The following is an update from Diana Coke, Asbury in Mission (AIM)’s liaison with Thembelihle School in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Thembelihle provides quality education to young children from disadvantaged backgrounds in the region. Thanks to your giving to AIM, Asbury is able to provide scholarships for three children at the school. http://www.thembelihleschool.co.za/
Greetings to you all at this Thanksgiving Time in America.
I have been attending the Prizegiving ceremonies for Grades 1, 2 and 3 this week – all held on different days. It was wonderful to see how well the children, and teachers, have coped with this very difficult year. It was also great to be back to see the bright and cheerful eyes behind their masks.
I began working in February with 4 little Grade 2 children who were struggling. We had such fun together, but they were obviously finding it hard to keep up with the others. It was very sad to have to stop because of lockdown. So it was heartwarming to see that their certificates all showed they had improved immensely this year. One was for ‘Best Speller’, and another for ‘Most improved at Maths’.
Every presentation opened with prayer by a teacher. One day the children all said the Lord’s Prayer. Each child in the Junior Primary Phase received a colourful certificate. Some were for ‘Master of Maths/English’; ‘Best at Art’; ‘Best Reader’; ‘Achievement in All Subjects’; ‘Most Improved in ….’ etc; but many were for values such as ‘Kindest Heart’; ‘Cares for Others’; ‘Most Thoughtful’ etc. They were also each given a gift bag made up by our Ladies Evening Fellowship Group at Howick Methodist Church, from donations received from our congregation. We were overwhelmed at how much was given, considering the tough year this has been for so many.
I asked Limise’s [one of the children Asbury sponsors] teacher how he was coping, and her face lit up. She said he’s doing so well, and she’s so proud of him. But he’s a very shy little boy. It was sad to see that his jersey had holes in it and his trousers were not going to last much longer. The same applied to many of his classmates.
One recent change at the school is that instead of children coming for half a day, then being expected to continue working in their workbooks at home, they now attend school for the whole day. They still only spend half the time with their teachers, who say that being able to work with small classes has given them a chance to work individually with each child. The rest of the time they work on their workbooks in other spaces, particularly the lovely new hall, with the oversight of assistants. It was found that many of the children couldn’t cope with working alone at home, where there was often no one with the educational skills to help them. Also, some of the transport drivers weren’t taking them home directly, but driving round picking up other children, so they very often only got home at their usual time. This new system seems to be working very well.
Yet again, very many thanks for the difference you have made in these special children this year. It’s obviously been an incredibly tough year for everyone, and we pray that 2021 will see Covid being controlled and life returned to some kind of normal for the whole world.
My best wishes to all at Asbury Methodist Church.