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 approach the school from the streets, having had little or no formal education. 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.

Friends and volunteers

The UK charity Friends of Amasango is run by 11 trustees. It is small but financially efficient, with expenses amounting to just 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

Friends in South Africa

The Friends of Amasango in South Africa is a sister organisation that has recently been set up. The aims of these Friends are two-fold: to support the work of Amasango Career School by raising awareness and money in South Africa, and to act as a conduit for money from the Friends of Amasango in the UK. FoA (UK) knows the importance of accountability when it comes to both charity law and the need for donors in the UK to have confidence that money sent from the UK is spent in the way that it is intended. The current system is well monitored and works well, but the ability to channel funds through a South African partner will simplify life considerably.

The trustees are Peter Magalela, Virginia Parkes, Cecil Nonqane, Penny Whitford and Raymond Ndabeni, with the current and past heads, Linda Ngamlana and Jane Bradshaw, co-opted for the time being.

FoA (SA) is in its infancy and still sorting out basics such as officers and a bank account, but its inception is very welcome and the two FoAs look forward to working together.