December 2013 – Clouds Update

As you know, I am a local town councillor, and this time of the year calls for lots of final/ urgent decisions. Also the sad passing of our beloved Nelson Mandela has meant having to attend memorial services held in the district.

I just hope and pray that the leaders of our wonderful country take his lessons seriously – the struggle is certainly not over and the long walk to freedom for all not there yet. The children, he so dearly loved, are really not getting the life they deserve. My work in the townships with the poorest of the poor continues endlessly.

We relied pretty heavily on the Lotto funding – in hindsight not a good idea to rely on anything connected to government funding. Something you and I have discussed over the years.

The payment of mothers  and for the salary of our Manager Steve and Zesizwe our Social development officer is not covered with the small social grant we get for the children. Most funders want to fund specific projects such as buildings and are not really interested in ongoing costs.

We have been going over 10 years and the costs of refurbishment, maintenance of the cottages etc is now coming to the fore. Do you know most of the cottages still have the furnishings you sent out in the container from Canada from the Hotel groups?

The move of the junior children to Reichenau school has proved to be a huge success. The children have settled well and the Christian environment in which they learn is really encouraging. We are thrilled with their results.

The 4 students at Underberg Academy (Jenny Grinwiss’ School) have all passed and will go onto the next grade- praise the Lord- They do however have challenges with Maths as a result of the basics not having been learned. Personally I think when Pierre and Jackie left as teachers of Faithway they took the sound basic education instilled in the children with them!

We have indeed been blessed, that an anonymous sponsor has agreed to continue funding their fees so they can continue at this fine academy.

The 3 girls at Lawhill Maritime School have done well and settled very well a long way from home. They are at home for the school Christmas holidays and hopefully will share their good experience and encourage the other children.

The move to Enhlanhleni did not go as well as we had hoped- and we are going to rather send the other high school children to Dlangani School- just outside Bulwer. It  is a church school albeit government and the school is achieving very good high school results.  Tsidie and Lucky just did not do well.- both failed their grade.

Dlangani ,known for their focus on Mathematics and Science , is highly recommended. They are also happy to take on Tsidie and Lucky so they can at least get to a level where they can go to a trade school.

The headmistress is a very competent person and I , in my investigations, have only heard excellent comments about her as head of the school. Cynthia has been to the school to discuss us sending Clouds of Hope High School children there.

We will have to re- introduce Saturday and Holiday school for the children as they all need to the extra lessons in all subjects to ensure that they do not lag behind the average student results.

Our problem right now is transport as well and we had hope to raise funds through Lotto for this too.

Our little babies, Michael, Bandile and Bayanda are doing so very well. The twins in particular can now walk well and jabber like normal toddlers. I will send you a picture I took of them recently and placed on my Facebook.

We really have to pull out all stops to fund raise for the ongoing costs of the Children’s Home. Our monthly pledges have just not pulled through as we had hoped.

We are fine with the Halfway House as the BYOH German group have committed to continuing assisting in this regards – at least for the next few years. Costs however, are still low and are managed tightly.

Thato, can you believe it, has finished his 1st year Law. How well he adapted to being away from home and to Varsity life. He has become very involved in the church next door to his residence and plays an active role in their youth group. We are so proud of him as everyone loves him and always speaks highly of him. We await his results. Fortunately his next year fees will be covered by COGTA albeit dependant on his passing- I do not think that will be an issue at all. He arrived home and immediately found himself a holiday job at the local SPAR.

Tsepo will continue with his studies with Unisa to become a teacher and has a bursary through the education department.

Pumla has just completed her 3rd year of journalism at Rhodes and will now need to embark on seeking employment . She has indicated however, that she may be invited to do a 4th year.