Stenden South Africa has an active Community Development Department, we work together with a wide range of community based organisations in the previously disadvantaged areas of Ndlambe municipality. These organisations mainly operate in the field of education, social welfare and business development. We see community engagement not as a mere add on activity that makes us compliant with government policies but as an integral part of the learning experience for both the community and students. Students involved in community work do this as part of their bachelor curriculum through a minor or placement. We organise and guide placements such as research placements for students being trained as social workers, arts therapists and primary school teachers. We also offer short term programs with the emphasis on field work to students through the following minors; humanitarian management assistance, entrepreneurship, and community development. We strive to:
- Focus on positive initiatives already started up by community members.
- Create a network of organisations and connect community initiatives with local government, academics and businesses throughout Ndlambe municipality.
- Let the organisations decide on what they need and place students accordingly to that.
- Never make organisations dependant on students or help from Stenden South Africa, but instead empower organisations
- Make our students instrumental in the projects by preparing and guiding them, offering valuable academic activities before and during their time in the projects. We encourage them to adapt an attitude that allows them to learn from their colleagues in the projects and to start building a good working relationships.
- New students also contribute their valuable knowledge and skills. Meaningful applied research will be one of our focus points for the coming years.
Organisations we work with
Most of the organisations listed below are independent organisations, and we are very grateful that our students are always welcomed here and able to carry out their projects. The organisations listed are a handful of the initiatives the students can work with. In addition to the community based organisations, we also work with scools, hospitals, clinics and local businesses.
Nemato Change a Life
Nemato Sports Federation offers a sport and empowerment program for disadvantaged youth in Nemato and Station Hill. The program is comprised of a multifaceted schedule consisting of 5 to 6 sports sessions per week (rowing, gymnastics, fencing and netball), 5 homework sessions (including meals homework support in basic math and English), our Presidents Award Program (skill development, physical recreation, community service and adventurous journeys), HIV/AIDS Awareness Program, study and career counselling, etc.
Robert Veenstra Entrepreneurship Center
The Robert Veenstra Entrepreneurship Center is a computer training centre in Nemato launched by Stenden South Africa. Students assist in basic computer skills training for those who have no access to and no experience with computers. Together with the centre’s manager Humanitarian Management students recently set up a basic computer skills training for school children. Apart from computer skills the centre is often used for consultancy for entrepreneurs and small businesses in the townships. Students are acting as business consultants, training and coaching the entrepreneurs, conducting research, and writing business plans.
Ingubo is a day care and development center for children and youth whose home situation is vulnerable which leads them to roam around the streets and the rubbish dump. Students assist in providing a safe and encouraging environment where the children are offered meals, daily activities, counselling, skills training, sports, and homework supervision. They assist the children in going back to school, assist in applying for birth certificates and ID books, team building/survival weekends and create a social support network.
Enkuthazweni is a school in the Nemato Township of Port Alfred that looks after mentally handicapped children. Sister Elizabeth (an Anglican nun) has worked there for several years and is, together with her team, looking after 30-35 children. Prejudice and fear about mentally disabled persons is still influencing people in the township. Hence, Enkuthazweni tries to decrease the effects of discrimination within the community. Since 2013 an outreach program has been carried out and care workers are assisting families with children that are handicapped. The most recent development is the implementation of a skills centre and together with the community the goal and purpose of the centre will be refined. Suitable skills training will have to lead to a better chance for employment for youth and adults, especially those even more disadvantaged by being physically or mentally handicapped.
House of Happiness
The main goal of House of Happiness is to improve the quality of life of the elderly of Nemato. Approximately 40 seniors of the township are being supported with this project, which is an old-age home and offers a day-care and an activity facility. Activities such as gardening, arts and crafts, walks, and fitness activities are offered on a daily basis in order to keep the elderly mentally and physically fit and to bring some variety and dignity into their lives. The elderly who are unable to come to the centre and in need of extra support are assisted by caregivers that can assist them with their medication, personal hygiene and assist in and around their own homes.
New Rest Crèche
New Rest Crèche is host to roughly 50 kids aged 1-5 on a daily basis. The main goal of the crèche is to prepare these children for school. Students together with the community have built an environmental friendly office next to the crèche. The crèche is located in New Rest – an area of NeMaTo where the residents live in non-permanent dwellings (shacks). Many of the residents have applied for RDP housing, but unfortunately they are still waiting to receive their housing. The shacks in which they live are made of corrugated iron and mud, as is the Crèche.