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

Principal’s Report 2016 AGM

Enrolment


There are 104 enrolled learners at Amasango, of whom 12 are Afrikaans speaking. The Education department psychologist Cora Van Vuuren is taking interest in Amasango and encouraging referrals from mainstreams to Amasango.

High school


Forty-two former pupils are attending mainstream high schools. We are very proud of Silindokuhle Tyota who is in matric this year, two other learners are in grade 11 and 5 in grade 10. It is difficult for our learners in mainstreams to cope without the extra support they received at Amasango. However, grade 9 gives most of our learners good levels of literacy as some of them have permanent jobs. Phakama Fanya is doing Hospitality at East Cape Midlands College and is enjoying it.

Staff establishment


There are 18 educators including the principal and deputy principal. There are 8 permanent support staff and 11 stipendiary support staff.

Vocational skills


We have started with new vocational skills and I teach crafts such as fabric painting and crocheting. One of our teachers who has needlework skills helps by teaching sewing. We have six sewing machines and one over-loader. There are 17 children involved in this programme both boys and girls, between 15 and 19 years of age. They were really struggling with academic work; however, they are enthusiastic and proud of their work now. Two machines were from TWAM and the others from the Berkhamstad Rotary Club Funds. We have two industrial machines purchased from the departmental subsidy.

Sport


Two learners were selected to represent Grahamstown district in Port Elizabeth Athletics in February while two soccer boys went to Graaf-Reinet to play for Grahamstown soccer team. The girls are enjoying playing netball locally.

FRAMA South Africa


Friends of Amasango (FRAMA) South Africa is making steady progress, a working team is being formed and headed by Kim Webber who is very eager to get the website up and start fund raising. She is hands on person.

School site


The struggle has continued over the past year and the municipality has now suggested a brand new site which is 6.9 ha in size and on flat ground, easily accessible on the edge of the township. We have recently been approached by Mr Tim Kinnell who is a mining and Environmental Consultant. He has dealt with government departments for several years and has offered his services to attempt to finalise the acquisition of this land for Amasango. He is also working on arranging sponsorship from a local mining company towards the building of the school.