Pure Glee

8 March 2010

The joy of a child…should you need a reminder. This is pool day at Nokuphila School.

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Nokuphila School

4 February 2010

It’s 3am. I’m not one to experience insomnia, but after just a few short hours of sleep I’m now wide awake with visions of little children dancing in my head. My mind won’t rest on account of 45 kids laughing, playing, dancing, crying, singing, yelling, hugging, jumping, painting. They are the kids from Nokuphila School where I have been volunteering three days per week…and I love them so much I can’t sleep.

Nokuphila School opened its doors three weeks ago to 45 pre-schoolers ages 3-5. It provides disadvantaged children of Tembisa an educational alternative to some of the bleak realities of this township community: crime, illiteracy, HIV and AIDS, no electricity or bathrooms in some areas, unemployment and poverty (households earring less than 800 Rand a month – approximately $115). Made possible by Love Trust, an organization funded by corporations and individuals, the  school’s model for development is based on the core expertise and educational track record of Christ Church Midrand’s independent school.

And this focus on early-childhood development is making a difference.

Just three weeks ago the children had never before experienced the structure of school: teachers, lessons, playtime, lunchtime, nap-time, music, art and sports. English was new to their Zulu, Sesotho, Xhosa and other native African tongues. As was standing in a line, getting into a circle, listening for instructions and repeating new words. But they’re like sponges, these precious kids, and today they can converse in English about each others’ names, ages, and neighborhoods. They can count to ten, say please and thank you, ask for help, and name the colors on their paint brushes. They listen, repeat and follow instructions. Perhaps most importantly, they trust their teachers and are excited to be in school – this happy and safe place where they are cared for and nurtured.

To write it, these accomplishments almost sound like nothing… Maybe if you just saw their smiles or heard their gleeful squeals or had the littlest one raise a hopeful eye and say “Teacha Aublie, see you tomorrow?” You bet I’ll be there tomorrow. I can hardly wait.

More photos here