3 Successes, 3 Challenges, 3 Opportunities

I was recently introduced to the 3-3-3 method of reporting about our work, which convinced me, so I am going to present our current developments to you today following this idea.

Link awarenet

3 successes

  1. Over the years, we established annual awarenet projects that follow the school terms and provide useful knowledge to the learners. They motivate them to go beyond their usual commitment to school projects. The project topics are:
    1. culture and language – comparing South Africa and Germany on different levels to get to know the country of our volunteers
    2. health and fitness – learn about a healthy lifestyle and train for a sports event on Youth Day
    3. peace and music – write a song and perform on stage during a concert on World Peace Day
    4. art and heritage – focus on one of the many impacts that Nelson Mandela had on South Africa and present it on his day of death
  2. We convinced the Rotary Club to fund our SETA accreditation, which is currently underway. Once in place, we will offer computer and internet training for teachers in the Eastern Cape.
  3. We are an inherent part of the Joza Youth Hub community. We are based in Joza and look after the computer lab in the hub. The team consists of a great mix of permanent staff, motivated volunteers and interns as well as several advisors. We thoroughly enjoy the community.


3 challenges

  1. Our main focus is on computer and internet training. This needs proper equipment, but technology – unlike furniture – gets old rather quickly. Society believes that used equipment is good enough for NGOs and education of underprivileged learners. But it’s not! We simply do not have the funds to buy new equipment, that’s why we make do with what we have. This results in us spending too much time writing funding proposals and fixing computer labs of partnering schools when we should instead be teaching.
  2. Life and work in the township is different to town as we all know. We have to deal with power outages or interrupted internet access due to bad weather. Sometimes there is no water or too many rats. Our learners come to the training hungry. All of this takes the focus off the educational work that we want to do, slows us down and de-motivates us. Sometimes.
  3. Our intentions are big, but we are aware that we often only really touch the surface. We prepare well and provide good training, but sometimes we can only offer a glimpse of what is out there. However, we know that the incentive makes a difference in our learners’ lives as it opens their eyes to new possibilities and creates opportunities for them. We are therefore currently investigating means of co-operations for long-term research on our positive impact on individuals and the community at large.

3 things you can do to help

  1. Donate your time and expertise. You can become a volunteer or get involved as a local partner in one of our projects. We love your skills when you know how to fix hardware or software, when you are interested in the youth and are happy to share your personal knowledge in a talk for example or when you like to help out during our annual events, such as the Peace Concert or the Sports Day.
  2. If you are a teacher and interested in using more technology during teaching, apply for a training course offered by us. If you are a Rhodes student, consider to do a long-term research project on our awarenet programme.
  3. Become a member of the VSA. Your idealistic support and membership fee make a difference to our abilities and our self-esteem. It will greatly improve our motivation to work and to make an impact! (You can also donate without becoming a member.)

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