A sixth day of school each week is an opportunity for nearly 350 young residents of Alexandra to improve their English and Maths marks, with the help of volunteer tutors managed by Rose-Act, a Rays of Hope programme.

But what happens during school holidays?

With its focus on the broader wellbeing of the community, Rays of Hope’s Rose-Act programme runs two holiday programmes, with the most recent edition in the July school holidays attracting 125 eager learners, with 20 volunteer leaders (who were former Rose-Act or Ignition students).

“Many children are at a loose end for what to do with their time while parents are at work during the school holidays, and the Rose-Act Holiday Club has multiple great outcomes for learners,” explains Louise Cameron, education manager at Rays of Hope. “The programme creates a structure for learners during the holidays, gives them opportunities to work together in teams by, for example, developing short plays and presentations, and reinforces valuable life skills that will help them succeed at school and beyond.”

The July camp’s theme centred around leadership – leadership in families, communities and the country, and the life skills component of the programme taught the children the nuances of electioneering and campaigning for a cause. The four causes centred around issues they encounter in Alexandra, including ‘Clean up Alex’, ‘Save water’, ‘Treat animals well’, and ‘Stop bullying’.

Games are always popular with the children, and this camp’s play sessions were also tied into leadership and identifying ways that leaders could be trusted.

Every camp also includes a craft element where the children learn a new skill, and each child was given a piece of fabric on which to draw the leadership characteristic they most admired – and then were given various media (ribbons, beads etc) to sew onto the fabric. Everyone’s contribution was then sewn onto a commemorative banner.

“It was inspiring to see the natural leaders in the group emerge, and so exciting to see the children’s ideas and opinions about leadership, and the issues in Alexandra, emerge in the various activities,” Louise says. “The sewing activity was also very popular, with everyone taking great pride in their work.”

This was Louise’s last holiday programme, as she is retiring at the end of 2019. “I have loved running these programmes, especially getting to work with the former Rose-Act students and Ignition students who come back as leaders. To see them grow from being students to becoming responsible and capable leaders always excites me and warms my heart,” she says.

Rose-Act is working towards its annual camp – an significant highlight for learners – which will take place from 23rd– 26thSeptember 2019. The camp is a memorable and impactful experience for the learners who participate – but it’s an expensive exercise.

Rose-Act would greatly value sponsors for the various elements, including transport, activities, and food and accommodation – if you or your company would like to help make this an even more memorable experience for the Rose-Act community, please contact Louise on louise@raysofhope.co.za.

The programme hosts a Christmas party in November, as well as an awards day, where the students are recognised for their achievements during the year – both of which are seeking sponsorship too.