This was not your average Annual General Meeting. There was a buzz in the air, the kind that sparks inspiration. It could have been the array of delicious snacks and drinks, the interactive stations of games and educational tools, or perhaps it was the gathering of like-minded people eager to learn, share, and experience together. The interactive stations were fascinating to say the least. Did you know that the simple task of having a child squeeze fresh orange juice using a glass juicer (the old school, non-electric type) developed fine motor skills, encouraged good nutrition, taught the importance of cleanliness and encouraged carefulness? I did not either, and those are only the benefits I remember! This is just one of the examples of an activity done by the children at Ncinci Ones. Other project partners were on display as well. You could scroll through the Bulungula Incubator online teaching resources as well as flip through Won Life’s teaching portfolios, both of which are our new project partners.
Rowan, the Kamvalethu chairman, shared a story about his daughter building an electrical circuit at school. Last year, as part of the CSI initiative, representatives from some of the businesses we partner with visited Bongalethu Primary School, teaching this very same lesson. The difference? For the kids of Bongalethu Primary, this was a treat. Resources such as circuit boards and cabling are not readily available at many schools, something we so often take for granted. This was the first of many light bulb moments experienced throughout the presentations. Alex shared about sewing lavishly and the importance sustainable systems in the annual financial presentation, it is encouraging to see how the sustainable stewardship of finances, through investing, frees up donations to be used strictly for developing projects at the grassroot level. Dawn of Ncinci Ones gave a crash course in Xhosa, before sharing her heart for the little ones of Hole in the Wall as well as her journey in raising up community members as teachers, empowering not only the young ones but the parents as well.
Halbert, the principal of Bongalethu Primary School, a mentee of the Principals Academy, shared his hopes and aspirations for the year to come regarding his students progression in Mathematics and English as well as opened our eyes to the realities of the school system. What was most inspiring, however, was the investment of the school in the growth of their learners. The vice-principal, Noluthando Noshauta, shared some of the strategies to effect positive change in the way they teach and move with the learners. It is amazing to hear how investment of time and not just money, such as the mentorship and training provided through the Principals Academy, can change the trajectory of not just the mentee but of all those he or she mentors. As Bruce of the Principals Academy shared, “[Kamvalethu] affects eternity, you have absolutely no idea where your influence will end”. This was echoed in the hearts of the attendees as well – one specific comment that encompassed the value of these projects was that a simple small donation is easy, but to see how much impact it has and the potential it produces, makes one want to invest so much more. Kamvalethu is grateful for those who sew even a little.
Kamvalethu introduced two new project partners, Won Life and Bulungula Incubator, both worthy projects focused on teacher mentorship and the introduction of technology as a tool for education, respectively. It is also a joy to welcome Cape Armature Winders who has come on board as a new business partner. Other new and exciting developments include the partnership with Wellness Wagon, who provide mobile healthcare to pre- and junior schools in the area, and the fact that Ikhaya Labantwana Montessori finally has a purpose-built jungle gym which the kids absolutely love, while improving their motor skills, strength and coordination. Parent Workshops are thriving and the collaboration with Jennifer Moore and First Children is going well. The existing teachers are continually being trained and will one day be able to mentor new teachers to do the same.
Once again, thank you to all our partners, new and long-term, business and projects, and thank you to those who continue to invest their time and resources into making Kamvalethu the switch that powers passion and drives change in the lives of so many. May you continue to be the life-giving force behind growing a generation empowered through education.