Categories Menu

News

News Englisch

What is going on in Tsibogang ?

Apr 5, 2019 in Amogelang Eng, Tshepanang Eng

What is going on in Tsibogang ?

Since January we are really struggling to go on: to run a NGO with over 120 members who depend on their stipends and have no other or little other income in a time where month after month the petrol price goes up, electricity goes up by 14 %, food prices go up etc. can be very difficult. Our finance team together with the coordinator had sleepless nights. In March we got the bad news that Soul City, a partner NGO who supported many of our initiatives and through which we could even expand support groups in far away villages, were that the Global Fund will withdraw their support. This has many consequences even for us. Nevertheless the work of the year has gone off the ground well. In our two preschools we have eighty children, a good number of toddlers who challenge our skills. Until Friday 15.3., when the public schools including our preschools (and After School Programs) closed after the first school term, all were busy to help the new children to adapt to the preschool. According to Maria Montessori the best day is when you see children working on their own and they do not even take notice of you, as if you were not there. I observed a boy who was working with the yellow cylinders. He was so fascinated that he built a tower with them seven times. The noise and distraction of children around him did not stop him to go on. When the schools reopened in January we could establish four new After school programs. Around 300 children from Grade R – Grade 7 are regularly attending this program from Monday- Thursday. In the middle of February and in the second week of March all children from Grade 2- Grade 7 were writing a Math’s test and a HIV Test. We have introduced these tests to find out where the children need help and where interventions are necessary. It was rather shocking to see the results. From Grade 1-5 the biggest problem is that basic literacy and basic numeracy are lacking so that they are not able to read and understand the questions which are asked in the tests. Towards the end of the school year another test will be written to see if there is any improvement. The peer education program is started with 48 Peer Educators teaching at 27 different schools despite the reduction in their incentives due to our reduced finances , the peer educators are enthusiastic to go out and teach more than 5000 children . We are grateful for all donations are all your prayers towards our project and thank you on behalf of our members as well as the children and patients we serve. May God bless you! Christel...

read more

We were looking for peace…

Feb 14, 2019 in Tlamelang Eng

We were looking for peace…

…and we found it! That is how may be the experience of 22 Tlamelang Members who attended the retreat from 03.01. to 06.01.2019 can be summed up. But everything did not start peaceful at all. On the 1st of January in the evening we received a phone call where we learnt that we cannot come to the Haphororo Retreat Center as planned because the electricity transformer there burnt down and as a result they did not have electricity nor water in the whole center. Via internet we started to search for an alternative accommodation but we had little hope that we would succeed on such short notice. However, with the help of God Christel Lorato Hermann found Magalies Retreat Center. It turned out that they still had space for us and that their prices were affordable for us. As a result on the 3rd of January we arrived at that center that is surrounded by the impressive Magaliesberg Mountains. The theme of the retreat was taken from the watchword of the year: “Embrace peace, don’t let it go away (Psalm 34,15). In our search for peace the meditation on 1. Peter 2, 4-10 helped us as did the Lectio Divina based on Philippians 4, 5-8 that were both followed by an intensive and personal sharing in groups. The hiking that led us to the top of a nearby mountain was for many an unforgettable experience. It was an experience of receiving inner peace. Discussions on Gender Based Violence and on Stigma and Discrimination helped us to face the realities that often destroy the peace in our society and in our communities. Team building exercises and the very lively Sunday service enhanced the peace within our group so that we returned home with hearts full of peace. A few days later we received the message that our long-term co-worker Ilse-Marie Matshediso Hiestermann had died in Germany. While Christel Lerato with Benedict and Linda Hermann boarded a plane to attend the funeral in Hermannsburg, Germany we conducted a memorial service for her in Tsibogang Center in Mahikeng on the day of her funeral. 30 people who had worked together with Ilse Marie in the local Lutheran Church and in Tsibogang Christian Action Group attended. Through the speeches of two of her former colleagues, of a representative of the medication group she attended and of Wolfgang Hermann and Undine Rauter as well as through the sermon held by Reverent Jack Mogale we vividly remembered Ilse Marie’s life here in South Africa. She had been living in South Africa from 1984 to 2012. During this time she founded four Early Learning Centers. In 2007 she started Godisang Early Learning Center with three colleagues which was the first Early Learning Center for orphans and vulnerable children of Tsibogang Christian Action Group. This was a mile stone for our organization towards establishing what is now our biggest project- the care for orphans and vulnerable children. We are grateful that we were granted the privilege to live and work with Ilse Marie for so many years! On 19.01.2019 we conducted a work shop for all co-workers of Tsibogang Christian Action Group that are involved in an After-School Program. Due to the generous donation by the firm HMS that is based in Heidelberg, Germany it is not...

read more

30 years World AIDS day

Dec 19, 2018 in Tshepanang Eng

30 years World AIDS day

Now is the time in South Africa, when the candles bend and the daily prayer and longing for rain clouds are heard. Another year has gone by with many impressions and a lot of work and in Tsibogang with big changes. On December 1st, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day and came together as an organization. This time there were a lot of children present ; those who have joined several children’s groups due to our new partnership with “Soul City”. There was a lot of singing, gum boots dance, drama performed by the children’s support group (A Re Tshamekeng Bana). Touching were the personal stories of individuals who told us how they were helped and encourage to accept their HIV status and as a result their quality of life has improved. A highlight of the day was a presentation of how our organization is doing in the light of the National Health Strategic Plan(NHSP). Dr Wolfgang Hermann pointed to some objectives of this strategic plan and how we comply with it. One goal of the National Health Plan is to significantly reduce new infections in South Africa through information campaigns in schools. In Tshepanang this is also our focus: In 2018, our 52 peer educators in 29 schools reached 5946 students. What does a Mathematics test have to do with HIV prevention? That’s what Dr Wolfgang Hermann asked Tsibogang members in his presentation. The answer came quickly and promptly from a teenager: ”If you’re good at Math, you have self-confidence and you do not have to be pressured by your peers to put yourself at risk.” In our After school programs Maths tests and an HIV tests were written. 121 children 10 years and older have written the test. The average was 64.15%, the best result in the last three years. In the Math test, the 226 children improved by 69.9%. That’s a good motivation for our coworkers. We are approaching the New Year with hope and a little bit of fear. Will we be able to continue all programs? Will there be enough money after US AIDS / the South African Bishops’ Conference has dropped out? We were happy to receive promises of donations from several friends, communities and our family members for the coming year. We are grateful for all the donations we received. The people we serve know that these donations also expresses God’s goodness and generosity. The motto of 2018 “I want to give the thirsty from the source of the living water” and the motto of 2019 “Seek peace and pursue it!” embrace our own gratitude towards God and raise our expectations what the coming year might hold for our work in Tsibogang. Have a blessed time of Advent and Christmas! Christel & Wolfgang...

read more

Workshop for peer educators

Nov 9, 2018 in Tshepanang Eng

Workshop for peer educators

On 03.10-07.10.2018 46 Peer Educators of our Action Group Tshepanang assembled in the beautiful guest farm Kaya Inkalamo to hold their annual workshop. The discussions, presentations and lessons focused on three areas: Firstly there was the spiritual question why God has not yet answered our prayers to give us new donors for our project. The main donor for the Tshepanang Project during the last 10 years, Else Kroener Fresenius Stiftung, had indicated to us that their funding cycle for us has come to an end. The answer that the Peer Educators found in many discussions, bible studies and a divine service can be summarized as follows: God wants to test us and wants to see whether we remain faithful to our calling to teach children and youth about the important values in life and about HIV prevention strategies even though we receive substantially less money for that. He wants to see whether we practice what we preach. It became clear to Peer Educators that next year they will only be compensated for teaching in one school. For many of them that means that they will receive R 700 (44 Euro) less per month which is equivalent to a third of their total income. Despite that several Peer Educators committed themselves to teach in a second school without receiving any incentive for that. The second big focus of the workshop was to analyze the results of the KAB (Knowledge – Attitudes – Behavior) that we have conducted in August 2018 the schools where our Peer Educators were teaching. The tests related to the knowledge on HIV were written by 4387 students who attend grade 6-10 in all 29 schools. The average result of all schools was 78% which signals an improvement by 115 compared to the previous year. The anonymous questionnaire on questions related to attitudes towards HIV and sexual behavior was filled by 2118 students from 15 schools. In the other schools the school management did not give permission for the study because of the sensitive nature of the questions contained in the questionnaire. The most surprising result of the study was that even though only 15 % of the students indicated that they ever have been sexual active 48% of them indicated that they would choose condoms as their preferred option for HIV prevention. 39 % chose abstinence and 13% “Be Faithful”. In the age group 10 -13 years 52% opted for abstinence, 10.4 % for “Be faithful” and 37.6% for condoms. These results show that abstinence is not popular among the youth in South Africa. Even though they are abstinent they are ashamed to indicate it. This trend is more pronounced among the boys of whom only 28.8% opted for abstinence whereas among the girls 49% opted for abstinence. We have reacted to these results by revising our lessons on HIV prevention during this workshop. It is a great challenge to make abstinence more popular among the youth. Apart from the revision of the HIV prevention lessons the third big focus of the workshop was to familiarize our Peer Educators with nine new lessons on values. These lessons were based on stories from the newly published book from “Heartlines” (a Christian NGO in SA that publishes films and books on values) with the title “Stories that talk II”. Some of the lessons...

read more

A successfull example of Montessori teaching

Oct 1, 2018 in Godisang Eng

A successfull example of Montessori teaching

Observing children in Montessori pedagogy is key to be able to understand where the child is in her development and it is also an important tool to help the child to go forward. This post was written by Tidimalo Mokaila, one of the newly qualified Montessori teachers at Rebaone/Lomanyane Early Learning Centre. She observed a girl who is in our preschool since she was two years. Towards the end of the year she will turn five and move on to Grade R next year. During the last months she has made huge steps in her development. Tidimalo writes: Thato is eager to learn and passionate in what she does. She seems to be enjoying Language and Mathematics. She likes working with the Movable Alphabet Box ( this is the key material used to teach writing to the children. It contains all letters of the alphabet, the vowels are in blue the consonants are in red) Thato likes to write and re- write words which are supplied. eg.ntlo which means house in Tswana. She takes out the letters and lays down the word, then writes it on paper. She knows half of the alphabet and is able to write her name without copying from a paper. In Mathematics she knows the number up to thirteen . She counts and also writes the numbers. When she is working ,she is totally absorbed in her work, nobody can disturb her. Whenever I ask her if she wants to explore new material, she is eager to see the presentations. Thato is a good example for the Montessori method because over the last three years we could see how she grew into an independent child and how she explored the Montessori material to get where she is now. Tidimalo...

read more

A Workshop with Challenges

Aug 12, 2018 in Tlamelang Eng

A Workshop with Challenges

From the second to the sixth of July 29 members of our Action Group Tlamelang assembled in St. Joseph’s Retreat Center in Mahikeng to participate in the annual workshop of their group. 32 members had registered but three had to stay at home due to a severe flu. It was one of the coldest weeks in this years winter in South Africa. The electricity was off for almost the whole week so that the electric heaters to warm up the meeting hall could not be used. Because of our financial constraints we could only accommodate those participants in the center who came from outside Mahikeng. Those from Mahikeng had to travel in freezing temperatures from their homes in the morning and in the evening. But they were still better off than those who stayed in the center. Because of the electricity cuts not even water was available in the center as the electric water pumps did not work. But the participants were not overcome by all these obstacles. Wrapped in coats and blankets their endured the cold temperatures they followed all the presentations attentively and displayed lively participation. The main focus of the workshop was on lessons that the child care givers will teach to the orphans and vulnerable children in the various forms of After School Programs of our organization. These lessons were presented to the participants by the members of our teaching team that was established last year. The presentations were done in a very captivating way. The lessons deal with four main challenges that the present South African society is faced with. Firstly, they deal with HIV prevention (as there are still 2000 girls and young women infected every week); secondly, they deal with child protection issues (as the rights of children are often neglected in South Africa). Thirdly the lessons deal with Gender Based Violence that affects many women in South Africa and fourthly they deal with stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV or PTB and the disabled. The second focus of the workshop was to give the participants an update on the diagnosis and treatment of Tuberculosis and HIV Infection and on Sexually Transmitted Infections and Family Planning. Like in previous years all participates had to undergo a test on Tuberculosis and HIV infection. Compared to the previous year the results improved by 6.8% to an average of...

read more

Interview with Kelebogile Ngobelanga

Jul 21, 2018 in Godisang Eng

Interview with Kelebogile Ngobelanga

This is an interview with Kelebogile Ngobelanga, one of the preschool teachers who benefitted from the Montessori Training during the last two years. The questions were asked by Christel Lorato Hermann. Kelebogile is on maternity leave until the middle of June. How do you feel being a mother now? What do you enjoy, what is difficult? Being a mother is so amazing and exciting because I get to see her grow every day and what I enjoy most is her company and her smile, but the difficult part of motherhood is all the sleepless nights. You have finished your Montessori Diploma training last year. How has this approach of Montessori influenced your attitude towards children and the bringing up of children? The Montessori approach has totally changed my attitude towards children and how they can be brought up. I have learned to trust the children that they are their main teachers (what Montessori called the ‘inner teacher’). I myself have to model the behaviour I want to see from the children. Do you think the African way of bringing up children and the Montessori approach can be reconciled, do they complement each other? If so, how? The African way of bringing up children is so different from the Montessori approach but I do think it is possible to reconcile the two; it needs teaching, workshops with parents. It’s a long way to go if only parents and society would listen and change. It would be necessary to implement changes from above (Department of Education) but at the same time from the grass root level. When you finished your Matric, what were your dreams and what did you hope to study? When I finished my Matric I had two things in mind, becoming a teacher or an accountant. I really wanted to be an accountant in a bank or a big company under finance. Things don’t always go as planned. How do you feel about having ended up in Montessori education? I feel very happy and very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to train as a Montessori teacher because Montessori education is not stereotyped and narrowed. I use my skills and knowledge not only in the classroom but in my life and that of my child. What are your plans for the future? I would like to further my studies and to own a Montessori preschool and to keep on implementing the Montessori method. Which of the Montessori principles do you find difficult to adhere to and why? Montessori often speaks about the discipline from within. That I find difficult to implement. Another important part of Montessori education is to be at the level of the child. Sometimes when children take advantage and try to overstep their boundaries, I am tempted to spank them and I find it difficult to be at their level now and then. Do you think Tsibogang is making a meaningful difference to the children in the Early Learning Centres? I definitely think it does make a meaningful difference in the Early Learning Centres to use the Montessori approach because children make their experiences in the Montessori environment, they develop skills children in a traditional way of education will not...

read more

Tsibogang Annual General Meeting

Jun 2, 2018 in Tshepanang Eng

Tsibogang Annual General Meeting

On 26 May 2018 Tsibogang members gathered for their Annual General Meeting at Lomanyane, next to the office of Tsibogang Christian Action Group. As in the years before the coordinator was silently asking himself the question: Will enough members turn up so that we will be able to form a quorum? Indeed we were close to 100 members who came together on a chilly Saturday morning. The meeting started rather late and therefore ended late. Mr. Links, the vice chairperson led us through a packed program whereby all action groups presented their achievements and their plans for the next financial year 2018/19. At times the chairperson of the day had to reprimand the members to listen and honour those who presented the reports but all in all the mood was relaxed and friendly. Here are some figures/achievements of the past year 2017 which were presented: Tshepanang the action group which teaches life lessons has reached 5196 students/learners in 21 Primary Schools and 6 Secondary Schools in 2017. This huge task was done by 52 trained Peer Educators. The Tlamelang Action Group reported the following: 2589 vulnerable children and orphans were visited at least four times per months and 357 guardians of these children received visits and support by our home care givers. In our After School Program 455 orphans and vulnerable children were helped with their home works and they received a warm meal. Out of this number 150 children wrote a Math test and 70% of those showed an improvement of 10 % and more. A debate started when the Tlamelang chairperson read that children coming late to the After school program should not be given food as a sort of punishment. The chairperson, Mrs. Theresa Mokgoro, did not accept this solution and asked if there are no other ways to solve the problem of late coming. After a lengthy debate it was finalized that punishing children by refusing to give them food should not be the order of the day in our centres; since we know that a big number of children need this meal to survive the day. Dr Hermann, the coordinator, presented the financial report and the budget for the new financial year: Both show that we need to trust in God to carry us through. The figures also showed that although we had to struggle here and there during the last financial year, we could see that God provided us with the necessary means to serve the people. At the end a new management committee was elected: Mr. Links, Mrs Theresa Mokgoro , Matumelo Rauter, who have served in this committee for a long time were re-elected, each action group appointed their representative, as well as each church having more than 5 members in Tsibogang. A big THANK YOU to all who made the work of Tsibogang Christian Action Group...

read more

Surprising demands

Apr 19, 2018 in Godisang Eng

Surprising demands

On the 2nd of February 2018 we received a letter from the South African Catholic Bishop’s Conference (SACBC). SACBC is our biggest donor organization that supports our NPO Tsibogang Christian Action Group currently with more than R 50,000 per month. In this letter SACBC indicated that their biggest donor organization Aurum Institute from the United States of America had advised them that if their did not meet 100% of their targets by March 2018 they would lose their funding from Aurum. This referred especially to the number of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and their guardians that had to be tested for HIV. That’s why SACBC in their letter demanded from us that we have to ensure that by 26.02. we should have tested 1166 OVC and 370 guardians for HIV and that this has to be properly captured in our computerized program that is linked to SACBC. If we fail to meet this target we would not be given a new contract. In the contract with SACBC that we signed in October 2017 a total number of 1285 OVC and 420 guardians was mentioned that we need to give services to. However it was not specified how many of them had to be tested for HIV. HIV testing is just one of the services that we give to OVC and guardians. Other services include home visits, BMI Measurements, nutritionals education, TB screening , assistance with home work, lessons on HIV prevention, child protection, gender based violence and stigma and discrimination. Even referrals for access to social grants and for health problems are part of our services. In our written reply to the letter from SACBC we complained that it is unfair to give us such high targets in such a short period of time. We were however aware that SACBC would reply that this pressure is not coming from them but rather from Aurum Institute who regard the testing for HIV as the most important service. We therefore called for an emergency meeting of the Tlamelang Committee. In this meeting it was decided that despite the unfairness we should try by all means to meet the required targets. Itsholeng Moepi who coordinates our HIV testing services worked out a plan. Every day one ore even two campaigns were to be held in the nine regions of our project. At the time when we received the letter we had (since October 2017) tested only 482 children and 20 adults for HIV. It was impressive to see how all our care workers did their best to convince the guardians to consent to testing for their children and for themselves. Record numbers were tested especially in Majematsho where our ELC and After School Program Rebaone is situated and in Welbedacht where our After School Centre Emmanuel is situated. At both sites more than 100 OVC were tested. Fortunately in 2016 and 2017 more than twenty of our care givers completed their training in HIV testing. It was however a challenge to get a sufficient number of test kits on short notice. We received them from the clinics that we work together with. But it was not only about getting the HIV testing done. A even bigger challenge was to capture all the tests completely in the sophisticated computer program called ADS....

read more

News from Godisang

Mar 2, 2018 in Godisang Eng

News from Godisang

Since the middle of January, the preschools and the after school programs are back in full swing. We have taken in a number of new children and it is really exciting to see how they change.. In the beginning there was only crying in the preschool children when their mothers disappeared, now, after five weeks, most do not even turn around when their mothers disappear at the door. They are eager to discover something new. Interesting for us as educators is how the little ones from last year being now the “big ones” behave. Many things they had forgotten, and we have to show them the material again; but in the meantime we can ask them to show the smaller / newer children how to do it. There is also a lot to discover for us as educators: the basic rule is that children should be shown a material from beginning to end; the teacher goes with the child to the shelf, picks up the material and then shows him how it is used. When done, the material is returned to its location so that the child knows where the material is kept. The new kids are now extremely impatient, they want to work with it before the teacher has finished. In our monthly internal Montessori training, there was a long debate about: may the child take over? Or should she/he wait until the end, even if possibly the child loses interest working with the material? Another hot question was, what are we going to do with children who are not working, who just walk around in the room, at times, disturbing the working children or the expecting that the teachers work with them? Another Montessori principle is: The Three- hour-work cycle e.g. there are no meals during this time, no morning circle or story read, but every child seeks his/her work. This is very important, because without this you cannot find out if children are really working independently (in Montessori means, the child is normalized ). Of course, it will take a while for the new children to work for three hours on their own initiative. But it’s great to see how long children can work. In Godisang, there is a two year old boy who wipes tables every day, sweeps, puts the chairs on the tables and then brings them down again. A huge job for a two year old. He is doing it because he does not want to sleep like the other children. In two of our afternoon programs for the schoolchildren we have for the first time children who have also been in our preschool .They come proudly with their books and show us what they can already write. Azania is one of them. She was the first in the preschools to assemble the Africa...

read more