You are very much a part of our HoH family and we’re happy to be sharing our news with you today. As we leave the summer behind us and move into autumn, we hope that you are doing well, and we send our loving good wishes to you. Here is a little of what has been going on since we last communicated …
It may seem like ages ago, but we want to take this moment to remember the festive season in HoH because it was such a special time for everyone. Thank you to every person who filled the girls’ 2019 Christmas with love and smiles. When gifts were dropped off at the house there was a great buzz of excitement, everyone was very touched by these acts of kindness. Festive Season parties took place in the Kensington house and the girls helped to prepare the food and organise these events so that they were a great success. Of course, there was some great dancing and singing! The braai and Christmas lunch were days of celebration. It really was a time of joy, the best time of the year, but also a chance to consider the individuals, families, and companies who really came through for us in 2019. Without this support, nothing would be possible. All are so appreciated.
Aside from the usual ongoing pressure of running the houses, paying the bills and keeping everything moving forward, we’ve had some additional challenges. There was a burglary in Cyrildene in December. Fortunately, no one was hurt but it was very scary for the girls. There were also problems in the Kensington House which proved costly, a major sewerage blockage required lots of plumbing work. Additionally, the electricity unit in Cyrildene exploded; we are currently fundraising to have the repairs done so that the house is functioning again. In HoH, things are seldom simple or easy, but we are growing stronger together every day.
A world of artistic possibilities
January 2020 kicked off with three days spent exploring the world of art. What a lovely start to the year! The art classes were led by visiting Dutch artists Gert and Janneke. They have a gallery and they nurture new artistic talent. They teamed up with South African artist Abe to present an incredible combination of artistic experiences including poetry, visual arts, craft and music. The girls had a chance to experiment with textile art, portraiture, clay and many more mediums. They found it exciting and inspirational to get hands on making things with the artists. Now that they have been given the basics, Abe will visit the girls to nurture any artistic talent that emerges. South Africa continues to face twin crises of education and employment, but we also have real possibilities here. Thandi Sibisi, the daughter of farmers in the Zulu heartland, is the first black woman to open a major art gallery in South Africa. These are different times, and who knows? Perhaps one of our HoH girls might turn out to be a major player in the world of art. As Sibisi puts it, ‘South Africa allows you to be you and to be whatever it is you want to be.’
The great news is that our beloved 2019 matriculants received a 100% pass rate! We are so proud of this huge achievement. It is thanks to the combination of their individual tremendous effort and the homework volunteers who assist them with studies. We expect similar results from our younger girls when their time comes, some have done so well in school they have received certificates for their work.
When the schools re-opened in January, we faced the challenge of meeting the registration fees for the various schools that the girls attend. Registration fees had increased by an incredible 150% from R1000 to R2500 per child! It was very difficult, but challenges are only obstacles if we allow them to be. We simply had to find a way. We are proud to say that with the help of our donors - we did it!
Every girl is enrolled in one of these six different schools: Cyrildene Primary School, Kensington Ridge Primary School, Bedfordview High School, New Nation School, Athlone Girls, and Elands Park School. The older ones are in Rosetec Technical College and Gauteng City College. In Gauteng City College, Andile Ncube is upgrading her matric results, Sibongiseni Sibanda is studying Tourism and Yoliswa Simelane is doing Hospitality Studies. Education is a major priority for HoH and the girls understand it’s essential for their success. Please consider sponsoring a girl’s education.