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.

CurateZAR

I was recently approached by the folks at CurateZAR to tweet for them for a week.

I wasn’t entirely sure what they wanted me to do because I have my own twitter account: @BlckPorcelain. Basically CurateZAR is agreat platform to get to know different South Africans; what makes them tick, what do they do all day, their surroundings etc. Every week there is a different person and they share their experience in THEIR South Africa.

I was very nervous yesterday because I didn’t really know what to tweet about, but the followers were all very kind and played nicely. This is only week 2, so its fairly new. Follow @CurateZAR and meet a different South African every week.

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“Following your…

posted in: The Journey | 0

“Following your bliss is not self-indulgent, but vital; your whole physical system knows that this is the way to be alive in this world and the way to give to the world the very best that you have to offer. There is a track just waiting for each of us and once on it, doors will open that were not open before and would not open for anyone else.”
– Joseph Campbell

Truth!

Get The Album (Invincible Summer)

posted in: The Journey, The Music | 0

So… Pre-orders close on the 31st of December. Have you pre-ordered your copy? It comes with a free (limited edition) t-shirt and the price includes shipping. AND you could win a private performance by me and my band (if you’re in South Africa).

invincible pre-order

This past week I was in studio taking care of those things that caused the album delay. It was so lovely to hear all the songs. Sometimes when I create, I forget to step back and actually enjoy what I’ve done. This album has almost been 3 years in the making. We took a lot of breaks in between (mainly because the project is self financed). There were times when I was certain that we would never complete the album.

We spent many late hours in the studio this week. On Thursday I wore my sexy ‘blue’ shoes. They were disrespecting my feet in a major way, by the end of the night. I had been wearing them ALL day. No matter. They are still pretty. I just won’t wear them from 8am to midnight next time.

They are Errol Arendz. Saw them in a magazine and stalked them for 2 months :)
They are Errol Arendz. Saw them in a magazine and stalked them for 2 months :)

Thank you to all the people who have pre-ordered the album so far. If you haven’t yet…. Watchu waiting for? ;)

Enjoy the holidays and tell someone you love how you feel. I have already. Not with my family this Christmas (because of album stuff). But I am going to Christmas lunch with a close friend and her family. There is love everywhere.

Black Porcelain. Out!

April Book (Dr Seuss)

posted in: Book Worm | 0

Continuing with my ‘books I’ve read this year’ posts… I grabbed these from my old blog:

When I told Marcee what my April Book was she laughed. I am not kiddding when I say that ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go’ is one of my favourite books. I only read it 2 years ago and often revisit it when I am feeling down or need perspective. Once when asked to give a talk to a bunch of really inspirational ‘dance for life’ contestants, I read bits from the book to make a few points. Its fun to quote the ‘great thinkers’ of our time but nobody does it better than Dr Seuss.

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But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike.
And I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

– Dr Seuss (Oh, The Places You’ll Go)

Read this book and thank me later ;)

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