This programme supports learner retention and educational attainment at five Langa high schools through training, financial and legal advice as well as support for at-risk learners such as home visits, counselling, career guidance and life skills.
The high number of social ills in the community of Langa make it difficult for learners to be motivated to continue with their schooling. The endemic poverty is highlighted by the prevalence of drug abuse and theft – and while in both cases the financial gain creates an unrealistic aspirational participation by the youth, it is also true that sometimes these are the only options available to provide for one’s family.
The challenge is to keep disaffected youth engaged and motivated to continue their schooling so that they can break the cycle of poverty and improve the outlook for themselves and their communities.
The reality is that by Grade 12, just 55% of 17-year-olds in South Africa are enrolled at school, and for those who are enrolled, absenteeism is a persistent issue – such that only 30-40% of these learners leave school having passed the National Senior Certificate and only 13% of learners who write matric finals are admitted to university. Even if tertiary education is not being considered, obtaining a matric certificate increases a learner’s chance of being employed.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) released data that indicate that South Africans consume 28.9 litres of pure alcohol, per capita, per year – the fifth-largest consumption rate in the world.
In addition to alcohol, other substances most abused by high school children are tobacco and cannabis. All three substances are associated with crime, violence, early initiation of sex, academic issues, absenteeism and drop-out, as well as mental and physical health problems.
Findings suggest that substance abuse will cause a learner to underperform at school; their learning capacity is affected negatively and in addition, they will experience learning difficulties, short-term memory loss, and suffer a lack of concentration.
A loving and caring parent or other adult can help a child succeed despite poverty and adversity. An important factor in providing a stable foundation from which a child can flourish is the presence of a responsive relationship with caring adults.
Our social and community workers assist caregivers to support their children and to develop strong, loving relationships with them.
Psychosocial support has been found to be a key component of many successful interventions aimed at at-risk youth. Children who are provided with psychosocial support show increased resilience and self-confidence and are able to make healthy life choices.
Their interactions with those around them, including parents, teachers and peers improve substantially.
Just Grace makes use of its own data management system and meticulously tracks risk factors and participation in interventions to prevent and respond to drop-out. Timely, accurate and complete data is key to preventing school drop-out and assisting at-risk learners.
Just Grace therefore works closely with parents, teachers, NGOs and community members to identify and act on learner risk factors.
Just Grace uses passionate social and community members to encourage, equip and empower parents to adequately participate in their children’s education, resulting in learners attending school and after-school programmes more regularly and punctually. This includes home visits, school campaigns and parent support groups.
We offer ongoing counselling to learners and their families to help resolve underlying issues and barriers that put them at risk of dropping out of school. Learners are provided with one-on-one and group life skills sessions where they cover themes such as resilience, communication, conflict resolution and decision making.
We offer computer training at all of the schools in order to prepare the learners for further education, training, and employment. The learners who attend computer training go through a six-week course of approximately 12-15 hours.
Improved learner attendance
Improved learner punctuality
Improved accountability by learners and parents
Increased learners’ access to psychosocial support
Improved learner results
Reduced school dropout rates
Increased levels of education
Increased levels of employment
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