Charity: East London Child and Youth Care
Sithabile Mazibuko moved almost 700 kilometres away from her home in Kwazulu-Natal to take up the position of Remedial Educator at the East London Child and Youth Care Centre (ELCYCC). The teacher, who was unemployed at the time, was tasked with developing individualised remedial learning programmes for children who have been removed from their homes as a result of abuse and who have fallen behind in their education due to trauma.
“Winning the trust of the children was initially a challenge, but once I gained their confidence, I was able to restore their hope in their own future,” says Sithabile. Helping the children overcome their learning difficulties required Sithabile to show them that they have potential, they can overcome their past and doing well at school will assist them in achieving their dreams. She was able to recognise and unlock their natural talent and increased the pass rate of the children in care from 90% to 98%. Some of the children have even gone on to represent their school in public speaking and poetry, which are proud achievements for them. In order to ensure that her work continued after she has left, Sithabile instilled a love of remedial intervention in the Child Care Workers and identified those who continue the programme.
“Volunteering showed me the importance of donating skills and time because in just a year, I know I changed the lives of the children I came into contact with, as well as the lives of the children my successors are assisting. I can look back and see the positive marks I have left on others’ lives.”
The very first child she needed to assess at the centre changed her life dramatically. The 17 year old boy who had been abandoned by his mother soon after birth lived at the home, but would have had to leave when he turned 18. Sithabile took the boy under her wing and committed to doing whatever she could to help him – so much so that she has applied to adopt him and he is currently living with her and her family back in Kwazulu-Natal.
Since her time at ELCYCC Sithabile has conducted a few workshops on Leadership and Management for Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital, has supervised Bachelor of Education students from the Durban University of Technology during their teaching practice, as well as UKZN students on professional practice. She is currently freelancing for Shuter and Shooter Publishers, conducting CAPS workshops and promoting their books in schools.
Sithabile has been involved in the community through preaching the gospel to a women’s club which she belongs to. She has assisted various people in need and has started up a school uniform donation programme with some friends. “Volunteerism has taught me that giving without expecting something back is fulfilling. The love of helping people has been developed in me,” concludes Sithabile.