Through past projects and spending time with the children in non-academic areas of their lives, such as sport and recreation, Prochorus found that these children urgently needed assistance with their schoolwork, as well as an information centre to assist them with school projects. There was also a need for a safe place, where the kids could focus on getting their homework done.
Before we started, there was no facility in the valley that offered this opportunity to the children. Prochorus established the centre in 2012 and we strived since then to provide a safe, nurturing, fun-filled environment where children will be well cared for and stimulated educationally. Mentorship and life-skills are also one of the key factors to our approach.
The centre is equipped with 10 computer stations where learners can improve their computer literacy while doing their homework. Prochorus uses several online computer software programmes to assist the children with reading, numeracy, research and other skills. It is an important enabler for effective teaching and learning. Currently we have about 50 children registered at the centre, of which about half are Xhosa and the other half Coloured. On average we have about 25 – 30 children at the centre per day. The ages of the children range between 6 and 18, with a slightly higher percentage of primary school children.
Our programme runs weekdays between 15:30 – 18:00. The reason why the programme only starts at 15:30 is because the children only arrive with the bus from school at around 15:00. The programme basically consists of having a light meal, some fun time, intensive work time, pack-up time, after which they head home. Discipline forms a big part of our programme and we strive to have a positive discipline system which includes a reward system with small weekly rewards, bigger quarterly rewards and even bigger annual rewards, the latter for those who really worked hard and showed true dedication. We find that even some of the trouble makers cooperates when we implement discipline this way.
There is a constant focus on tracking the progress of each individual beneficiary by maintaining contact with their schools, parents and recording progress in their quarterly reports. Extra care is given to children who have difficulty with certain aspects of their work or perhaps a certain challenge in their learning capabilities. Every week there’s also a career education topic to help the children decide on possible future education and career choices.