The Johannesburg office’s Day of Giving Back was held on August 5th this year. With the Gauteng province, where Johannesburg is located, experiencing a peak of Covid-19 currently and impacting the community, giving back this year is especially significant.
The unfortunate reality in South Africa is that there are so many worthy causes in need of support. One cause that stood out in aligning with North Highland’s focus on economic empowerment is early education preparedness.
Nearly two thirds of South African children do not attend any pre-school, and budgetary constraints result in pressure to “move kids up” through the early grades regardless of their readiness. This has a devastating effect on overall educational achievement, severely hampering the chances of disadvantaged youth obtaining the tools and skills they need to achieve economic independence. The office chose AAJ Ministries’ “Feed the Kids Program” which has its origins in providing a warm meal to children and has a critical focus on preparing children for success in primary school.
Our office engaged with the leadership of this program to provide each child a set of early learning tools – school supplies, an educational toy, backpacks, and blankets (as South Africa is in the middle of winter). Volunteers from the office came together to pack these items for delivery to the organization. These supplies are critically important in supporting FTK’s mission of preparing this group of kids for educational success. The office is hopeful for further engagement with FTK to include supporting book drives, reading with the kids, and further support of early childhood development tools, once South Africa exits its current “third wave” of COVID-19 infections and best health practices allow for more on-site engagement.