Every Saturday, learners from schools across Alexandra arrive at the Central Johannesburg College, excited to spend a few hours learning and engaging with the dedicated tutors and volunteers of the Rose Act programme.
“In Grade 10, a new English tutor named Ian walked into class and wrote these words on the board: ‘I’m not here to teach you English, I am here to teach you how to think’. We had no clue what he meant by that at first, but those words still ring in my head today because that is exactly what he did,” says Koketso Legote, a former Rose Act learner, who now works as a receptionist at Etchells and Young.
Koketso is just one of thousands of learners who have benefited from the Rose Act programme since it was established in 1991. The programme provides a safe and accepting space for learners to improve their maths and English skills once a week, but Rose Act also exists to provide social and spiritual upliftment too.
Nomalanga Ngoetjana, also a former Rose Act beneficiary, says that Rose Act helped her beat the ‘generational curse’ that would see her following a much different path to the one she is on now.
“My mother started getting sick in 2003. She called me into her room one day and told me she was HIV positive, but she told me I shouldn’t worry because she will be ok. She got worse as the months progressed, and she was eventually diagnosed with AIDS,” says Nomalanga.
“One day, a group from Rays of Hope came to visit us and I was told they were there to help my mother get better. I would get so happy every time they visited because it meant that, at least once a week, I would get a break from caring for my mother, washing her clothes, bathing her, changing her diapers, cleaning the house, and be able to go and play a little bit!”
Learners are part of holiday clubs, attend annual camps and enjoy a variety of extra mural activities throughout the year, mostly as a reward for academic achievement, but also to ensure they get the opportunity to enjoy activities that are not usually available in Alexandra.
A little help goes a long way. Sponsor a Rose Act learner from just R250 a month, and help cover the cost of their tuition, books, stationery, holiday club, annual camp, and refreshments for the year. For more information contact Louise Cameron on 011 784 6214 or email firstname.lastname@example.org