Study Buddies Group
In an ongoing effort to support education, a Saturday tutoring program called “Study Buddies” is supported by our club, a non-profit organization which renders a range of psychological and psycho-social support services to families from marginalized communities, with a special focus on those affected by HIV/AIDS, poverty, war and forced displacement. One of our centres in located in Bertrams which is part of sprawling ghetto of migrants and refugees, mainly from the DRC. Many of these families have fled violent conflict in their home countries and are subjected to severe daily stressors in the form of extreme poverty, xenophobia and various forms of social exclusion.
For many of the children school is the only place where they can experience some measure of integration and accomplishment. Unfortunately, however, most have missed out on years of their education, are struggling with language, and lack of support in their home environments.
Study Buddies is one attempt to help children integrate into the school environment, to grow in confidence, and to take pride in their academic achievements. The programme was initiated by a group of young professionals, offering their time and expertise on a voluntary basis to help children with homework and to make learning an enjoyable experience. The programme is currently led by Katelyn Smith who has provided the following account of her involvement with the Study Buddies programme, together with an appeal of support in maximizing its benefits to the children involved:
Study Buddies is a programme that provides a space for school kids (from grade 5 to 12) to come and get assistance with their homework. The project has grown over the past two years and attendance and numbers have risen to 34 kids.
The focus is on teaching asylum seeker children to better adapt to educational requirements of the South African educational system. This project has been proudly championed by Denise Cruickshank.