Dear CHOSA friends and supporters,
Greetings from the Mother City! The year thus far has been one of transition and learning as Rob Rosenbaum, our Regional Director for the past three years, stepped down to pursue a master’s degree in the U.S. He handed over this crucial work to us – Solitide Dasie, CHOSA’s Project Coordinator, and Abbie Heffelfinger, CHOSA’s first Fellow – in the first quarter of 2011, and we have been working hard to follow in his footsteps.[Solitude is from the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa, and moved to Cape Town’s Khayelitsha township in 2001. His passions are performance art and community-building, and he has been involved with local grassroots organizations since 2006. He is co-founder of a movement called Soundz of the South (SOS), which uses hip-hop and poetry to empower young people and be a hub for community.
Abbie is from the east coast of the U.S., and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2010 with a degree in International Development and Social Work. She has pursued her passion for international studies in India, South Africa, and Argentina, and most recently interned with Save the Children in central Uganda, documenting a public health and family planning project in rural villages.]
Since we joined the team in January, we have had such a rich and rewarding experience. Two of our most recent successes have been networking events, which we have planned and executed together with CHOSA’s Community Coordinators, Zukie Mabuya and Jared Sacks. These events served as opportunities for our partner organizations to come together and learn important skills to better care for their children. An event on accident prevention, facilitated by a South African organization called ChildSafe, taught 26 mamas, caregivers, and teachers from 10 different organizations how to prevent accidents in their homes and schools. The participants requested a follow-up event on child abuse, so in June we partnered with Simameleni Child Abuse Organization to provide our organizations with training on how to prevent, identify, and respond to issues of child abuse.
Recent months have brought many new beginnings. CHOSA has moved to a new office, and we love the space! We have begun to foster a relationship with a day-care center in Harare (a section of Khayelitsha) called Christal Educare Centre, whose founder dreams of teaching employment skills to the community so that families may better sustain themselves. We have also begun to meet with an organization called The Bridge, a transitional facility and home for street boys. It is an amazing program and we hope to provide volunteers for them in coming semesters. We plan to slowly build relationships with these organizations, and have begun by including them in our networking events.
Celebrating our wonderful caregivers and children is central to the heart of CHOSA. Some of our local supporters recently put on a seasonal party for the kids and caregivers at Ilitha Labantwana and Emasithandane, which was a great success! A professional face painter, a plethora of food and cool drinks, balls and frisbees, all in a beautiful venue contributed to an exciting time for all.
We also recently hosted a fun-filled day of creativity and self-expression at Lookout Hill for 26 children from Qaqambani, Ilitha and Abaphumeleli. Facilitated by a group of service-learning students from Michigan State University, the kids engaged in activities and discussions around reading and writing poetry and other forms of creative expression.
With a new semester of our after-school volunteer programs underway, we are pleased to announce that we have over 30 volunteers working in the children’s homes we serve this semester! This incredible showing of passion and commitment, paired with exciting new developments at many of our partner projects, promises an eventful next few months for CHOSA.
On behalf of the entire CHOSA staff on the ground, we thank you for all of your support, and look forward to keeping in touch with further updates!
Abbie and Solitude