Our work started in January 2012 with the school opening events in Kungwini. We had visited 5 schools to meet with the principals, educators (teachers) and learners (pupils) accompanied by the MEC of Gauteng, Mayor of Pretoria and his staff, members of the department of education and the school board members. The agenda was to do a need assessment at the schools for medical services.
Soon thereafter we were informed of a school for Learners with special education needs in Kungwini that were in need of help as learner progress over the past years was stagnant, and enrollment was rapidly climbing beyond its capacity. This led to the assistance given by the Kungwini Dream Fund to the Sizanani school for special education needs (LSEN) and the commencement of the Student Health Initiative Project (SHIP) over the next 2 months (see report).
Learners with mild intellectual, adaptive and communication disorders were the first group to be thoroughly assessed by Dr. Hussain for medical, social and developmental needs, with the aid of their educators. This resulted in a rapid evaluation and management plan to improve the wellbeing of the learners who were afflicted by medical illnesses, developmental delays, physical, emotional and social difficulties.
The application of these outcomes was challenging. Health services are costly and unsubsidized by the state. Recruiting medical professionals stalled. Much needed laboratory services were declined by privately owned laboratories as they do not do any ‘pro bono’ work. We decided to fund these services and recruited a local physician to visit the school biweekly and maintain the services. The educators were praised and encouraged to continue their exceptional work with the learners with the provision of a monthly reward for the ‘educator of the month’ prize. Regional dentists, optometrists and physiotherapists and occupational therapists were engaged to assist in the project. Local business people, community members and politicians were requested to participate towards the success of the learner’s education and progress.
At present, the engaged community members continue to maintain their interest and assistance in the project. This is a small step for us, and a giant leap for the learners to acquire an optimal education and strive for an independent future.
The Kungwini Dream Fund is planning to solidify this community based project and extend this model to other communities with special education needs in the province, and beyond.
Out Reach Program
Sizanane LSEN School Program
Since 2011, the Kungwini Dream Fund has been closely aligned with the Sizanane School for Learners with Special Educational Needs (LSEN) in providing health, educational, therapeutic and sporting and recreational provisions for improving the educational and health conditions at the school. Classrooms for woodwork, arts and crafts, hairdressing, knitting and embroidery, welding, and sports were extensively supplied and supported. Mobility aids, sports uniform, bags and shoes, educational toys and medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and devices are continually provided.
Sizanane Educators and Staff Appreciation Program
Every year, the staff of the Sizanane School for Learners with Special Educational Needs (LSEN) are honored for their dedication and devotion to caring for the children. Their services are humanitarian and so the Kungwini Dream Fund provides each staff with grocery gift vouchers worth a month of groceries at the beginning of the school year. Laptop computers are awarded annually to the highest achieving educators.
Alphonso Project and the construction of the ‘CANADA HOUSE’ in 2020
During a routine medical call to a children’s shelter, a request was made for building a bedroom for an overnight supervisor for the 50 children sleeping in 2 small rooms. Instead, the Kungwini Dream Fund constructed the ‘Canada House’ that has comfortable 4 large bedrooms, multiple shower stalls and toilets, a library, a kitchen, a TV room, a medical room and storage rooms. This was fortunately completed in time before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kindergarten Project 2019
A visit to ‘Dark City’ (a poverty-stricken neighborhood of Kungwini) uncovered the Thuto Pele Children’s Crèche with 300 toddlers and children in need of toys, clothing, blankets, educational supplies, books, heaters for the classrooms and a playing area. The Kungwini Dream Fund provided for all the needs including developing a playfield with brick paving. Warm winter clothing obtained from Canada were supplied.
Establishing the ‘Kungwini Dream Fund– South Africa’ 2019
A branch of the Kungwini Dream Fund was officially registered in South Africa as a non-profit organisation (NPO) to manage the funds locally, instead of carrying funds personally from Canada. This will benefit us by gaining a tax exemption of 15% (VAT) for all services.
The Kungwini Dream Fund is a registered charity with Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (#80882 7687 RR0001). Kungwini Dream Fund issues official receipts for income tax purposes.