Written by our Cape Town Intern Jessica OConnell
In Cape Town, the African Impact volunteer house is synonymous with two people – Jane and Shecky. They have cared and cooked for many staff members and volunteers with African Impact and The Happy Africa Foundation (THAF) since 2008. Shecky and Jane have been able to see the growth and development of The Happy Africa Foundation’s projects first hand, so who better to talk to in gaining insight on our Cape Town projects than our resident mom and dad?
In Shecky’s wise words, “The Happy Africa Foundation acts as a mother” over its projects. He described THAF in this way, explaining that the mother, being THAF, looks after each of its projects, allocating the necessities and being able to help guide growth and success. For Jane and Shecky, they noted the particular importance THAF’s projects take on with children, and why our involvement with children, particularly at a young age is appreciated.
‘Children are keys for tomorrow,’ Jane told me succinctly, as a means of expressing how important she felt the work THAF does with children is. As our projects in Cape Town all work with children of varying ages, we aim to bring forth education and empowerment in the children. Our goals work to assist the children so that they can go forth and thrive in their future, and independently better themselves and their communities.
For instance, the Educational Support project focuses on children in preschool, working to prepare them for success in primary school. It was in these years that Jane and Shecky believed to be crucial – we can help get the children ready for school, and set them up for academic success. Doing this only furthers our goals of educating, enriching and empowering individuals and communities. Shecky and Jane told me that at home in Zimbabwe, everyone has a small garden, and it delights them to know of our focuses with the Health and Nutrition project. While providing children with healthy and nutritious meals at schools, they learn proper habits, gain strength, and are better equipped to learn. Furthermore, working to educate the children and teachers on healthy foods, and on growing them, is empowering. The children and teachers alike learn the tools for a nutritious lifestyle, and on preparing them for themselves through gardening. Jane was thrilled about the nutritious meals, and the ability to make them yourselves, as she said it sets patterns for the children to follow, and enables them to succeed in school.
The children at our GAPA Enrichment program can reach up to the age of 13, as we provide two extramural trips a year to the children registered at Grandmothers Against Poverty and AIDS (GAPA). Jane and Shecky were enthusiastic about GAPA when we discussed it, echoing each other in the importance of the opportunity the trips present for the children. Not only are we teaching the children about new places and things, but we are providing a unique and downright fun experience they wouldn’t otherwise be a part of.
The Happy Africa Foundation cares for and develops each project as they grow and as they evolve through our commitments to educate, enrich and empower. As Shecky exemplified, “The Happy Africa Foundation acts as a mother” over its projects, developing them and helping them thrive – from achievements with individual children, to the teachers or grannies, and to the schools and programs in their entirety.