The new “varsity” semester is well underway in South Africa, and with it a new cohort of study-abroad students have arrived to volunteer with CHOSA’s After-School Program!

This term, volunteers continue to tutor the children at Emasithandane and Baphumelele Children’s Homes, which have hosted our after-school program for years. We also have now expanded to two new community projects in Khayelitsha, Abaphumeleli and S.A. Beware, and one new project in the township of Nyanga, Hoops for Hope. Abaphumeleli, as reported in our other updates, is a home of safety for orphaned and vulnerable children. S.A. Beware focuses on performing arts in the informal settlement of TT Section, Khayelitsha, while Hoops for Hope supports athletics programs.  Both are also now benefitting from the academically-oriented tutoring that our volunteers provide.

At the end of February, CHOSA hosted an orientation for prospective volunteers which enabled the students to visit the projects where they will be tutoring. Solitude and Elena provided the new volunteers with background information on each project and advised them on ways to work with the children in a culturally sensitive way. The tutors then chose partners, decided which age groups to work with, and began discussing lesson plans to cater to the children’s different levels of understanding and learning styles. At the time of writing, a few weeks into the program, the tutors have begun building strong relationships with the children, stimulating the children’s abilities and confidence, and learning just as much as they are teaching!

At CHOSA, we work to ensure that the learning process is a two-way street. Our volunteers should be learning from the children, Even as our volunteers lead the children in projects as diverse as teaching multiplication and division and how to build a solar system out of paper maché, we believe that our volunteers should be learning from the children daily. This is at the heart of what makes our After-School Program so special!