Friends of Amasango
Friends of Amasango is the UK charity that supports the work of the Amasango Career School in Makhanda (Grahamstown), South Africa. This special needs school enables severely marginalised children and young people to obtain a primary education and build self-esteem. The Friends provide:
Children often have no financial support or family backing, so the food, clothing and transport supplied make attendance at school possible.
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 to 18.
Thanks to the specialised care and teaching provided at the school about half the learners are able to continue their education at high school. Others learn a vocational skill that they will be able to use to find work.
The Department of Education refers some learners who are not coping with the normal curriculum in mainstream schools to Amasango in order to follow the skills curriculum.
Friends and volunteers
The UK charity Friends of Amasango is run by nine trustees. It is small but financially efficient, with expenses amounting to around 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 Makhanda (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 DBS check has been carried out, it doesn’t provide a formal volunteer programme.
"Amasango is a school that deserves all the love and support it can get. Our children have a low self-esteem (due to societal influences) that limits their learning abilities. When they get to Amasango, we give them a basic education and vocational skills. Skills, have the ability to help the children to be self-dependent as well as boost confidence."
Dr Girlie Shaddaya, Principal