Going back to school

  • Philani Stacy-Leigh

Last year, our OVC team identified a 16 year old orphaned girl, Emihle Yola, who is currently living with her older brother. She was previously attending school in Mitchell’s Plain but since her mother’s death, she had been unable to pay the transport fees to go to school and had also not paid school fees.

As a result, she dropped out of school when she was 14. She was too fearful to speak to her teachers about her situation and scared that they would be angry that she couldn’t pay her school fees.

Nomvuzo, one of our OVC fieldworkers, spent time with her, explaining that she had nothing to be embarrassed about and that it was important to tell others of her situation so that they could help her.

Because the school in Mitchell’s Plain is far from her house, the team decided that it would be best for her to get a transfer to a school in Khayelitsha. On the first day of the school year, Nomvuzo accompanied Emihle to her previous school to obtain a transfer letter and then went to find her a school in Khayelitsha. As many of the schools are incredibly full, they were reluctant to take Emihle, but after four attempts, we were successful in placing her at Usasazo School.

We then assisted her in obtaining a school uniform and stationery and have been following up with her regularly to see how she is doing at her new school.

We have also helped her brother obtain a child support grant and apply for a foster care grant to assist them with living expenses. Nomvuzo has also been advising her brother on how to spend the money so that it lasts for the month and he doesn’t need to get into debt.