Friends of Amasango
The Friends of Amasango is the UK charity that supports the work of the Amasango Career School in Grahamstown, South Africa. This special needs school enables street children to obtain a primary education and build self-esteem.
Friends’ grants mainly provide:
- two meals a day and food parcels at weekends – without these, children at the school would not eat
- school uniforms, shoes, coats and other clothing once a year – without these, the children could not attend school
- uniforms, schoolbooks and rent (if needed) for ex-pupils who go on to high school
- teaching equipment, tools and vocational equipment that are not provided by the education authority.
Children often have no financial support or much family backing, so the food, clothing and transport supplied make attendance at school possible.
How the school works
Children from the very poorest backgrounds and from the street are referred to the school by social workers.They enter the school at the grade appropriate to their level of education, not necessarily the one appropriate for their age, which can be anything from 5 to18.
They are helped to complete their primary education as quickly as possible. The majority are able to learn a skill that they will be able to use to find work, while some children will go on to a mainstream high school.
Learners who are not coping with the normal curriculum in the main stream schools are referred by the Department of Education, in order to follow the skills programme at Amasango.
Friends and volunteers
The UK charity Friends of Amasango is run by nine trustees. It is small but financially efficient, with expenses amounting to less than 3 per cent of income. All money sent to South Africa is budgeted and controlled.
Street children need a lot of individual attention, so volunteers are welcome at the school. They travel to Grahamstown at their own expense, fund their living expenses and work on their own initiative once there. While the charity offers advice and ensures that a CRB check has been carried out, it doesn’t provide a formal volunteer programme.
If there was no school like this in Grahamstown, some of these children would be dead by now from sniffing glue and petrol and robbing people, but this school has helped to remove children from the street and to give them a basic education.
Linda Ngamlana, Principal