When school holidays hit we often find children in the streets running around, and sometimes even running into trouble because they have no access to productive holiday programmes. This is why Kwa-Thema based non-profit organisation, Iso Lembongi Creations, is committed to providing platforms to empower the young and aspiring artists in South Africa.
Iso Lembongi Creations focuses on establishing projects in previously disadvantaged communities such as rural areas and townships across the country. “We establish different projects that focus on children and youth, but our main focus is on children because they are neglected whilst they are our future leaders. We need to help shape them and help them shape their future,” says Buhle Thaba, co-founder and deputy chairperson.
The purpose of the school holiday programme, named Fun Arts and Fun Play, is to keep children off the streets during school holidays by exposing them to the vast art world, where they are able to easily express themselves through a combination of learning and fun.
This year’s first programme, to be held on March 26 to 28, will be the project’s third edition. The first edition took place during June holidays last year at the Kwa-Thema Library. To conclude the project, the children were taken on an educational trip to EKFM where they had the chance to see and learn about how a radio station operates.
The second edition was during the October holidays of 2018, at the Al-Yaseen Musjid in Langaville Ext. 8. The children whose parents signed consent forms for their participation, were taken on an educational trip to learn more about the importance of conserving the different birds that can be found at Blesbokspruit Wetlands Reserve in Springs.
The project is back in Kwa-Thema this month, where this time children will enjoy story time in their indigenous languages. “We are encouraging them to read children’s literature written in their mother tongues, so as to improve their vocabulary in their own languages instead of the constant focus on English. We also encourage parents to read books to their children,” Mrs. Thaba states.
The co-founder believes that language is linked to one’s identity, which is why the organization is committed to instilling the love of reading using the children’s home languages.
The programme will include word games involving spelling competitions, word building and prize-giving for correct spelling and word knowledge. Other activities include face painting, drawing and colouring, and crafting using dough and clay.
“Our platform is free but we rely on donations from community members who appreciate this initiative. Thus far we have funded the programme from our own pockets, with the exception of our first ever sponsor, Xulu Driving School, whom we would like to thank for sponsoring our organisation and other projects (sic),” expresses Mrs. Thaba.
The project is in need of meals to cater for the children as well as more volunteers to assist in running the programme. Parent consent forms are available at Kwa-Thema Family Skills Centre – corner Job Maseko and Thema Road.
“I would love to see this project being hosted on a daily basis during school holidays instead of the current 3 days. The fewer days period is a result of lack of resources; we therefore urge local businesses to sponsor this project so we can reach our goals,” adds Mrs. Thaba.