“This job is awesome!”

These were the words that Melanie Joseph, a recent graduate from Sparrows FET College said as I asked her how she was finding her new position at the Sparrow Foundation School.

“It is challenging but exciting, and every day is completely different!

It is hard to believe that this young, confident lady had previously been unemployed for over two years, as she spoke so passionately about her current work situation.

Melanie heard about the opportunity to study for free from her sister in law and applied straight away. After passing the assessment in August 2015, Melanie was accepted onto the End User IT Programme in November 2015. In Melanie’s class, 17 of the 26 students had a physical disability, which ranged from students in a wheelchair, to students who had hearing and speech impairments. This is what made the experience for Melanie so unique:

“We were like a family… I helped the other students with disabilities but by the end of the course we were all helping each other!”

Melanie and her cohort spent six months from November 2015 to May 2016 at Sparrow FET College learning about different Computer programmes ranging from Word, Excel and Powerpoint. The second part of the course, the students spent their time in a work environment to gain practical experience in the office and put to practice everything that they learnt. Melanie was put forward by the facilitator, Mr Banda for the role as HR assistant and receptionist at Sparrow School’s Head Office, based in Melville. This proved to be a challenging role, working alongside Sparrow’s HR Manager who has the demanding job of dealing with over 100 staff in the organisation.

“Romela, my mentor, taught me so much! It was also a great experience to work alongside Jackie Gallagher, the founder of the organisation.”

After continuing to work hard and support the staff at head office, Melanie was promoted to a new position based at the Sparrow Foundation School in December 2016. Her new role involves supporting the Principal of the Foundation school, the teachers and dealing with parents of the children at the remedial school.

The other students from Melanie’s course are also excelling. Read Africa’s story here.

“They are all working at their placements, which have been extended or they have gone onto further studying with stipends. Sparrow FET has opened the door to opportunities for all of us! I would recommend Sparrow FET to anyone!”

Sparrow FET College are currently looking for disabled, learners from rural areas and Coloured or Indian learners to attend the college. Sparrow FET supports free education by providing stipends to students to study. We promote employment in South Africa by linking students to the workplace. Our job coaches and Learner Support Unit at Sparrow, provide holistic assistance to students, as we are passionate about tackling youth unemployment and promoting skills development.

If you are between the ages of 18 and 35, have passed Grade 12 (Grade 9 for Installation of Floor Coverings),you may qualify for FULLY funded learnership.The college provides SETA-accredited full qualification and skills programmes that are rated between NQF Levels 2 and 5.

Automotive Repair & Maintenance NQF 2

Assistant Chef NQF 2

Business Administration NQF 2

Early Childhood Development NQF 4

End-User Computing NQF 3

Installation of Floor Coverings NQF 2

Professional Cookery NQF 4

Sports Coaching NQF 4

Fluid Power Hose Assembly NQF 2 or 3 (Skills Program)

Contact us today:

Tel: +2711 673 4410 /19  Email: academics@sparrowschools.co.za

We are still reaching out to companies to accommodate our learners for their work experience placements. All students have stipends, so there is no requirement for the company to pay a salary. For further information, contact marywebber@sparrowschools.co.za

 

The drive to integrate technology at Sparrow Schools

On the 7th of February, Sparrow’s Grade 6 class had a special visit from a company called Poynting Direct which specialises in boosting antennas and wireless technologies in South Africa. Ivy Matlawa and Reabetswe Makwela brightened up the Tuesday morning Science class by dropping off the first tablet devices for the school. The faces of the children and Mr Peterson lit up as the tablets were handed out to the class.

With the goal of supporting the integration of technology into the classrooms, the donation of these tablets came at a perfect time for the school. When Mr Peterson (Science teacher at Sparrow Schools) returned from London after the Teacher Exchange Programme between Dulwich Prep London and Sparrow Schools, he was keen to incorporate technology in his classrooms. Mr Peterson witnessed the benefits of using technology to support the education of pupils at Dulwich Prep London, and wanted the same of his class in Johannesburg.

Thank you again Poynting Direct for your generous donation and for choosing Sparrow Schools for your CSI project.

How a young person goes from staying at home for two years, to landing an opportunity to fix cars at Ford & Mazda?

After I finished my Matric in 2013, I stayed at home for two years, as I could not afford to go to UniversityI almost gave up.

Finishing school with no route into further education or employment, Yelulani’s story is a common one for many young people in South Africa today. However Yelulani was able to turn his life around after he found out about an opportunity that seemed too good to be true — a fully funded learnership to study Automotive Repair & Maintenance (NQF 2) at Sparrow FET College. The bright young Automotive Repair and Maintenance student completed his programme in June 2016 and we were delighted to catch up with Yelulani to see how he was getting on…

Yelulani has been accepted by Ford & Mazda in Germiston into their comprehensive four-year apprenticeship program. This is a fantastic opportunity to continue learning about automotive repairs and mechanics. His job includes checking different car’s brakes to make sure they are safe, and replacing parts that cannot be fixed.

So how does a young person go from staying at home for two years, to landing an opportunity to fix cars at Ford & Mazda?

After passing the entrance exams at Sparrow FET, Yelulani started Automotive Repair and Maintenance programme in July 2015. The course was split into two sections:

 

  • Lectures and theory at the FET College in Sophiatown.

 

According to Yelulani:

Mr Errol taught me a lot! He was passionate about what he was teaching but he also believed in us and pushed us to go beyond what we thought we could do.

 

  • 6 month work experience, where Yelulani gained practical experience at Mercedes Benz M2 Cargo.

 

When Yelulani started his work experience placement, the company was surprised by how much he knew:

They expected to teach me, but I already knew from my education at Sparrow FET; they told me ‘we need more people like you who are trained already’.

The Sparrow FET College does not just teach students about their programme, but also prepares young adults for the working environment:

They taught us about discipline, which was important, as many of us had not worked or studied for several years. This included the importance of arriving early, not being absent and how to behave in the workplace.

Yelulani has moved out of his family home in Pretoria; enjoying his independence and living on his own with the money he earns. He hopes to stay on at Ford after his apprenticeship has finished, and he will visit Sparrow soon with his younger brother who will be finishing school at the end of this year.

What advice would you give to someone who has just got their Matric results and does not know what to do?

I wanted to go to University but I had no money… At college I gained more practical experience than some of the Universities I was looking at, which has helped me get onto the apprenticeship. Wearing the gown on my graduation was such a dream come true and I thank Sparrow for the opportunity to turn my life around.

How the Teacher Exchange Programme between Dulwich Prep (London) and Sparrow Schools (Johannesburg) is changing lives

Kagiso Magano, Richard Bernhard  (Former Chairman of the Sparrow Schools Foundation, UK), Norval Petersen.

Boarding an aeroplane, and leaving South Africa for the first time in their lives, Kagiso Magano (English Teacher) and Norval Petersen (Science Teacher), two young and enthusiastic teachers from Sparrow Schools, flew to London, England on 24th November 2016. The teachers were selected to take part in the first Teacher Exchange Programme between Dulwich Prep (London) and Sparrow Schools (Johannesburg), as part of a teacher development and relationship building project between the two schools.

Norval and Kagiso spent two weeks at Dulwich Prep London, learning about the different teaching methods and resources at the school. It was also a great opportunity for the teachers to meet the UK Foundation Trustees and supporters based in and around London. The teachers spoke at assemblies and fundraising events to explain to donors how their money supports learners with special needs in Johannesburg. From the personal stories that the two men shared about the children they teach, the audience felt a deeper connection with Sparrow Schools, 5,500 miles away. Many pupils and teachers were shocked to hear about the lack of teaching resources at Sparrow Schools and have a renewed energy to support the school.

Dulwich Prep London have been long term supporters of Sparrow Schools and have visited the school in Melville, Johannesburg on several cricket tours over the years. Last year (October 2016), George Marsh, retired head teacher at Dulwich Prep and Founder of the Sparrow Schools Foundation, UK, visited Johannesburg for the first time since 2007 and saw how the money raised by Dulwich Prep and the UK Foundation has developed the school. The current head teacher at Dulwich Prep London, Michael Roulston, has continued the Dulwich-Sparrow relationship, with a particular interest in developing teaching methods and relations.

The teachers arrived back in Johannesburg full of enthusiasm to share their experience with the rest of the school. Two teachers from Dulwich Prep will fly to Johannesburg later in the year to spend time at Sparrow Schools to continue sharing teaching methods and developing relations between the two schools.

‘It was truly an amazing opportunity for us to learn, grow and exchange best teaching practices. The life long experience gained will never be forgotten.’ (Kagiso Magano)

‘It was an extraordinary experience for a South African educator to witness the advancement in teaching and learning practices at Dulwich Prep London.’ (Norval Petersen)

Thank you Michael Roulston for hosting Norval and Kagiso during their stay in London and Dulwich Prep London for sponsoring the two teachers flights in order to make this incredible opportunity a reality. We would also like to thank Dulwich for their ongoing support for Sparrow and we look forward to welcoming the teachers from Dulwich Prep soon.

 

702 radio helps Sparrow FET College to recruit 79 disabled learners during Disability Rights Awareness Month

At the end of last year, a software company SAP approached Sparrow FET College Operations Manager, Melanie Malema and offered to fund 32 learnerships for disabled people. The request to fund disabled learners came through during the Disability Rights Awareness Month. Every year, South Africa celebrates National Disability Rights Awareness Month between 3rd November and 3rd December to promote equality and empowerment to those living with disabilities. This was a fantastic opportunity to change the lives of many disabled people through free college education, skills development and work experience placements.

With only two months to recruit a large number of disabled learners for the January 2017 intake, Sparrow FET College contacted the popular talk radio station, 702, to see if they could help market the opportunity. On November 10th 2016, Melanie Malema featured on the John Robbie show and spoke about the huge recruitment drive to attract applications from disabled learners, who were interested in pursuing a career in Business Administration and End-User Computing: “This college, what it stands for and the opportunities its business model has adopted, all aim to make a meaningful difference – not only to the students but to a country that is in desperate need of a range of critical and scarce skills.”

To date, twenty-eight disabled learners have been enrolled onto the IT End-User Computing Programme and fifty one disabled learners have been enrolled onto the Business Administration Programme. All the disabled learners will gain an NQF Level 3 qualification by the end of the year. In addition, the work experience placements and the Sparrow FET Job Coaches will support the students with their transition into full time employment. Many of the students have come from disadvantaged backgrounds and traveled a great distance from Limpopo province to study at Sparrow FET College.

Thank you 702 and John Robbie for helping Sparrow FET to recruit 79 disabled learners to Sparrow FET College; it will be a life changing experience.

If you are between the ages of 18 and 35 and have passed Grade 12 (Grade 9 for Installation of Floor Coverings), you may qualify for FULLY funded learner-ship. The college provides SETA-accredited full qualification and skills programmes that are rated between NQF Levels 2 and 5.

Automotive Repair & Maintenance NQF 2

Early Childhood Development NQF 4

Installation of Floor Coverings NQF 2

Professional Cookery NQF 4

Sports Coaching NQF 4

Fluid Power Hose Assembly NQF 2/3 (Skills Program)

Contact us today:

Tel: +2711 673 4410 /19  Email: academics@sparrowschools.co.za

We are still reaching out to companies to accommodate our learners for their work experience placements. All students have stipends so there is no requirement for the company to pay a salary. For further information, contact marywebber@sparrowschools.co.za

Disability image - 702

 

Vuma supports Sparrow Schools with free fibre

What could be better than high-speed internet at Sparrow Schools to support our leaner’s education?! FREE high-speed internet!

A Big THANK YOU to Vumatel who partnered with Vox Telecom to provide Sparrow Schools with world-class internet. Vuma has sponsored Sparrow Schools with free uncapped open access fibre optic infrastructure, which will have fundamental impact on the children’s education. 

Vuma have announced it’s going to roll out free uncapped open access fibre optic infrastructure to schools in the area. For further information about Vuma’s project please visit their website: https://vumatel.co.za/news/vumatels-giving-schools-gigabit-internet-connections

If your company would like to help a local school that supports disadvantaged children with learning difficulties to gain a comprehensive education or would like to support skills development for young South Africans, please get in touch! Whether you need to get more benefits from what you spend on Skills Development or Enterprise & Supplier Development, or seek to do more with your Socio-economic and Corporate Social Investment budget, Sparrow FET College provides reliable and valuable solutions across the board.

For further information email joy@sparrowschools.co.za

Let Learning Continue…

Can you believe it is already nearly December and our children are nearly finishing up their year at school.  Your kids have worked hard this year and they deserve a rest over the December holidays. Just because school is ending though it doesn’t mean that learning has to end, there are so many great activities that will help keep your children entertained as well as providing them with opportunities to keep on learning.

Some activity ideas for the holidays are:

  • Go on educational outings to the Zoo or other museums around Gauteng. The JHB offers holiday programs.
  • Sci-Bono Discovery Centre is an amazing interactive science and technology centre, it is open 7 days a week including public holidays except Christmas Day and Good Friday. It is R30 for kids and R45 for adults. They have holiday programs too.
  • Go have a picnic at one of our beautiful parks or Botanical gardens. Your children can draw a picture of the wildlife or write a story about your day.
  • You can go camping in your backyard and let your children use their imagination to make up an adventure. If you don’t have a tent you can set up a fort using blankets and towels.
  • Playing board games. There are some really great board games out there that you can play together. Games like Scrabble, 30 seconds, and Pictionary are great for spelling and increasing vocabulary. Games like monopoly are good for entrepreneurship and maths. Even simple games like cards or snakes and ladders are good for counting and learning to take turns.
  • Baking and cooking are really great practical activities that get kids involved, this is great for practicing measuring and it is an extra bonus if the kids get to lick the spoon afterwards.
  • Arts and crafts activities are great for children’s creativity and fine motor skills. Crafts can be Christmas related and they can be done using recyclable material.
  • I’m sure your children will be wanting to spend time with their friends and family but if you see that they are spending their days only watching TV, or playing electronic games then implement a no technology rule for an hour a day where you force your children to go and play something or make something not technology related.
  • With your children having more time on their hands it may be a great opportunity to teach them the value of volunteering. There are a lot of different options such as spending time at an animal shelter, visiting an old age home, making gifts or food for people who may need it in your community. Charity SA has a list of different organisations that may need help.
  • I personally love reading and I can’t wait for the holidays when I get time to get stuck into some novels that have been waiting for me on my bookshelf. Reading to your children is an activity that you can do everyday. Your local library may also be running story time or holiday programs. It is important that your children see that you also love reading , a family reading time can be implemented every week where everyone in the family stops what they are doing and they read for an hour.
  • If you are travelling for the holidays try to take some books with you and some cards and portable games such as chess. You can also play some fun car games such as memory games and I spy.

Remember it is also ok to let your children be bored, it is usually during these times that they use their imagination and come up with creative games to keep themselves occupied.

Happy Holidays!

Written by Samantha Bolton – LSU Remedial Therapist

Team from Henley Business School support Sparrow’s Feeding Scheme

Over the past five months, Sparrow School has worked with middle managers who were completing a Management Advancement programme at Henley Business School, South Africa. As a beneficiary of the programme, Sparrow received free facilitation and consultation from six people on the programme to help develop our new feeding scheme.

The Foundation School Feeding Scheme started in January 2016, when a few concerned teachers and social workers noticed that some of the children had nothing to eat at school; no breakfast or lunch and consequently could not concentrate during class. The feeding scheme started off informally with a social worker bringing in sandwiches from home for children but soon realised that the issue was a lot bigger. After conducting formal assessments and interviews to see which children were not being fed before school or had no lunch with them at school, the staff found that there were 30 children who needed to be included on the feeding scheme. With the need being so great, Sparrow required a sustainable solution for the feeding scheme.

dsc_0228

From April- October, Henley Business students visited the school to learn about our organisation and needs. On one occasion, the team volunteered to make burgers for the children and handed out a food parcel to all 30 children on the feeding scheme and described it as a humbling experience’. The Henley team facilitated a learning process that enabled Sparrow staff to identify the different issues preventing a sustainable feeding scheme at the school and allowed us to take a fresh approach to address our challenges. The programme culminated with a presentation on October 31st whereby the Henley team presented to Sparrow their journey and feedback.

The journey was based on a mutually beneficial relationship. Both parties learnt from each other and inspired each other to look at new ways to address the feeding scheme.

‘Henley Business School SA is committed to developing Africa’s leaders, this means reaching beyond corporate South Africa and into Civil Society. We recognise that with the universal need for business practice to be ethical, relevant, profitable and most importantly sustainable, we need more servant leaders who manage purpose driven enterprises.’ (Henley Business School).

The partnership was a great demonstration on how more needs to be done to bridge the gap between the corporate sector and community in order to build a better South Africa.

The outcome from working with the Henley Business School has been increased communication in the organisation; the social workers have worked closely with the fundraising team to communicate the needs of the feeding scheme. As a result, Sparrow have made a successful partnership with a company who has supplied food for the feeding scheme to ensure all the children have breakfast and lunch. This has helped concentration levels and learning in the classroom and will hopefully reflect in the exams results taking place next week. Sparrow have also employed a new staff member to prepare and deliver the food for the children on the feeding scheme so the teachers and social workers can focus on educating and supporting Sparrow children.

Thank you, once again to all the Henley Business School for all your support and encouraging business and communities to work together.

If your company would like to get involved with the community and support the development of South African youth we would love to meet you! Whether you need to get more benefits from what you spend on Skills Development or Enterprise & Supplier Development, or seek to do more with your Socio-economic and Corporate Social Investment budget, Sparrow FET College and Sparrow Schools provides reliable and valuable solutions across the board.

http://www.sparrowschools.co.za/contact.php

The importance of Phonological Awareness for developing literacy

What is Phonological Awareness?

Phonological Awareness is the ability to manipulate speech sounds in spoken words. For example, a Speech-Language Pathologist may ask a learner to segment syllables of a word by clapping the parts of the word. If the word was “cowboy”, the learner would be expected to clap once for “cow” and again for “boy”.

Why is Phonological Awareness important? 

Phonological Awareness is important, because it forms the basis for reading. Research has shown that children who are weak in Phonological Awareness show improvement in their word-level
reading skills after receiving therapy aimed at improving their Phonological Awareness skills.

How do you improve Phonological Awareness Skills at home? 

Try the following suggestion adapted from Knobelauch (2008):

  1. Find some beads and string around your home.
  2. Give your child some string and beads and have them tie a knot at one end.
  3. Say a word, for example, “cupcake” and have your child string one bead for each syllable they hear in the word. i.e. Your child will string one bead for “cup” and another bead for “cake”.
  • Once your child is able to string two syllable words such as “cupcake” and “cowboy”, try
    stringing three syllable words such as “newspaper” and “peppermint”.

Reference

Knobelauch, L. (2008). What is Phonological Awareness? Retrieved from https://www.superduperinc.com/handouts/pdf/172%20phonological%20awareness.pdf

Candice Tu, Speech-Language Pathologist

Sparrow learners enjoy a week long camp to celebrate the end of the school year!

After a long year of working hard at school, completing their homework and finishing their exams, pupils from grade 1 and 2 enjoyed a fantastic School Camp to end the school year on a high.

The camp was hosted by ‘Camp Footprints’ at Kwalata Adventure Camp in the Dinokeng BIG 5 Game Reserve. The week long camp took place from the 14th to the 18th November 2016 and the lead up was an exciting and nerve racking time for some of the children who were away from their families for the 1st time.    

The opportunity was provided by The Just Footprints Foundation, which is a registered Non-Profit organisation, that has been running since 2008 to meet the need for an outdoor camping experience that provides safe and secure adventures for children with serious health and life challenges. Many of our Sparrow learners have experienced serious life challenges already in their early life including severe poverty,  abuse, neglect and the loss of one or both parents.

img_7846 img_7844 img_7848

The opportunity provided by the Just Footprint Foundation was enjoyed by all the children who attended the camp, as it allowed them to be children once again in a safe and caring environment. The camping programme included environmental awareness, intentional play, fun activities and personal growth opportunities. It also provided the children the opportunity of make new friends and experience many unique and new adventures.

Thank you again for all the staff and volunteers who provided Sparrow learners with the opportunity to attend a unique school camp but also made it such an enjoyable time for the children.

Sparrow Schools are on the lookout for similar opportunities for our learners who do not get these opportunities without the generous support and donations from companies. individuals and Trusts. If you are able to help disadvantaged children with learning difficulties in Johannesburg, then we would like to hear from you.

Please contact:Foundation Reception (foundation@sparrowschools.co.za)