A note from our volunteer, Karline Rose

It was rather undecided what I should do with my gap year before furthering my university studies. However, a life changing opportunity arose and I find myself reaching the end of this experience at the Hanne Howard Fund, Lenana. It is here in the Lenana slum that I have worked as a volunteer for two months helping to educate and interact with the children from such a needy and great cause.

Upon arrival at the Hanne Howard Fund, the first thing that struck me was how warm and welcoming the staff was. Open and interested to the fact that I had been brought up in South Africa, I began to tell them countless stories of ‘The Bafana Bafana Country!’ I noticed that despite the harsh conditions and lack of sophistication and modern facilities, each little face smiled and seemed utterly content with life. It is through and with these people that I taught music, assisted in teaching the Tiny Tots Mathematics and English, played soccer, braided African hair for the first time, shared Kenyan meals and learnt to appreciate the simple things in life.

The Hanne Howard Fund had 16 recorders donated to them a while back. I therefore used these together with my piano knowledge to teach music to the older kids on Saturdays. Music, in the words of Plato, gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, light to the imagination and life to everything. I thoroughly enjoyed my interaction with these teenage pupils and although they and I differ in many ways, music proved that we are the same in heart and spirit. I am sure that they will continue to progress musically with the help of the staff members to whom I also taught the basic skills.

What impressed me profoundly, too, is the level of teaching in the Tiny Tots department. No parent, no matter what culture and level of society could ask for much more than the foundation and love that these kids receive through the program. Everything is done to see that they are exposed to a variety of medias and academics to ensure for a balanced base before beginning with their big school journeys. I congratulate the staff on their level of commitment and enthusiasm and remind them that their work is helping to remove the ceiling above these children’s’ dreams…there are no more impossible dreams.

Before I came to the Hanne Howard Fund, I felt rather identityless. I wasn’t entirely sure what it meant to be a UK born English and French speaking South African from a Belgian mother and a Zimbabwean father. I have learnt so much about life by being in a foreign place and I thank the staff and the children of the fund for an eye opening experience and a Cinderella ending to my gap year. And to the special children that I will never forget, I pray for great things in your lives. A famous poet once said that poverty is the stepmother of genius. I wish geniuses out of you all.

Karline Rose

Volunteer 24 May to 24 July 2009

This post was written by
Comments are closed.