We hope you and your families are well and looking forward to celebrating the holidays. We pray that you stay safe as the number of Covid cases in the U.S. continues to increase. We have seen a sharp rise in the number of cases here in South Africa in just the last week and pray we are not entering a second wave. We are thankful there is no evidence of the virus in the communities we serve. International travel is now open with negative Covid test. However, there is not much travel expected until a vaccine is readily available.
December is not only the end of the year, but it is also the end of our school year and the beginning of our summer break here in South Africa. We miss being in the U.S. for our usual December visit and seeing everyone. This year we will be spending the holidays together in Ballito. We'll have to make do with sand and waves instead of snow and your smiling faces! It was great to see everyone last Thursday on our Phillp and Clive Live! Zoom call. If you were unable to make it, the recording is available to watch below.
Kya Sand At Kya Sand, 30 students graduated from grade R (kindergarten) and will be going on to 1st grade. As you can see in the photos below, graduation is quite the event, with the learners in the caps and gowns provided several years ago by the South Africa Impact Group. The caps and gowns are then carefully packed away and stored by Elizabeth at the end of each year's graduation. Just having them to wear is such an honour for the families, and we are grateful to be able to provide them. Each graduating student also received a certificate and a backpack with some supplies, crisps, candy and a toy.
Our end of year party in Kya Sand had a magician, a photographer, a giant blow-up jump castle for the kids and a lovely catered meal for the families, about 150 people in all.
In Ndwedwe, we had eight students graduate from the Waterfall preschool. They will be heading to the adjacent Waterfall school for grade R next year. Mrs Myeza held a lovely party for them where they all received certificates. Then all three preschools came together at Waterfall for a fun and exciting end of year party - also with a blow-up jump castle, backpacks and a lovely meal for all the families, with nearly 100 people attending.
Soweto This week there will be a Christmas Party for the children at the feeding program in Soweto. Something we have been involved in for 27 years - before we were officially Build the Future. Again, this is so important to the community we are serving there. There will be 150 backpacks with treats, toys, and supplies given out at this event alone. Fire Extinguishers Update We used our end of year parties to hand out the fire extinguishers purchased with funds from the Fire Extinguisher Campaign. We gave out 168 fire extinguishers to all of our preschool families and staff in both Kya Sand and Ndwedwe. We also provided them to our kitchen staff at all our projects. Below, Elizabeth from Kya Sand gives a demonstration on how to use them - just another example of how you have helped us provide for the people we serve. The families were so grateful to receive them.
Soccer Balls Update A quick update on the Soccerball Campaign - we were able to order 100 soccer balls! Just this month, the balls were delivered to our partner in Cincinnati, Afrika Adventures, who gratefully has the warehouse space to store them. They will begin sending them over with trips as soon as trips resume. Christmas and Year-end Giving
We are super excited to have been a part of Crossroads Christmas Gift Drive this year. You can still support Build The Future during this Christmas Season by going to buildthefutureusa.org/christmas. Looking for a last-minute gift? Donate in honour of someone! When you give, you also receive an e-greeting or print-at-home card to which you can add a personal message, making your gift even more meaningful.
There is no doubt that God has used you to provide for us and those we serve throughout this unprecedented, unexpected year of a pandemic, with no teams, lockdowns and food shortages. To you who felt called and gave, who continue to give, we are so grateful. And we are not the only ones.
For those of you who make year-end gifts, Build the Future USA certainly appreciates your consideration. If you have questions or need more information about giving by check, donating stocks or need information for an employer matching gift, please contact Susie Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 513 484 1676 (text, call or Whatsapp).
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Please stay safe, and keep in touch, Phillip & Clive
Thank you for your continued support of our mission!
And as always, If you would like to provide financial support, please go to buildthefutureusa.org