Celebrating Mandela Day!

Earlier this summer, Thanda students and staff celebrated Nelson Mandela’s birthday and the international day of service named in his honor.  Everyone performed 67 minutes of good works–one minute for each of Mandela’s 67 years of public service.

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The high school kids cleaned up the local high school, fixing the holes in the fence, washing windows and bathrooms, cleaning out a dirty classroom, and more. The younger kids picked up litter around the community and planted trees that had been donated by Folly Fields, a local nursery.

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And what would a birthday be without cake? Students and staff sang the national anthem and a round of ‘Happy Birthday’ for Mr Mandela!

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Green Thumbs-Up!

Thanda’s Agriculture program has exploded into a wildly popular, full-blown farming operation! 

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We’ve had such amazing success with both our student and community gardens, providing endless teaching opportunities and hands-on experience in a sustainable business operation, while allowing us to sell our vegetables locally to generate income and alleviate food shortages.

ImageBut why stop at vegetables? You may remember the celebrated arrival of a few feathered females in March — egg-laying hens! 

While the sale of eggs is adding to our income, the hens also offer our staff unique opportunities to teach about ecosystems, biology, environmentalism, and economics. 

So when we had the chance to acquire some goats and ducks, we jumped at the chance. Thanda’s Agriculture program is one of our most popular programs, and this is thanks to our remarkable staff and their innovative lessons about sustainability, responsibility, and economic independence–all taught in Thanda’s ever-growing vegetable gardens. 

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Throughout August and September, we’ll be asking for your help with some exciting changes on site to help us improve our farming education programs and keep this momentum going! We also have our eye on some pigs….

Ready to give now? Visit our donation page to get started.

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Thanda’s Youngest Need You Now

Time is running out! Help us raise $27,000 in crucial funding by our March 31 deadline.

Make sure Thanda’s littlest ones have the chance to dream big by giving to the Primary Education Programs. We urgently need your help to fund a year of programming for 175 children. That’s $150 per child.

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Thanda’s after-school programming offers a dynamic, engaging curriculum of lessons and activities designed to help children develop reading and math skills, creativity, and problem-solving abilities.

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Like many in rural South Africa, the 175 children who depend on our Primary Education Programs are vulnerable to the devastating effects of the AIDS epidemic and chronic poverty. Thanda provides a safe space for these children, and teachers who offer much-needed emotional support.

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Empowering children with a sense of self-worth, belonging, and a life-long love of learning, the children in the Primary Education Programs are building the foundation for a better life.

A little goes a long way at Thanda; every 42 cents promises a child one more day of education, security, and support. Our youngest students need you. To give today, click here.

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Easter Update

We’ve been busy! Take a look at what’s happening on the ground:

Thanks to a group of truly generous volunteers, Thanda’s library is ready to live and lend! We’re excited to open the first library in the Hibberdene community; access to reading materials and space to study promotes learning. Kids who participate in Thanda read up to 4 more books per month.

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We are developing our agriculture program: this year we built a chicken house + coop as well as a chicken tractor so students learn about sustainable farming methods!

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Thanda seeks to empower local youth through skill-building and entrepreneurship. Our Next Steps program has brought on former student Siya (middle) to teach sewing!

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We’ve started cycling lessons: bicycles are a great mode of transport in rural areas, and they’re a lot of fun!

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We also have our very own borehole on the way!

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A Holiday Letter from Angela and Tyler

Dear Friends and Family,

Thanks to you, Thanda has accomplished so much this year!  We’ve become an even more crucial source of support for the orphans and vulnerable children in rural KwaZulu-Natal. 

This year alone: 

We’ve provided 1,650 after-school lessons and 55,000 meals. 

We’ve added nurseries and chickens to our Agriculture programmes.  50% of Thanda high school students have started their own vegetable gardens at home. 

 We’ve started the Next Steps Programme to provide high school grads with sewing, gardening, computer, and bicycle repair skills to build viable local businesses.

We opened the first library in the municipality!  Within 3 months of its opening, Thanda children were reading 4 more books per month than they had been. 

Thank you for helping to change the lives of hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children in 2012. We wish you and your family a warm holiday season and a healthy, happy new year. We’re looking forward to seeing what we will accomplish together in 2013! Ready to get started? Click here.

Love,

Angela and Tyler

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Father Christmas Comes to Thanda!

Thanda kids enjoy a day of games and presents before the holiday break.

 

 

 

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Walking for the First Time at Age 12

Angela Larkan, Founder and Director

This holiday season, we’d like to share one of the many extraordinary stories of help and hope that were made possible by Thanda.  Meet Noluthando.

When Noluthando was just 3-months-old, she was badly injured in a fire. Her left hand was disfigured and she lost both of her legs. Her whole life, she had been confined to a wheelchair that barely met her needs. Because her one hand is disfigured, she had little control over her chair, so if no one was available to help her, she was at the mercy of the hilly, uneven ground around her home. Noluthando often ended up injuring herself simply trying to leave her hut. Her father left the family when she became disabled and they survive on her mother’s earnings from selling sweets outside the local school. Any better solutions for this smiling, outgoing girl were beyond their means.

Noluthando is very bright, but her lack of mobility meant that she had to attend a special needs school, even though she does not have any learning disabilities. All Noluthando wanted was to be able to move around freely, to be safe and independent so she could attend the local school.  

A local support group, the Masisizane Disabled Support Group, brought the girl’s case to Thanda’s attention. Today, thanks to the help of the South African Airports Company physiotherapists and Thanda, Noluthando has artificial legs and is able to walk for the first time in her life!

Raah, Thanda’s manager, asked her how life had changed since she received her legs.  “It is better than before,” she said. “Now I can walk outside, which is something I was not able to do before. Things have changed enormously at school. Before I had to ask my young school mates to help push me because I was always in a wheel chair, and sometimes they didn’t want to help. They used to say that they were tired and I was a burden to their shoulders.”

Noluthando is doing exceptionally well in grade 5 at school. When Raah visited her, she shared her school report card with him. She has a 91% in economic and management sciences, and 90% in mathematics. Her mother proudly reported that when Noluthando is at home, she “spends almost the entire day reading books.”

“Whatever challenges I am facing, I would like to thank Thanda and the South African Airports Company for their help and support,” Noluthando’s mother told Raah. “There are many people who have come here and promised to help and they never come back.  It had been more than ten years waiting for them to come back. It did not even take a year to get help from you and I am very thankful for that.”

There are so many children like Noluthando who need your help.  When you give to Thanda, you enable projects like this one.  Join us in making life-changing differences for those who need it most and give to Thanda this holiday season

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