“Every child has the right to protection, tutelage and discovery. This applies to every corner of our diverse Earth. With every donation, we can build a future for our children- a future that begins on South Africa’s West Coast.” – Simone Jacke, Founder of West Coast Kids. The registered South African children’s aid organization West Coast Kids (registration number WCK IT300 / 2009) was founded in 2009 to help under-resourced and impoverished children on the West Coast of South Africa. “Those who hope to provide sustainable help in South Africa must understand the socioeconomic dynamics inherent to the country. Our programs focus on the region and its indigenous resources. They offer the children a future that is both tangible and attainable.”
Educational Programs: Education should be a fundamental right for all children. Unfortunately, for Children allover the world, including in Paternoster, the reality is different. Lack of access to basic resources for a livelihood and indescribable poverty present life-long consequences to those most affected by this. Although the children in South Africa do have the opportunity to attend primary school, many of them do not take advantage of such an opportunity due to circumstantial conditions and values. The conditions are dire: Far too many students, from young ages up, are expected to gather in severely crowded classrooms with poorly paid teachers. This results in lowered attendance rates due to demotivation and an education structure that shows clear evidence of overwhelmed and inadequate conditions.
The result: Many children pre-emptively abandon their school education and discover the job market as extremely limited in absence of a basic degree. Rather than attending school, they are expected to contribute to the financial wellbeing of their families by finding minimum wage work. When they reach adulthood, too many turn to alcohol, drugs, and harmful substances to escape the vicious cycle of poverty they were born into; substance abuse and dependence has direct ties to acts of criminality, abuse, and violence. These are the words that describe the paths of life of our children’s parents, neighbours, and mentors. These are the examples they witness and mimic. We cannot bear witness to an entire generation’s potential being drained and looted so violently by the structures of poverty, racism, illiteracy, and abuse that they are faced with every single day,” said Simone Jacke.
Throughout the past eleven years, West Coast Kids have sponsored an additional teacher for the local St. Augustine Village School; this alleviates the school’s costs, as well as the load of students allocated to all other teachers.
Nature Explorer’s Program: “Our Nature Explorers project aims to expose a selected group of Paternoster’s children to the natural world in and around their hometown. While learning about the environment, they are taught nature photography skills by an experienced professional, Ron Moller, a nature photographer and a certified National Geographic educator, donating his time. This project is in partnership with YELA (Young Explorer Leadership Academy). Through this exposure to nature, the goal of the Nature Explorers project is to instill a sense of empathy and responsibility towards the respect and stewardship of nature (fauna, flora and wildlife). While Paternoster’s children grow up close to the beach and their families depend on the natural world for their livelihood through a fishing income, their day-to-day lives revolve around spending time in their township, with tendencies towards entertaining themselves with littered plastic, unhealthy foods or criminal behavior often born out of pure boredom. Our hope is to provide an alternate way to spend their free time and stimulate their curious minds by cultivating nature ambassadors that are proud of their connection to the environment and its wonders. They may go on to discover work opportunities or hobbies that develop this connection further and that ignite a curiosity for the history of their own roots, which includes one of the earliest tribal hunter-gatherers that lived along the coast they call home. With environmental movements becoming increasingly inclusive of youth groups, our Nature Explorers program opens the door to a passion for protecting the environment and connecting to a global youth movement.”
Health: Health is synonymous with life itself and the quality by which it is honoured. Our concept is loud and clear: On-site practical help. We help ensure that the children on the west coast can grow up healthy. On the one hand, doctors from Germany support us voluntarily. On the other hand, we help to improve the living conditions of our children. Sustainability is at the forefront of our mission to achieve this. For the eleventh time, ten volunteer dentists from Berlin come to Paternoster to provide dental care to all children in the village. The project is a great success and the children’s dental health has improved enormously and measurably. Two years ago, we started an eye health project because our students suffer from poor eyesight (due to, in many cases, drug and alcohol abuse during young mothers pregnancies, FAS). Because of their eyesight limitations, the children result in performing extremely poorly in school. With the support of amazing sponsors, we were able to equip our children with eyeglasses and now have trustworthy statistics, which show that 20% of the children suffer from severe visual impairment. One case that touched all our hearts with warmth was a young boy diagnosed with 16 diopters. Upon receiving his eyeglasses he saw a future for himself he could have never imagined.”
Girls Power: “Together with the ladies from Harley Davidson, we work with the girls in Paternoster to show them that potential sees no gender limitations. This initiative teaches girls tools for self respect and personal esteem. It provides them with the opportunity to develop beyond their circumstances. Barriers caused by gender inequality and the belief in limited options for their future are preventing many girls from going to school and developing the skills they require to start a career, to access decent work and break out of poverty. Some of these female mentors have grown up in similar circumstances and are the most authentic role models we can wish for. The passionate, ambitious women role models from Harley Davidson provide a platform for growth as well as a beacon of insight to the lengths and depths that being a woman does not suffocate, but broaden perspectives and opportunities,” Simone Jacke concluded.
West Coast Kids contact details:
Mobile: 082 092 5418