Written by: Rosie Dupont (Head Office Intern, Cape Town, South Africa, 2021)
Monitoring the impact of the Sponsor a Child (SAC) program is no mean feat. With just under 200 children in 34 different schools in Livingstone, keeping up with all our beneficiaries means our team is very busy. One of our main ways to do this is to visit each school to catch up with all of our students and their teachers to see how they’re doing, both academically and personally.
This helps us support the success of each student as well as keep our sponsors informed on the impact they are making. This process is also useful for us to identify any wider challenges that are impacting multiple students in the program.
Through this process, we had noticed that our students’ attendance since COVID-19 wasn’t as high as it was before the pandemic induced school closures. We recognize that this is an issue being seen around the world. To help combat this issue we decided to host a ‘parent and child event’ to bring students and their families together to address any underlying problems and dig up some motivation.
We held the event at the start of October at a sports complex in the local community. We were pleased to see a turnout with 56 children and 49 parents. After a group discussion led by our SAC Coordinator, Carol, we divided the parents away from the students and walked each group through assessment questionnaires.
“The majority of our students stated that the sponsorship has helped them improve their goals, improve their mental health and gain higher self-esteem.”
At the event we learnt that 85% of our students walk to school, and it takes 70% of our students an hour or more to get to school. Nearly half of the parents acknowledged that this long trek to school affects their child’s academic performance. Although gender equality is something that is a relatively new idea in the local context, the questionnaires highlighted to us that the majority of these parents are encouraging it in their homes through things like chore sharing and encouraging an education for girls.
Positively, all the parents agreed that an education is important for their child, and they will actively encourage and support the completion of school. We were proud to hear that nearly all the parents noted that SAC has improved their child’s confidence and attitude to school. Over 90% of the students themselves told us they feel confident in taking on leadership roles in their school and community. Additionally, the majority of our students stated that the sponsorship has helped them improve their goals, improve their mental health and gain higher self-esteem.
Overall, the event was successful with the Foundation gaining a better idea of the position of parents in relation to the sponsorships, as well as understanding some of the challenges our students may be facing. We are continuously looking for more ways to interact with the communities we work with and improve the impact of our projects, which we hope you enjoy hearing about as much as we enjoy sharing with you!