment.
In celebration of all of these milestones and many more, in true SOS Africa style, we threw a 10 year anniversary swimming pool party to remember with our children. What always moves us the most is how closely these wonderful kids bond as they live each of these moments together. During the party without any prompting, the older children guided the new comers into the pool and played with them throughout. This is just another example of how close our special SOS Africa family has become and is a true testament to the fact that education is experienced both inside and outside of the classroom.
And what about the charity’s future? We will always maintain our cautious approach; we have made a long-term commitment to educate each of these children and will always live up to this pledge. We will always maintain our focus on the development and progression of each individual child. However, after a special 10 years, we will allow ourselves a brief moment to dream about how our special family will continue to grow over the next 10 years to come…
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