Gavin is deep in conversation with a kid when I walk in. My eye catches the star-covered display on the right.
Gavin, or more fondly known as Uncle Tin-Tin and his wife, Esther (Auntie Chockie) partnered with Tshepo to run the Windsor Aftercare in April this year. The aftercare currently has capacity to handle 40 kids, of all ages.
Gavin and his family are missionaries and his path started as a structural engineer, which he left behind in 2012 to live in Brazil to become a full-time missionary. They left Brazil when their daughter was born and handed the local project they started, similar to project Ngonyama, over to two local Brazilians.
They started Project Ngonyama, in October 2016 in Windsor: this project takes place once a month and aims to develop resilience, over the long term through a fun day of constructive play, Bible lessons and life skills activities. Gavin says he had no idea what the need was, but in the first week of Project Ngonyama, 120 kids showed up. It has since grown to 300 kids attending monthly.
One of the first tasks was to set structure to the afternoon activities: Mondays a lesson is taught – for example good vs. bad food. Tuesdays they play sport, Wednesdays are arts & crafts day, while Thursdays are lego day that encourages the development of the foundation of pre-literacy in young kids, ending off the week with baking on Fridays. The other was to set up a library, to encourage the kids to read and become comfortable with books.
A big need in the community is parents spending time with their kids – playing with them, engaging them: doing cartwheels, reading with them, doing homework with them to ultimately help the child understand their bodies, and its abilities.
The Aftercare’s biggest need is volunteers: to bridge the gap to the children, while the parents work. With current volunteers it comes to approximately 20 kids per adult, which means the interaction isn’t as close and as specific as they’d hope to be. Within smaller groups, it’s also better to build authentic interpersonal relationships with each child.
Gavin says their biggest aim is to build a better partnership with the parents. For the Aftercare to become like a family, with the older/ more autonomous kids to support, guide and help the younger ones – much like a family. With just three hours per day with the kids, this is a significant task.