98% of the children who have entered the programme are alive and healthier. Considering the very difficult living conditions of these children, this is an achievement by itself. It is only in 2007 that we registered the first death among the children we care for. And today, it is a total loss of 14 children we mourn.
But perhaps, our biggest achievement is the reintegration of the children into their surrounding community.
All children are now back at school, and although the standard of learning is low, we achieved a 78% pass rate in 2013. Thanks to our support in terms of school fees, school uniforms and meetings with teachers, our children can now enjoy their schooling as any other child.
The reintegration into the community is also achieved through our aftercare centres and the networks created around the children. The communities have now taken charge of their orphans and can offer them a real sense of belonging. The many volunteers working on the ground are a living example of the strength and resilience of South African communities. We also welcome on a regular basis young international volunteers sent by the international NGO AFS (American Field Service) who spend at least six months in our communities, and whose role is to liven up our care centres by organising educational and leisure activities for the children.
In twelve years, we have managed to strengthen the eight rural communities we are working in to the point where each sponsored child is supported in a holistic manner. Their basic needs being met and surrounded by love, our children can look forward to a future!
Children of the Dawn now has 14 students registered at tertiary levels, and our first 3 beneficiaries have found employment. We are expecting our first student to graduate this year. A full cycle of care and support will have then been completed, with this young lady being the first in her entire family to move past Grade 10: the result of 12 years of continuous support and encouragement!