Dwarsriver Valley Initiative
R 37,716
Raised in South African rand
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Background and description:
Aitsa! After Care Centre opened its doors in 2014 in the picturesque village of Kylemore, approximately 15 minutes outside Stellenbosch. While Stellenbosch is world-renowned for its wines and one of the largest universities in South Africa, most of the families in Kylemore are in challenging circumstances. Parents work long hours to be able to provide for the basic needs of the family.  Children are often left unattended, after school which results in increased risk to their safety, development and general wellbeing. 

For this reason, an after-care centre, open every afternoon after school, plays such an integral role. Not only does Aitsa! provide a safe place where children receive a cooked meal and fruit daily, but it is a place where children’s full potential can be developed.Through holistic programs Aitsa! provides educational and homework support through its dedicated permanent teacher network. In addition, learners receive coaching and support in a wide variety of Sport, Art and Cultural activities. Lastly, their Psycho-social and spiritual needs are identified and nurtured via trained mentors and the clinical psychologist and social worker on duty.  Currently, we serve 230 children between the ages of 5 and 13 years, we employ 18 full-time staff members, mostly residing in the village of Kylemore. Our valuable volunteer corps consist of 99 dedicated people from all walks of life.

Core Purpose and Impact:
Aitsa! After Care Centre wants to create a safe, loving and stimulating environment where each child’s full potential can be developed. We commit to partnering with each child and his/her parents from age 5 until they reach adulthood at the age of 18. We want to take in 35 kids, annually from Grade R to Grade 12. We will have a total 455 children in the next 7 years.

Our Values:
Our impact will be rolled out by implementing the following core values:

1. An environment of “Excellence”: Each child deserves only the best and we want to create an environment where they receive nothing less than the best exposure and stimulation. For this reason, top quality programmes as well as continuous training for educators and partnering with professionals, form such an integral part of Aitsa! We believe that in an environment of excellence each child will have the best chance to develop their own unique potential.

2 Holistic perspective: We believe that the only way to reach our dream of developing each child’s unique potential effectively, is to nurture all the aspects of the child’s development. Therefor our programmes include the following areas on a daily basis: spiritual, emotional, physical, educational and nutritional.
3 Early intake and long- term commitment: We commit to take in our children as early as possible and walk with them as long as possible. We therefor enrol our children when they are 5 years old. Our commitment to them is until the age of 18 or when the finish school.
4  Parent Partnership: We believe that a child’s full potential cannot be reached without the buy-in and cooperation of the parent community. This creates a sense of ownership. We have 9 compulsory contact sessions in a year where parents have time to bond with their children, have individual counselling as well as workshops and training on different aspects of parenting. We are excited about our parent community relationship and believe it forms the basis for our healthy journey with each child.
5  Bible-base value system:  Our foundation at Aitsa! is our Christian Faith and Biblical values underline all our programmes and initiatives.

Our Programmes

Psycho-social: Social worker, Aitsa! rehab program, clinical and educational psychologist, mentorship program
Sport: Rugby, golf, mountain biking, netball, soccer, child kinetics and cricket
Art and Cultural: Hip hop, choir, chess, art classes, sewing and drama
Nutritional: Daily cooked meal, veggies, fruit, peanut butter sandwich
Educational: Maths remedial in-class program, reading assistance program, maths tutoring, reading buddies, library, e-learning programs, homework support and foundation phase remedial support
Parent programmes: workshops, parent-child bonding sessions, parent counselling, compulsory programs
Volunteers: We have an extensive volunteer programme where we invite many professional and passionate people, who want to make a difference in their surrounding community an opportunity

Stats and achievements

@ We currently serve 50% of the local school’s Gr R- Gr 5 children.
@ Our attendance is 95% daily
@ We have 3 children in the Western Cape chess team 2017, 2 in 2018
@ We have 2 children in Cape Winelands chess team 2018
@ We have been nominated as top 10 after care centre in the Western Cape Department of    Education Game changer awards 2016
@ 7 of the top 10 academic achievers in Gr 5, attending the local primary school, are from Aitsa! 2019
@ All top 10 academic achievers in Gr 4, attending the local primary school, are from Aitsa! 2019
@ We were chosen as one of 15 beneficiaries of the Cape Wine Auction Trust supporting excellence in NGO’s serving communities in the Cape Winelands

Specific needs

8 years ago we started with our first intake of 25 grade 1 learners. Next year, these children (who have been with us from the beginning) will graduate from primary school and begin their high school (grade 8) career. Our commitment is to walk with each child and his/her family from the age of 5 until 18 or Gr 12. Our primary school facilities will be at capacity (260 children) with the new intake of Grade R's next year. 

We have secured a site to establish our high school aftercare facilities (next to the local high school) and are currently raising funds to develop the youth centre. As with the primary school facilities the centre's are constructed from Containers. The Youth centre will comprise of a Kitchen, a Library and study area, a E-learning centre, a Extra-mural activity for chess, choir, art and drama and a chill room and eating area.

How to get involved
@ Corporate sponsorship:Let your company donate or sponsor any of the above and receive a tax certificate. We are also fully BEE accredited. Aitsa! also welcome corporate team building activities where staff can interact with children or help with painting and gardening.
@ Mentorship Program: Join our team of mentors and be part of our big brother/big sister program for Gr 4-5. One hour a week
@ Reading buddies and Maths tutors. Small group facilitation. One hour a week.
@ Sponsor-a-child-program: Sponsor a child/ren for R300 per child per month and ensure that he/she gets a safe and stimulating environment after school.
@ Sponsor-a teacher program: Sponsor a teacher for between R3500 and R10 000 per month.
@ Sport coach: Join our variety of sport programs and give your input or start your own sport at Aitsa!
@ Cultural programs: Join our current cultural programs like art, choir or dancing or start your own
@ Counsellor: Weekly sessions of individual or group therapies
@ Donation: Please consider making a donation. All SA residence’s donations are tax deductible
@ Prayer buddy: Join our weekly onsite prayer group or become a prayer buddy for specific children and educatorsIn Conclusion

Aitsa! is growing and we are seeing the fruit of our model of change. We really believe that we are impacting not only the individual children and their families but also the greater community. We would love to partner with individuals or corporates who want to be part of this journey.

“It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it”- Nelson Mandela-

Contact details

Marietjie Steyn
Founder and Director
082 337 6242

Dwarsriver Valley Initiative
Skool Street
Kylemore Sports Centre
South Africa
Telephone: 27823376242
Registration #: PBO 930049404
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