Last year, we began interviewing some of our best, most engaged Causes on forgood to collect their stories. We wanted to learn more about who they are, what they do and why they do it. We continue to do this because storytelling is important. Our goal in sharing them with you is to provide you with inspiration and insight while empowering the communities of which we so closely work.
One of our favourite questions we ask of our Causes is to share a story about a person they helped – the story of someone who inspires them to do the amazing work that they do. We hope this leaves you feeling the same way!
“There are so many. I don’t think it’s the one person, it’s every person walking through our doors on a daily basis. How their lives change throughout their interaction with FCD, our volunteers and our staff. The fact that many come in completely hopeless and they leave with hope and support. Many enter our doors never to have felt any sort of love, even from their own family, leaving here knowing that they have experienced love for the first time in their adult life. Every person and the change you physically see in them makes it all worthwhile.”
Siphikhaya is one of four siblings, raised in a single-parent household supported by a modest childcare grant. Like the majority of children growing up in Peddie, Siphikhaya and his siblings grew up in poverty, with very few positive role models. At the age of 14, a barefoot Siphikhaya, joined an in-school soccer programme facilitated by IYDSF. The programme provided him with more than just a pair of boots. A sense of belonging, a series of life-skills sessions and opportunities to give back to the community, moulded him into a well-rounded young person with clear goals and aspirations.
As part of the IYDSF continuing education programme, Siphikhaya graduated with a degree in Agriculture from the University of Fort Hare. He was the first student to benefit from a bursary facilitated and supported by IYDSF in partnership with CATHSSETA. CATHSSETA allows IYDSF to manage the bursary by monitoring and supporting the student’s progress through university.
Siphikhaya was given academic targets to achieve each year and an IYDSF bursary officer. The officer would meet with him every month to check his progress and assess the challenges he was facing to ensure that he had the support needed to succeed in his studies.
“Without the support offered by IYDSF, especially their monthly academic goals and progress checks, I don’t think that I would have been so successful in my studies.” – Siphikhaya
Siphikhaya is currently employed as a grade 12 exam moderator and continues to give back to IYDSF through soccer coaching and mentoring. Most recently, IYDSF hired Siphikhaya as an intern for the application of his learned skills in the promotion of sustainable food gardening techniques in local schools.
We have many success stories that keep us going, but Mina’s story is particularly touching for us. Mina was one of the first children we welcomed at DAKTARI for environmental education in 2005. Here what she said:
“… In 2005, when I was in Grade 8 at Rakgolokwana High School, I was selected as one of the learners who got an opportunity to go to DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage and be part of their Eco-Club. During this period, I realised that I wanted to do nature conservation, but my focus was more on Veterinary Sciences. I didn’t know which one to choose until I went to Daktari where I learnt how to make good choices in terms of my future plans and studies. I decided to do nature conservation because I was always feeding animals and I enjoyed every moment of doing that – I wanted to conserve, preserve and maintain natural resources. I continued visiting Daktari during weekends and holidays because I wanted to learn and gain better knowledge of conservation. I knew that I had the potential to become a conservationist and I was always going the extra mile. Daktari has done more than what people can offer; they gave me knowledge, awareness, skills and motivated me to strive for the best …”
After being employed as a data collector/fiedl assistant for Kruger to Canyion Biosphere and registered as as a B-tech student, she is now employed by Sanparks as a health instructor. We are so proud of our little Mina!
Nonhlanhla Khumalo is currently in Grade 9. She enjoys the way in which they’re being tutored and how the catch-up classes actually help her to prepare ahead. Through the aftercare programme, she actually managed to get ahead of her peers and now she also helps by teaching her classmates!
Our tutors are selfless because they give up their own data and airtime to help the learners do their research for projects. That’s one of the things that Nonhlanhla liked the most – the tutors give up their own needs to help the students.
All the Grade 9 learners spoke in one voice when they said “the tutoring program and the methods of revision and the help we receive are a blessing. Without the help we get from the aftercare we would not be passing as we are now. The aftercare helps us ask questions which the teachers in class would not be able to answer because of time.”