A birthday hug for Zola kids

Many children can’t wait for their birthday and all the gifts and attention that comes with it. But when Mathale Malema turned 11, she didn’t think about herself.

She gathered all her friends and asked them to donate clothes and toys to the little ones at ACFS; and then spent a Saturday with our kids at Zola celebrating her big day.

Thank you, Mathale, for your warm birthday hug! You’re an inspiration to us all.

Remember, even if you can’t celebrate your birthday with us in person, you can celebrate by donating a party to our children. Birthday parties are a rare treat – and a little bit of happiness goes a long way!

If you’d like to sponsor a party please email us at info@acfs.org.za.

Thank you!

Emndeni ladies love learning

The more we upskill ACFS parents and caregivers, the better their chance of becoming self-sustainable. That’s why we have ongoing adult skills training at our community centres.

In March, our ladies at Emndeni were empowered with crocheting and sewing techniques, while Ukuvuna taught them about vegetable and herb production.

Beneficiaries can grow crops in the smallest of spaces – anything from old tyres to maize meal sacks – to supplement their diet with fresh veggies and vitamins.

Thank you for supporting our caregivers as they strive to move beyond dependency.

Teens let their hair down

The Teenage Girls Programme has brought joy and poise to thousands of young girls since it was piloted in 2019. It’s attracting the attention of wonderful supporters and volunteers.

In April, Pat from the Teddy Bear Foundation and ENKE youth service volunteers held drama sessions for the girls at Jabavu.

These girls face many daily struggles and it was such fun to see them let their hair down.

Sixteen-year-old Hlengi*, who lives in two-roomed house in Pimville with 18 family members, says the club has helped her focus on her personal growth. “I’m no longer angry with other children at school. I like my English teacher more because I can answer questions – and I have more mature conversations with my peers.”

Hlengi’s confidence has grown and with it, her aspirations. “I wish to become a mechanical engineer or a lawyer. I can’t wait to buy my own house!”

*Not her real name

Follow the food trail

Times change and programmes evolve. But one thing will never change: our determination to nourish hungry children.

The ACFS runs a two-tier feeding programme:

  • The after school feeding programme reaches over 12 000 children at nine community centres. They are served a peanut butter sandwich with a cup of milk and fresh fruit three days a week; and a hot meal twice a week.
  • Our ECD programme caters for 260 children aged three to six years. They receive formal ECD classes and porridge, a fresh fruit snack, and a hot lunch.
  • A nutrition outreach programme targets very young children from much-deprived households in informal settlements. It reaches about 2 400 children.
  • Monthly food parcels are distributed to 350 families living far below the breadline. Food parcels are donated mainly by well-wishers and companies like Tiger Brands. Parents and caregivers also receive food garden training.

We thank all our donors for helping us build this wonderful network of nourishment.

Books bring joy

All ACFS centres now have something wonderful: a registered Nal’ibali reading club. 

Nal’ibali is a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign to spark learning through storytelling and reading.

We kicked off the programme in May by holding workshops to train reading club facilitators. These adults are passionate about reading. They will create opportunities for children to handle books, listen to stories, play games and discuss stories.

Research shows that South African Grade 4 children cannot read for meaning. We are also aware that children in our poor communities are even more at risk on falling behind from basic literacy skills. We urgently need to change that – because literacy skills are a strong predictor of academic success.

Growing Giants against all odds, thanks to you!

If you stood up to support our ongoing ‘Hampers of Hope’ campaign – thank you! We distributed 2 096 food hampers in November and December 2020; and another 774 parcels from January to April 2021.

These hampers literally saved lives. The generosity of our donors is nothing short of incredible.

In the months before lockdown, ACFS was serving daily meals to about 10 400 children across our centres in Soweto, Alexandra, Thembisa and Tsakane. In response to Covid-19, we prepared and distributed food parcels to 14 500 households. By the end of July 2020, our food parcel drive had reached 24 000 households!

Children like Thuli Tshabalala* and her four siblings, who live in a shack in Tladi, don’t enjoy everyday comforts like running water or electricity. But they have food every day – and even on special occasions like Christmas and Easter.

Five-year-old Sothini* and her little brother Cebisile*, who live in a shack in Doornkop with their mom, knew only biting hunger until they were enrolled for a daily peanut butter sandwich and milk; and a monthly Hamper of Hope.

The ACFS has over 13 000 hungry children like these registered across Jo’burg. Yet we’re flooded with hundreds of requests for food from desperate children and adults.

Malnutrition has well-known long-term consequences on children’s education, health, social and economic outcomes. But it also has immediate consequences, and we’re seeing a rise in bullying and child-on-child aggression.

But there’s hope. And it comes from donors like you.

Kindness from individual and corporate donors enabled us to continue to fulfil our mandate during this unprecedented hardship. Against all odds, our strategic goals and targets remain firmly on track.

Despite the chaos of 2020, we still managed to launch three additional Teenage Girls Programmes and opened two new centres in Tsakane and Kagiso. We also added another Toy Library in Naledi.

We’ve taken the opportunity to rebuild and reposition our organisation for the future. We have launched a bright new logo and slogan: Advancing Children For Success. It’s a clear and bold indication of our intention to create opportunities for children; and to provide them with support and intervention to help them build a brighter future.

Thank you, one and all, for your continued support of our children. Without them, we have no future.

As you can see, the winds of change are blowing! So zip up your anorak and jump aboard the ACFS ship. The giants of tomorrow need your support today. Thank you!

*Not their real names

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