teaching

A dream comes true

A little girl gazed at her Grade 7 teacher and felt a tug at her heart: “That’s what I want to be when I grow up.” Eight years later, the dream is now virtually a reality for Nobuhle Ndlovu. Back in 2012, she was a pupil at Amaoti No. 3 Combined School and her dreams seemed like the early morning mist in the North Durban township valleys which rapidly disappears as the sun rises. Her family had four mouths to feed and there certainly was no extra money for grand schemes like becoming a teacher.

Nobuhle went on successfully to complete her Matric at Amaoti No. 3 where she had been on The Domino Foundation’s Life Skills programme. Through this connection, the aspiring trainer of young minds heard of Domino’s Skills Development programme which has created a platform through education to empower and equip young people from economically challenged backgrounds to reach their full potential. Opportunities to gain an education in a chosen field are opened up by The Domino Foundation’s Bursary Programme by providing access to funding for tertiary qualifications, living and travel allowances and educational resources. Nobuhle was determined and went through the interview process and was awarded a bursary to study for a B Ed degree at UKZ Edgewood.

Three years later, the journey is almost over but hasn’t been without its challenges, particularly during the time of Lockdown. “Not being able to go to lectures on campus has my studies this year more difficult with I have been blessed with a laptop and with data so I have been able to be part of online lectures and video calls with my lecturers and supervisors.” She initially found home-learning challenging without the interaction and stimulation of being together with her peers: however, as a teacher-in-the-making. “I have learnt that improvisation and lateral thinking are two vital tools for any educator so I really think Lockdown has brought me some benefits!”

 Nobuhle had practical classroom sessions scheduled for this year but found the altered landscape of Lockdown challenging. “The transition from contact classes to online classes demanded so much extra work and zoom meetings and teaching sessions were made more difficult because the network in Amaoti is very bad.”

This self-assured and engaging young pedagogue’s greatest dream is to support learners to achieve their goals as her teachers did for her. “All my teachers played an important in my life from primary to high school to keep me grounded and focused on my dreams. I want to do the same for the new generation of learners.” Nobuhle is currently looking for a position as a teacher of business studies and of travel and tourism.

Unlike the little girl in the front row of the Grade 7 who could not imagine how her dream could ever take shape, Nobuhle is determined to be a facilitator of change in the lives of her young charges. Shaun Tait, CEO of The Domino Foundation would welcome enquiries from companies and individuals who would like to be part of making the dreams of other aspiring future students take on reality. He can be contacted at admin@domino.org.za or 031 563 9605.

Caption:

Successful graduate on The Domino Foundation’s Skills Development programme, Nobuhle Ndlovu, with her UKN mentor, Thulisile Hlope.

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Student Social Workers at Indlela

Students making cupcakes

This term Indlela has had the privilege of helping 2 social work students complete their honours at the schools on our INDLELA Learning for Life programme.

Natalie Ogden sheds some light on her experiences, as she spent time at Amaoti 3 combined school, helping and assisting the girls to overcome certain obstacles and situations, while gaining a valuable understanding of life in a community and even herself.

My first day at Amaoti 3 School was very eye-opening. As a student social worker you are expected to do pre-group interviews and select a handful of pupils which you feel will benefit from group work counselling. After my first day I felt overwhelmed by the magnitude of needs that these pupils have. It was decided that I would work with the female grade 11 pupils who have a high pregnancy rate at the school. As a student social worker you are left with so many value dilemma’s in realising that a whole generation of children are faced with the harsh reality of teenage pregnancy and other youth related decisions. So many of the pupils are orphans, have more than one child and some were pregnant at the time of the interviews. How do you decide who should benefit from a 12 week counselling group workshop and who does not…. The need is so overwhelming, but we serve a God that knows each and every one of these girls and after three weeks of interviews, I selected my 9 girls and we began the process.

Students participating in Natalie’s counselling workshop

Social work for those of you that don’t know, is more than counselling and trying to fix perceived problems. As a student you are learning about yourself, about how organisations work and in my case…how group work actually happens in reality.  Here is this young, white female in the middle of the Amaoti community thinking that she can make a difference and realises that social work is more about getting down on your knees and digging in the dirt looking for diamonds that others can’t see. The world sees a generation of pregnant teenagers… I see a generation of woman who need to learn to shine and be who God called them to be.

I walked away on the 1st June 2012 having done our last session, there were mixed emotions of happiness in seeing how much the girls had grown and the strength they gathered from one another through support and trust. I was also sad at knowing that I had done what I had come to do, that I needed to trust in the seeds that were planted and that the students had the ability to be the difference they spoke about in the sessions.

There is a generation of children in the community of Amaoti who are orphans and many are facing hardship and indescribable pain… But they are strong, they are survivors and I know that with an organisation like Indlela who is prepared to dig in the dirt and make a difference… This generation is one that will not be left behind. Thank you Indlela staff for showing me that social work is in the heart and that a community is stronger than any perceived need. Together we can make a difference and you don’t need to be a social worker to get dirty and make a difference.

UNISA Social Work Students: Hlengiwe Thusi & Natalie Ogden

Farewell Party treats as the girls decorate cupcakes to show their lives and what they have learnt

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