written by: Nosisa Mhlathi, co-founder of Township Roots
2016 was both very challenging and exciting year for Township Roots. We have grown immensely as an organisation and we are grateful for many opportunities and achievements. Here are some of the highlights for 2016 and what we wish for in 2017!
We participated in the launch of FUNDA LEADER initiative launched by our partner Nal’ibali. We have managed to mobilise all schools participating in TR programmes to organise events and celebrate literacy related dates on the calendar including; World Book Day, Literacy Day, Library Day and International Children’s Book Day. These events give the schools an opportunity to raise awareness of literacy related activities and their importance in the development of a child.
Our learners participated in Spelling bee competition, organised by the City of Cape Town Libraries and they did well. In May 2016 we were honoured to be invited to participate in Nozincwadi Schools Festival; an event held in Khayelitsha, organised by Gcinamasiko Arts and Heritage Trust, in collaboration with REDISA (Recycling and Economic Development Initiative of South Africa).
Majority of our beneficiaries have library cards and are making use of local libraries. We have 100% pass rate and to date, there has been no school drop outs. We host and get invited to parents meetings, in these meetings we receive regular positive feedback from both parents and teachers about how the programme has positively impacted their children’s lives. The impact can be seen in our reading program were we encourage reading at home, we have introduced mobile libraries, in a form of shoe boxes that children get to decorate and fill them with books. This allows learners to take books back home and it reminds them that learning does not stop when school finishes, it continues in their everyday activities outside of school premises.
As a Non Profit Company (NPC) TR has adopted a lifestyle brand orientation approach, and it is to stand a great chance of making positive change in lives of young people growing up in the townships. The brand carries the hope for people from impoverished communities. This brand is firmly rooted in communities; our immense understanding of the township community dynamics puts our brand in position to make greater impact in transforming the lives of children. With the start-up funding from our Australian funding partner YGAP we have started selling t-shirts. Our longer term goal is to introduce other merchandise to support the running costs of the organisation.
2016 Success Stories
Bulelani Futshane, our Director was employed full time by our Swedish funding partner Influence Tours. This opportunity allowed him to spend more time overseeing the day to day running of the organisation. We are grateful for this opportunity as it came in at the most needed time to address the growing demands of the organisation.
5 For Change
5 For Change is an annual black tie fundraiser dedicated to raising awareness about 5 inspiring social enterprises which are changing the way Cape Town gives back. Every year 5 For Change look for initiatives that are making a difference in their communities and doing it in a way that is inspiring and unique. Each year they select and showcase 5 inspiring organisations chosen for their approach to making a difference in the lives of others. Township Roots was one of the finalist beneficiaries for 2016, and we were delighted to be one of 5 selected organisations.
Change the Game Academy
We were fortunate to be part of a two weeks training organised by Change the Game Academy. This training was on Mobilising support and Local fundraising and it was sponsored by our Dutch funding partner Stichting Projecten Zuid-Afrika.
High School Scholarship Programme
We are happy to announce that Township Roots Scholarship Programme Alumni, Khanya Xhongo from Intsebenziswano High in Philippi. She has received 6 distinctions which include top learner student across Western Cape Province in IsiXhosa. Khanya will pursue her studies at University of Cape Town (UCT) to date Township Roots has 3 alumnus at UCT.
What we wish for in 2017
Shortcomings in the education system and failure of targeted social development initiatives render school children in our communities to a number of social ills such as crime and substance abuse, all of which have the potential to adversely affect the future of the youth. Lack of sport development, recreational facilities, and most importantly lack of parental involvement in supporting the academic activities of the children is amongst the major factors that contribute in the increase of school drop outs.
Township Roots understands the limitations faced by parents from township communities. We have adopted a holistic approach which not only helps to close academic gaps, but helps to nurture non-academic capabilities too, ensuring that children develop the practical and psycho-social skills they need to stay in school, while fostering talents and skills that fall outside the basic school curriculum. Our programmes further prioritises the Girl child as the most vulnerable to township ills and therefore deserve more support and nurturing to give her a better chance of succeeding life in the townships.
Our current limitations include committed full time employed staff, especially Project Manager is needed to lead the implementation of the projects. Improved training and incentives for volunteers, as well as office facility to accommodate the growth of the organisation.
We would like to say a big Thank You to all our Donors, Volunteers, Partners, Board of Directors and to our Supporters and Social Media Followers.