Nine-year-old Caith leans in to look at the ABC for Life website on my laptop screen. She spots the photo of herself with Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and laughs. “The day I met Archbishop Tutu, he called me ‘Sweetie.’ I was so embarrassed I didn’t know what to say so I called him ‘Sweetie’ back!”
Caith lives in Hangberg with her family, having moved down to Cape Town from Zimbabwe when she was five. Her mom travels to Constantia every day to help her sister with domestic work and her dad is a builder/maintenance-type guy, something that came in very handy to support Caith’s passion in life. Her dream is to become a news anchor – “…just like Prajesh on TV. Shooo she reads fast!” But this takes practice, so dad built a small room on to their house where Caith can go to do her daily ‘newscasts.’ It has a chair, books to read from, a small desk and a mini-laptop for her research.
Just two years ago, Caith, then a Grade 1 learner at Sentinel Primary, was scoring a Code 2 for English; an achievement level of 30-39%. How could she learn and progress if she could not understand the language that she was being taught in?
In January 2012, Caith was selected for the ABC for Life English support programme – achieving just 13% in the pre-test. But she’s a dedicated and determined young lady, with a great support system at home. By November 2012 Caith passed her post-test with 85%! And achieved a WCED Code 3 for English in Grade 2. Not only had Teacher Gailyn helped her fill the gaps in her Grade 1 language ability, but she was now passing English at her Grade Level with 40-49%.
Caith started Grade 3 in 2013 with a sustained achievement level of 40-49%. We track all the learners that exit our programme so we checked in on Caith at the end of Term 3…and she is doing brilliantly! Caith is now scoring an achievement level of 50-59% in the WCED English Language assessments.
Mom and dad know how much she loves practicing to read the news – so every day when Caith gets home from school it’s first eat, then do homework and only then can she ‘go on with other business,’ disappearing into her little home studio.
We look forward to taking Caith to visit a TV newsroom as part of our newly launched mentorship programme and will continue to track her progress at school. Look out for this smile on your screens someday soon!
ABC for Life teachers work closely with a learner’s class teacher to determine who requires support in order to optimise their learning. Our targeted programme helps learners to progress in their language and maths skills, focusing on what they can do and building on that – always creating a sense of achievement and developing their self-confidence. To share in supporting learners like Caith, please consider becoming our partner. Click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org