Domino Life Skills

EGG-STATIC!

 

The response to The Domino Foundation’s appeal for Easter eggs was overwhelming. Every child on the Foundation’s Feeding programme received a chocolate-covered symbol of new life, the triumphant message of the Easter story. Schools, church groups, companies, families and individuals showed great generosity in the almost 9000 eggs they donated. Working together with Cathy Whittle, leader of the Feeding programme, Pippa Coote of Sprout Consulting, galvanised various businesses enterprises to bring in 4500 of the eggs. The young leaners at Qalakahle Crèche, Mansell Road, Stamford Hill, were delighted with the taste treat brought by the Easter Rabbit. Their crèche was one among the many which were blessed through the generosity of so many. Other channels through and to which eggs were distributed were The Domino Foundation’s Feeding, Babies’ Home, Life Skills and Red Light programmes, creches in Amaoti, Waterloo, the Durban CBD and the Point area, Glenridge, Anthem and Every Nation Churches, Youth for Christ, Mildene Retirement Village and Villa Sunfield old age home and frail care facility. On behalf of all those who were blessed by the wide and generous response to our appeal, we say “Thank you!” It was an Easter to remember!

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READING THEIR WAY INTO A WIDER WORLD

After working for a year in Amaoti at Susan Ncgobo School, the international outreach group, Project TEN, undertook the refurbishing of a small room at the school as a library. They had been introduced to the school through The Domino Foundation’s Life Skills programme which then took up the challenge to see the shelves filled with books. A total of almost 500 books has now been donated to the fledgling library through the amazing response to the appeal put out. The students at Akiva College were particularly generous in their response to the appeal. Said Cameron Wulfsohn, head of Akiva’s Executive Committee for Outreach, “We are privileged to be able to know the books we have given will help the pupils at the school in the great adventure of being able to read.” Accepting the books, Mrs Swazi Shebangu, Principal of Susan Ncgobo, said they were part of the answer to a long-held dream to see a library facility established at the school.

Where only a month earlier the shelves had been almost empty of reading material, Mrs Amanda Mthetwa, school librarian, is now anxiously wondering where she will put any more books which might be donated. But it is a wonderful challenge to have. The community’s great generosity has resulted in reading books suitable for Grade R through to Grade 7 now virtually filling the shelves to capacity. The library is in need of English dictionaries to help the older pupils who are puzzled by unfamiliar words, and isiZulu story books for the children in the lower grades who are taught in their mother tongue. The library space also could do with bean bags and cushions for the young learners while they enjoy their story times and anyone who may have a spare bookcase (preferably metal, but not essential) will know that it will find an excellent home there. If you are able to help us with any of these items, please contact Leigh-Ann Stevens (leigh-ann@domino.org.za).

The vision is growing for the library to become a fuller resource centre for the school where teachers can access teaching materials like posters and charts for their lessons. Staff are being canvassed for their input on what materials would be useful. This would be an excellent opportunity for volunteers with The Domino Foundation to research and produce these materials. Two volunteers with excellent credentials in the area of libraries and literacy are already on board. David Hellinger, with thirty years in tertiary education behind him and involvement with various reading-oriented programmes, and retired librarian, Frances Callan, have already had input into the effective running of the new library and have vision for ways in which to develop the facility into one which effectively resources the community at Susan Ngcobo. Frances has cast her expert eye over volumes which have been donated and has seen that there is a need for non-fiction books suitable for Grades 6 and 7 dealing with the following subjects: South African history post 1994; inventions; science; ecology; computers; the history and geography of Africa. Books in isiZulu for all levels from Grade R to Grade 7 are also desperately needed. For any of these or for information on any aspect of Life Skills activities, please get in touch with Leigh-Ann on leigh-ann@domino.org.za.

 

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Life Skills Programme Update – 3rd Quarter

 

We are delighted that Nonhlanhla Majola has joined the team as a Youth Worker.

A total of 104 Life Skills lessons were taught in the course of the third term.

An introductory meeting with Edge Training has led to agreement being reached to pilot an after-school sports programme, either in Term 4 2017 or Term 1 of 2018.  Edge is awaiting sponsorship of equipment for this.

The Grade 7 learners from Zwakele took part in the Edge Schools leadership training 14-16th August.

Lifeline’s course, “Protective Behaviour” is being looked at with the team possibly going for training for February 2018. Meetings are being held to discuss training in counselling.

In 2018, one of the workers with the Life Skills programme will be offering Zulu dancing at the school as an extra-curricular activity.  A proposal is being put together to offer debating and leadership-training with class representatives and prefects is being considered.

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Medical Students Impact Matrics

With its express purpose of empowering school learners to make wise life-choices, The Domino Foundation’s Life Skills programme was delighted to have four UKZN medical students tutoring the Grade 12 learners at Amaoti 3 Combined. Working together with the school’s Principal, Mrs Maphumulo, and Physical Science teacher, Mr Majiya, the four university students, (Gift Machabe, Ayanda Nkosi, Sinethemba Mgolombane and Siyethemba Zwane) gave sixteen hours of Maths and Science coaching to the Amaoti learners on Saturday mornings. During this time, the medical students also facilitated an HIV/AIDS awareness workshop. Thanking them, Mr Majiya said, “Our students owe much of their success in their exams to your input”.

The Domino Foundation Life Skills programme reaches primary school children in the early teenage years in the Amaoti community. We believe that behaviour change is best effected through long-term relationships with learners in the formative phase of their lives. We impact a number of schools and reach children between the ages of 6 and 17 years. Our vision is to empower learners to make wise life choices, instilling in them a sense of self-worth and purpose and offering them hope for the future.

The Life Skills Programme comprises a four year HIV/AIDS prevention programme which runs at primary schools as part of the Life Orientation lesson. The project goal is to impact the lives of children who are vulnerable and under threat of HIV/AIDS. Work is done with children from 9-13 years assisting with their physical, cognitive, emotional and relational support and development.

The Domino Foundation Life Skills programme is dependent on both corporate and individual financial donors, on non-financial donors and on volunteers. If you would like more information, please contact Leigh-Ann Stevens (leigh-ann@domino.org.za) or 0315639605

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Words, words, words!

To mark International Literacy Day, celebrated annually on 8 September, Glen Anil-based automotive parts supplier, Grandmark, sponsored a two-and-a-half-hour event at Zwakele Primary School. Grandmark staff worked with youth workers of The Domino Foundation Life Skills programme and Grade 4 teachers to ensure its success. Each class had a session of an arts-and-crafts activity (making a bookmark, we didn’t play a game – playing a game and having a chance to have a photo-booth literary character photograph taken).  Some of the donated shared-readers were then read by Grandmark staff to each class.  The event ended with an official handover of books to the school for future use by Grade 4 learners and was followed by a treat and snack for all participating learners.  The school and The Domino Foundation’s Life Skills programme expressed their gratitude to Grandmark for partnering with the programme. Julia Knowler, an expert in reading material for school children and the organiser of the purchase of the readers through Sherin Books and Charts, was also thanked. In all, twelve large shared-reading books and 432 individual reading English language reading books were donated.

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Life Skills Programme Update – 2nd Quarter

Working into four schools in the Amaoti area, the Life Skills programme continues to develop and refine the team’s  teaching of the lessons and training in  the upgrades of the curriculum. One-on-one counselling and learner support is growing into an increasingly important part of what some of the team are undertaking.

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In collaboration with various local and international groups and individuals, the programme has helped facilitate the starting of ongoing projects like Project TEN’s Youth Movement in Amaoti, drama workshops, maths and science tutoring by 1st year medical students and a very successful soccer day run by Love Church and Sharks Soccer for Grade 4 pupils at Amaoti 3 Primary.

 

One of the people partnering with the Life Skills programme is Tebogo Petlele, founder of “Seponono Africa”, an Afrocentric brand that showcases the beauty of Africa through headwraps, African accessories and clothes.  Motivated by her self-discovery journey of wearing a headwrap for a year, Tebogo, has created a platformLife Skills Upadte 1 for women to celebrate life and their individuality. Tebogo engaged with Grade 4 learners at Amaoti 3 Primary School recently when she encouraged them to appreciate their external and, more importantly inward, beauty. (‘Seponono’ is a Tswana word describing a woman’s beauty). She spent time at the school as part of The Domino Foundation’s Life Skills programme, encouraging the pupils to value who they are as young black women. Women are encouraged to wear them as declarations of who they are and of their purpose in life.

 

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Stories from the classroom: 4th Quarter 2016

When young people feel a sense of self-worth and purpose they’re more empowered to make wise life choices. Our Life Skills workers have seen this belief come to life time and time again; the valuable lessons they teach bearing fruit in the lives of the young learners they teach.

This year the learners from the four schools in Amaoti have particularly loved being exposed to new places, activities, and experiences through the Life Skills programme. The creative energies of the Girls Club have been ignited through beading, crafting and making. Some young ladies also visited COGS church for a morning of leadership training. And a few boys were taken a Leadership Camp where they were taught valuable life skills and had time to enjoy the outdoors. They were chosen for the trip to help them see life outside of the allure of underage drug and alcohol abuse. It was a jam-packed action adventure weekend and the boys left profoundly influenced and inspired.

Our youth workers continue to be equipped through regular trainings to tackle the challenges of teaching young learners faced with navigating being a teenager and are facing tough circumstances. We’re also incredibly lucky to have a handful of UNISA social work students placed with us during the year. They assist the youth workers with one-one-one counseling sessions and facilitate therapeutic groups for learners facing real challenges of sexual abuse, a terrible reality for many, as well as focus groups for those young learners who had lost parents and friends to HIV / AIDS.

This past quarter we also took the time to honour the four schools’ teachers by inviting them to a screening of Freedom Writers, a movie based on a true story of a teacher who was able to transform the lives of a classroom of at-risk students. It’s a movie promoting a message of empowerment, tolerance, and innovative teaching. There was clapping, smiles and tears.

Thank you to every donor for your support. Your donations enable us to steadily build into the lives of these young learners, which although challenging is both a privilege and an honour.

 

Girls club outing to Springfield swimming pool

The Girls Club outing to Springfield swimming pool.

Leadership camp with some boys from the Amaoti schools.

Leadership camp with some boys from the Amaoti schools.

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Why should we sign all this paperwork when we’re only here to help?

This question often pops up when volunteers decide to volunteer at The Domino Foundation… Why should we sign all this paperwork when we’re only here to help?

We love it when volunteers are willing to pour their time, talents and treasures into the Domino Foundation. It’s thanks to the generosity of others that our programmes can continue running. However, our first priority always lies with our beneficiaries. So in order to protect them and protect the integrity of our programmes we have a few policies in place.

  • Every volunteer is required to sign an Indemnity Form.
  • Babies’ Home volunteers are required to sign and submit a ‘Form 30’ which is an inquiry form that is sent to Department of Social Development (DSD) to verify if an individual is on the ‘offenders’ section of the register. If they are in the ‘offenders’ section they are not allowed to “work with or have access to children”. All our Babies Home staff submits these yearly.
  • Babies’ Home volunteers will also notice that we have a strict photography policy as we want to ensure the children under our care, as well as the eventual adoptive parents, are not exploited in any way and that their privacy is closely guarded. With a few simple guidelines, outlined before any visit, children and volunteers are protected and everyone can enjoy time together.

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#KnowYourNPO: Life Skills

Throughout the year we’ve shone a light on each of The Domino Foundation’s expansive programmes so that you, our amazing supporters, can get to know more about us. Now it’s time for our Life Skills programme to take the limelight… #KnowyourNPO #LifeSkills

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#1. Our Life Skills vision is to empower young learners to make wise life choices, instilling in them a sense of self-worth and purpose and offering them hope for the future. Through engaging life skills lessons and after school recreational activities in three Amaoti schools we help learners realise the immense value they carry – and that they can change their world!

#2. Our Life Skills lessons offer learners an open and engaging platform to talk through tough topics. Either parents are too busy or the school is viewed as being responsible for bringing up the children; leaving complicated topics like puberty, relationships, and friendships without any discussion. In order for learners to develop as adults, they need to have an opportunity to reflect, discuss and act. 

#3. The Boys and Girls Club provides a safe and fun space for learners to explore creative and sporting interests. The three schools the Life Skills Project works into don’t always have the resources to offer stimulating afternoon activities, so our clubs facilitate sessions on soccer, aerobics, and medical talks. We’re all about creating a well-rounded learner! 

#4 Wanting to know exactly how our Life Skills programme operates?

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#5 As with most schools we reach – sports, culture and other recreational activities are not easily accessible, so our Boys & Girls Club bridges that gap and provides fun sports and recreational options for learners as seen in the awesome infographic below.

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#6 There are many ways to support our Life Skills programme like donating via Zapper South Africa. Simply scan the QR code below and BAM – you’re funding a child’s education!

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#7 Another way to support our Life Skills programme is to add The Domino Foundation as your MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet beneficiary. You can have up to 3 beneficiaries so no need to just choose one! More here and update details here.

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Stories from the classroom: 3rd Quarter 2016

As a teenager, it’s crucial to continually hear words of affirmation. Phrases like: you’re special, irreplaceable and unique. A large part of the Domino Foundation’s Life Skills lessons cover these values that help build self-esteem and raise leaders.

Recently, the Grade 6 girls from Zakele Primary School were treated to an uplifting day called “Fire and Grace” at COGS Church. This gentle time on a Saturday morning was an opportunity for learners to hear encouraging words, enjoy some fun sessions learning etiquette and enjoy some tea and scones.

A big thanks to Cox Yeats Attorneys for generously donating Subz Washable Pads and panties to the Grade 6 Girls at Zakele Primary School. They welcomed twenty learners into their Umhlanaga Ridge offices to enjoy some delicious treats and listen to a talk on adolescence led by a Domino Foundation Life Skills mentor. Cox Yeats Attorneys also shared their own career journey with the learners, introducing new careers and inspiring the learners to think beyond high school. Not only was the afternoon a wonderful time of sisterhood and bonding but it was a valuable opportunity to answer any misconceptions surrounding becoming a woman.

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The Girls Club has been busy this past term with a number of fun and educational events including a DIY day making ‘lock boxes from cardboard and gift paper and a Hygiene Day presented by two experts, Kathy (Dental Hygienist) and Thabani (Hair Stylist at Unilever). Kathy was amazing and showed the girls how to really look after their teeth and Thabani wowed everyone on his knowledge about Afro hair and how to care for it. The learners loved their hygiene packs (soap, loofahs, deodorants, shower gels) and toothbrushes and Colgate kits that were handed out too.

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The Life Skills team is always looking for gifts to add to gift bags for the Girls and Boys Club or Life Skills learners. In particular, the Boys Club is looking for soccer balls. If you can donate useful products please email us!

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