Goal: R5,000.00 | Still Needed: R4,950.00 | Total Supporters So Far: 1 | Amount of People in Need: 22
Step Ahead After Care has its humble beginnings in the garage of founder Victoria Mhlongo’s family home. It began with one child – her niece – who came home from school every day with mountains of homework but without having fully grasped the concepts in school.
Classes in the schools around Kwa Guqa – a Mpumalanga township – are full and chaotic, and teachers don’t have the time or the means to ensure that all learners are fully up to speed, which is a big contributor to South Africa’s overall school dropout rate.
So, in 2015 Victoria began setting her afternoons aside to assist her niece with homework, and soon enough, the niece’s friends followed suit. It became abundantly clear that there was a need for the township children to have a safe space to cement and flesh out the things they learned at school, and for a few years, the number of children in the garage grew steadily.
In these first few years, Victoria charged no fee, and gave her time and knowledge freely and out of love for her community. However, the growing number of children later made the garage impossible to work in, and so Victoria approached the minister of her local church, who agreed to let the group study in the Hall every afternoon.
It was then that Victoria began asking parents for an R150 monthly fee, which enables her to donate money to the church, and made it possible for her to bring an assistant on board.
Today, the team of two assist a group of 22 learners every weekday afternoon with all the inevitable problems and projects they bring home from school. Of importance to Veronica is that Step Ahead After Care is not merely an educational institution, but a place where children can unburden their hearts and feel safe in the midst of a lot of heaviness and danger.
She hopes to be able to be in a financially secure place so that she can provide her learners with lunch – something that isn’t possible out of the small monthly contribution from parents – as well as move towards building her own centre, where children could be separated according to level, and where technology could be incorporated into classrooms.
Photographer: - | Voice Artist: Mawande Ndywamb | Writer: Anè Breytenbach
Type of Cause:Children and Youth, Development, Education, Literacy