And the stories behind them…
They come in various sizes and attitudes – dressed, buttoned, tied, and tucked with hopeful fingers – walking to school on barefoot paths. Children from the townships in South Africa live in extraordinarily challenging environments, yet they convert those challenges into creativity wrapped in endless smiles. Each has the raw potential given any child at birth. Every face confirms that potential, building a world out of whatever they have – able to play and laugh and dream without limits. Their imaginations surpass their realities.
The appetite of the children I have encountered in the crèches and grade R classrooms to learn is heart rending and without agenda. Every moment, every bit of information is taken in with relish – smiles filled with I CAN DO THIS! The life given to a mark in the sand or on a chalkboard when it is from the hand of a child writing a word by sounding it himself or herself is magical. That spark slices right through the moment revealing eyes exploding with, “I AM ABLE!” There is little that can match that look.
From preschool (left) to Grade 1 (below), Souns is working for these children. This Rotary literacy project between D6900 and D9400 is doing wonderful things for South Africa township children. One week of working with teachers and children from a range of crèches differ only in venue. Each opportunity was met with eager teachers and enthusiastic little people, ranging from 2 to 5 years of age. Most of the children referred to here began working with Souns last March. In those eight months they have beautifully achieved the target goals: letter-sound information for children to three; building words by listening to the sounds in spoken words for children who know their letter-sounds, usually four year olds; reading words for children five years plus. I can’t wait until our next visit in March.
Each of these children is a promising story unfolding, and the ability to write and read is a critical building block for their undiscovered dreams.