Get involved: Shine

posted in: Making a Difference | 0

Every year, without fail. It happens. People are up in arms. Parents, people with no children, even those who don’t really care about schools. They all complain about the state of education in South Africa. “How can the pass mark be so low? No wonder these kids fail at life! This should be illegal etc etc”. It’s exhausting. I tweeted about it.

I suggested that instead of ‘rage’ around matric results time we should get involved during the school year.

— Black Porcelain (@BlckPorcelain) January 23, 2014

I’m going to compile a list of school projects & NGOs that need volunteers. I will try my best to cover all provinces.

— Black Porcelain (@BlckPorcelain) January 23, 2014

We don’t all have time during the week so I’ll try find some wknd gwans too. If you don’t have time but books, stationery etc thats fine too

— Black Porcelain (@BlckPorcelain) January 23, 2014

Anger is not enough & it’s exhausting. Let’s get involved. Let me know of any school projects/NGOs that you know of. Let’s share the info.

— Black Porcelain (@BlckPorcelain) January 23, 2014

I used to be one of those people. In 2009, while I was still a radio presenter, I interviewed someone from the Shine Centre. She asked me to join them for one session and see what they get up to. Instead of the predictable rage, I found myself getting involved. I became a (very small) part of the solution.

Every week I will share a different organisation that is in need of volunteers. I will start with one that I know very well. The Shine Centre

shine

What Does The Shine Centre Do?

The Shine Centre provides literacy and language support for Grd 2 & 3 learners.

What skills do I need?

If you can read and write (English) then you are it! It also helps if you like children and are patient. Volunteers attend training sessions. These happen quite often. This is necessary because the Shine Centre uses specific methods & games. The sessions happen every few months; for new volunteers and others who would like to brush up on their skills.

How does it work?

Once you’ve gone through the training you are ready! The Centre Manager (at the school) will then pair you up with a Grd 2/3 learner. You will work with the same child so you can track their progress. The children are usually shy in the beginning. My isiXhosa is bad (I speak SeSotho) so that is always a great source of amusement for them. That’s my usual ice breaker. You spend an hour with your ‘learning partner’.

The sessions take place at a school and they are usually in the morning. Children that have been *assessed (by Shine Centre) are pulled out of class for an hour. These sessions take place in the ‘Shine Classroom’ where all the necessary learning material is.

*The assessments take place at the end of the year. Children who are below their ‘age literacy level’ are then put on the list to be part of the Shine Centre’s hour the following year.

During the hour

The hour is broken up into 4 parts and you will go though reading, play (Shine specific) games, writing (sentences) and a little bit of comprehension. I’ve been volunteering since 2009 and I can tell you that the first few weeks will test you. It has nothing to do with the children. More to do with you (and your ego). It takes a lot of time (and repetition) for the kids to finally ‘get it’. That’s just how you learn. But we tend to forget that. In (the beginning of) 2009 I felt like I was not helping at all. One of my learning partners couldn’t read words that were made up of more than 3 letters. Near the end of the year, we were reading a book. Sometimes you have to read together. She covered my mouth and asked to read by herself. I was so proud of her. She came to the word ‘birthday’, I held my breathe and she read the word like a pro. That hour will become the best part of your morning :)

Where? (Cape Town)

There are several Shine Centres around Cape Town. I volunteer at the Prestwich Street Primary School. Because it is a convenient location. I often have early morning meetings in town so it works.

I want to volunteer. Now what?

Well done! Contact Carrie Masheck (she is all kinds of awesome)

shinecapetown@gmail.com

Please let me know if you know of any organisations that need volunteers/books. Anywhere in South Africa. If they deal with education, I will write about them or interview someone from the organisation.

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