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Empowering Communities

Extra-Curricular Enrichment, Cape Town

By April 11, 2016 No Comments
Grandmothers Against Poverty and AIDS (GAPA) is currently a flourishing program providing programming in the area of: educational workshops, support groups, income generation activities, pre-school bursaries, relief funds and aftercare programs for residents in the community.
Grandmothers Against Poverty and AIDS (GAPA) is located in Khayelitsha, which is a partially informal township in Western Cape, outside of Cape Town. GAPA was started in October 2001 as a direct result of the implementation phase of a research project undertaken by the University of Cape Town.

An occupational therapist organized workshops and support groups for grandmothers who were affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The intervention program was designed to meet the needs articulated by grandmothers who were part of the study. After the completion of the study, the group of grandmothers formed a committee with the occupational therapist and made plans to spread the information and support to others. GAPA is currently a flourishing program in the Khayelitsha community and provides programming in the area of: educational workshops, support groups, income generation activities, pre-school bursaries, relief funds and aftercare programs for residents in the community.

The low standard of living in the community too often means that families and schools in Khayelitsha are unable to provide children with important educational extra-mural trips. Many children in the community do not have access to visit educationally enriching places around their own communities due to limited finances.

The Aftercare program at GAPA aims to provide children with a safe environment afterschool to do home work, eat a healthy meal and just ‘be kids’ by playing games and doing crafts in a safe and secure environment. This is especially important during the afterschool hours as child abuse rates spike during this time.

The GAPA aftercare program has been very successful, bringing in approximately 200 children from the surrounding area. Unfortunately, due to a loss of funding, GAPA can no longer provide a means for the children to experience educational outings in the Cape Town area.

The project enriches the children’s in-class education by supplementing the funds needed to pay for educational outings twice per year. These extra-mural trips will allow children to visit places around Cape Town that they would not otherwise have access to due to financial restraints. While providing a fun outing to children, the trips will also be educational and equip children with practical life skills taught through tactile learning and fun experiences.

In partnership with the grandmothers on staff, African Impact volunteers will also help facilitate learning during the trip and supervise children to ensure safety.

As a part of our commitment to children’s education, assessment tools will also be put into place after the outing to measure the skills that have been learnt through the educational trip.

Short Term Impact:
Educational extra-mural trips enable all children to attend culturally enriching institutions and engage with hands-on learning through fun and exploration, despite financial backgrounds. Learning is both age and development appropriate and encourages well-rounded learning outside of the classroom.

Long Term Impact:
Providing educational trips to children improves long term critical thinking, increases exposure to cultural institutions in the community, facilitates group learning and will ultimately empower children to grow mentally from the new experience. By enriching children’s education, you also enrich their families and the community as a whole.

GAPA is located in Khayelitsha, which is a partially informal township in Western Cape, South Africa. Located in the Cape Flats area in the City of Cape Town, Khayelitsha means ‘New Home’ in Xhosa. It is noted to be the largest and fastest growing township in South Africa. Today Khayelitsha has an estimated official population of over 500,000 people but the unofficial number counts just under two million people including informal settlement areas as well. The ethnic makeup of Khayelitsha consists mainly of Black African residents, who predominantly speak Xhosa. Khayelitsha has a very young population with over 40% of residents being under the age of 19. As with other settlement communities, residents in Khayelitsha have limited access to basic utilities such as water, sewage, electricity and health care.

April saw the first extracurricular enrichment trip of the year, with 100 GAPA children, 17 African Impact volunteers and staff and 11 GAPA grannies all ready to explore and learn about Cape Town’s marine life as well as the history and development of the V & A Waterfront.

Volunteers guided their groups throughout the entirety of the day, from spotting wildlife and learning about the history of the docks on a harbour boat cruise, to learning about the prize winners at Noble Square, observing the city from a bird’s eye view in the Cape Wheel and then getting creative at an Art Jamming session in the afternoon- it was an action packed day to say the least!

It was a day of many firsts for a large number of GAPA children and grannies which “exposed them to a side of Cape Town they did not know” as well as providing them with the opportunity to “experience activities they never thought they would do”- in particular travelling by boat.

The educational purpose of the trip can be highlighted through how much the children learnt from their visit to the Waterfront. Volunteers created an assessment which was conducted both before and after the trip in order to discover how much the children had learnt. Initially only 38% of children knew that there were four statues at Nobel Square, this figure rose to an impressive 100% in the post trip assessment. They also successfully learnt some sailing vocabulary, with a percentage increase of 60% in understanding the term ‘star board,’ as well as a 53% knowledge increase in the number of children who could identify the three visible peaks from the Cape Wheel.

Efficient organisation of the day, the efforts and energy given by the volunteers and staff made the day a huge success and the children and grannies were talking about their highlights of the trip for weeks after!