At the beginning of 2020 Axium was approached with an exciting opportunity to expand our programme offering in partnership with a neighbouring NGO, The Bulungula Incubator.
Mashiya Phithi, Axium Programme Manager, decided on the name Yenzokuhle for this new programme, which means do well. This speaks to the programme's focus on building skills in the basic Mathematics required for success in grade 8 and 9 learners as well as building learners’ hope, motivation and determination to succeed.
We currently work with 285 learners at two of our local schools. Lessons are taught weekly and facilitated by a team of six local facilitators: Zuko Sogoni , Zukile Luzipho, Sigqibo Phumputha, Akhona Phithi, Siphumle Mpisekhaya and Yonelwa Biko. Four of them are Axium alumni and three completing part-time studies in Bachelor of Education and one in Computer sciences. We work alongside public schools to provide teaching at the highest standards possible, preparing learners for High School Mathematics by building fundamental Mathematics understanding.
The facilitators conduct their sessions using Olico, a digital site that provides learners with great practice activities. Yonelwa says, “I enjoy the fact that we work according to the new trends. People use their cellphones and tablets for almost everything. By doing so, we are accommodating the learner’s preferences while doing maths and improving their skills. This programme has given me a great and enjoyable set of responsibilities, a whole lot of experiences and unending learning.”
As with any new programme, there was much to figure out in the beginning. New partnerships, a new team and new technology! In particular digital literacy was a challenge for our learners as many were not familiar with this style of teaching and using the internet as a learning platform. In many ways this was compounded by the disruptions of Covid-19. Just as the team was starting to get into the swing of things, schools were closed and it seemed like it would not be possible to reach learners…
However, the dedicated team of facilitators were able to collect the contact details of hundreds of learners and caregivers so that they could receive and engage in school work under lockdown. Remote learning was introduced and the Yenzokuhle team travelled from home to home to distribute low cost cell phones to their learners. By supplying weekly data, learners were able to access remote learning from home and engage with the Yenzokuhle tasks. Through Olico, whatsapp and weekly phone calls, the Yenzokuhle team managed to slowly increase the number of learners they were able to reach under lockdown. When learners were able to return to school mid-August, reach and engagement quickly picked up and the team was able to continue their offering.
When asked about their takeaways from 2020, Zuko Sogoni said, “The passion you have for what you do is proportional to the impact you'll have at the end. Yenzokuhle is so passionate and optimistic even in the hardest times like the COVID-19 pandemic.”
With this energy and attitude, the team managed to get through last year by living up to their name: do well!
While the opening of school has been postponed this year, the team has already gotten off to a great start, hosting holiday clubs and preparing for the year ahead - and whatever it may throw at them.
A happy one year anniversary to Yenzokuhle! After a challenging first year, we are excited to see this programme take off this year.
To read more about Yenzokuhle, click here.