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Social Programme


Born in Africa’s social programme aims at developing strong social and emotional skills amongst the children in the Born in Africa programme, so they become confident well-rounded youngsters who are able to take their future opportunities at hand.

 

Background

The Bitou area, situated along the Garden Route in the Western Cape, is perceived to be fabulously wealthy, but in reality, there is a huge disparity between wealthy and the impoverished.

Tens of thousands of people struggle in abject poverty, and most families live in townships in small 2 -3 roomed homes. These are often overcrowded with up to 10 people sharing a small room. Social conditions are impacted by unemployment levels exceeding 30%, combined with a historic abuse of alcohol. The children are exposed to alcohol at a very young age and are therefore at a high risk of dropping out of school and being involved in crime. Born in Africa works mainly in Afrikaans speaking coloured communities who have been marginalised over time, battling to find their identity.

Challenges

The social assistance to the Born in Africa children is quintessential to support their academic curriculum. Without it, they would struggle even more to be motivated to attend school, to do homework, write exams and envision a future career whereby good school results are mandatory. In the area where Born in Africa is operating, there is an enormous deficit in social workers. Therefore, Born in Africa needs to train and debrief their staff on a regular basis in order to be able to respond to the huge social problems the children face. Organisations who deal with family problems are overburdened and private counselling is not affordable, so the responsibility to guide these children is therefore partly shifted towards the organisation.

What We Do


Born in Africa employs 6 mentors who work with between 50 and 90 children each. The children attend monthly mentoring sessions in small groups of 6-8 children, where they are encouraged to explore and resolve problems in their own lives and communities. Individual sessions are held with children who are experiencing social or emotional pressure. 

The sessions centre on 6 character traits: Trustworthiness, Responsibility, Caring, Citizenship, Respect and Fairness. These 6 character traits build upon self-confidence. “I believe in me” is the most important message that Born in Africa wants to bring to children who grow up in a social environment that lacks those support systems needed to outgrow poverty.

The mentors also communicate with the schools and teachers to get academic and behavioural feedback on a monthly basis. Twice a year, the mentors visit the children’s homes to get a clear picture of the (often changed) living conditions of the child that is following the program. Parents are also invited to parent meetings twice a year where they get an overview of what their children do in the Born in Africa program.

Furthermore, Born in Africa builds strong networking ties for referrals to other social service providers and legal systems.

We also look at the wellbeing of our children by offering and assisting medically where required.

It is a huge pity that so many children do not complete their school careers due to poor eye sight. Many children grow up with an obscure view of the world which they perceive as normal just because they are not afforded the opportunity to have their eyes tested. BIA established this project to ensure that all of children’s eyes are tested on a regular basis.

Glasses are ordered for those who need and a number of children are referred to specialists where further care is required.

Due to poverty and the lack of recourses, many of the children suffer from painful dental issues. We take it in our stride to assist those in need by ensuring they visit the dentist when required and that the necessary treatment is given.

We provide food hampers to children and families in need when funding allows it. Our children always receive a meal and a healthy snack during BIA afternoon activities as well as their mentor sessions. We also work the “E Pap” foundation who supplies us with a very balanced porridge. This too gets offered to our learners during BIA activities.  "Pharmacists without Borders" is a big supporter of our feeding scheme and we are so greatful for this. Thanks to Woolworths Plettenberg Bay and Kwikspar we regularly receive food which we hand out on a daily basis.