Update December 2018

St. Joseph’s Preschool has received steadily increasing support from TIAS ARMS for staffing, food, educational materials, transportation for the children, and food. The school serves a highly vulnerable population of little ones. In addition, the staff work within the community to educate parents and to provide assistance to other agencies. As you can see, below, TIAS ARMS grants are the difference between open doors and a closed school.

Dear Anita, Joanne and all at TIAS ARMS,

We can’t thank you enough for the continuing commitment you are making to those in need here in South Africa. I told the staff yesterday that whether or not we open for 2019 will depend upon the subsidy from TIAS ARMS – and this morning I received your email supporting St. Joseph Preschool and all our connections with Khazimula, Superbugs, Willows, HIV/AIDS Support Group, etc. It is a gift to be able to represent all of you for the sake of people we are privileged to minister to. I can’t tell you how grateful I/we are.

Sister Peg O’Shea

————————————————————————————————————————————————————

An update from Sister Peg O’Shea, June 2018

All is going very well at St. Joseph Preschool (Year 20)! Roshni Singh (head teacher) and Mavis (Grade R teacher), in addition to teaching, are doing wonderful outreach to preschool families who are very poor, and they are also working with a group of 20 poor neighbours who are suffering from HIV. Nishi is doing a great job preparing the little children for Grade R. I have never met people like the teachers at St. Joseph’s. Their capacity for charity is boundless; they give of themselves although they themselves have so little. They treat me like their Mum or Grandmother. It is humbling.

St. Joseph Preschool has slowly become a hub for outreach to the poor and to people suffering from HIV. Having poor children at the preschool helps the staff to see which children are hurting more than others: in need of food packages, clothing, transport assistance, support from a social worker and/or HIV intervention for family members. We are able to give the children one hot meal and a snack during the morning hours that they spend at preschool. One Saturday a month a volunteer and two staff from preschool, Roshni and Mavis, meet 20+ patients with HIV for a four hour session in Mavis’ yard (very cold winter) to check their health, have tea and lunch, discuss the challenges of living in a poor township without means for dealing with multiple challenges, including transport to pick up ARVs, food to keep up their health, understanding from neighbours, quiet desperation, etc. The project is so successful that there is a waiting list for new members.

Outreach has become an integral part of our programme.

Keep in mind that all of the staff at St. Joseph’s live in a poor township or farm. They have no independent transportation to school. Their children cannot find work. They do not have rich relatives to support them. The preschool pays modest ‘salaries’. The staff live in faith (Christian and Hindu) and focus on giving to others all that they can. They are such an inspiration to me. And none of this would be possible without TIAS ARMS. We are all very grateful for your presence here.

———————————————————————————————————————————-

Hi, Anita and Joanne,

Just a note to keep you in the loop. All going so well at St. Joseph’s Preschool and at Khazimula. The computers at the preschool are wonderful. As I told you before, the children could move cheese, mushrooms, broccoli, etc. from the sides of the page onto the pizza crust by using the mouse after ONE lesson! I think they are born with computer genes and lots of practice on their
Mum’s cell phones.

Pam is also very happy with funds to buy books to read 4 times per week to the children. It is such a success. Sometimes the children even call me “Auntie Pam.” No one reads to them at home and it makes both groups of children (Grade R and the little ones) feel successful. The playground has never been better. Everything is shaped up and we are having our annual
Sports Day on 19 May. The staff will cook curry and rice and serve cake and tea to all the children and parents.

As you probably know, times are tough here; fewer children are able to pay; but we are still able to make things work. The kids are fed well; transport for a few is made available; and some children are taking food home when we have enough. Sadly, one of our little girls was attacked recently; but we were able to get assistance from a social worker for the Mum and child. They are getting on-going counsel from a new centre in Howick.

We couldn’t be more grateful to you. I am not exaggerating when I say that our preschool would have closed ten or more years ago without you and your donors.
Gratefully,

Sister Peg O’Shea