Our programmes offer holistic responses
to the educational needs of our beneficiaries
SAEP’s aim is to offer a holistic experience to children and young people to prepare and motivate them to become confident and well-educated independent adults who can support their families and contribute to communities. Our programmes intervene at three critical phases in the educational journey:
Foundation phase - Early Childhood Development (ECD) and Primary School - to
prepare children for education
2. High school phase to broaden learners' life experiences through exposure to stimulating educational and environmental excursions, and life skills workshops, to prepare them for high school
3. Post matric programme - Bridging Year and Tertiary Support - to prepare students to succeed in higher education and support them to suceed in their tertiary studies.
These programmes are supported by our Impact Centre which is responsible for research, monitoring and evaluation, knowledge management and sharing.
We supplement our educational offerings with common themes that cut across our programmes including: psycho-social support, environmental awareness, mentoring, community service, arts and the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls.
SAEP understands that training and academic support alone is not enough for the children and young people with whom we work. We know so many of our beneficiaries face major personal, family and social challenges, which need to be addressed, or they could negatively impact their education.
For example, at the Foundation Phase we include modules around self-care and awareness for ECD staff, training them to be able to pick up when children are facing problems at home and to refer appropriately.
Our social worker provides counselling and support to all beneficiaries (and their families) as needed, and referrals to appropriate social services. We run support groups with Bridging Year students to help them develop self-awareness and confidence, positive coping mechanisms, realistic goals and motivation.
SAEP started out as an environmental organisation so the environment will always be an important aspect of our work. We strive to include environmental awareness and action through all our programmes in a variety of different ways.
Our ECD centres are encouraged to start vegetable gardens if they have the space to do so, our primary children have environmental themes incorporated into their reading programme and go on outings to introduce them to animals and nature.
Our high school, Bridging Year and Tertiary Support students go on hikes, camps and beach clean ups to raise awareness of environment issues and to introduce them to careers in this field. In addition to teaching learners about the environment, we also use these activities to develop critical thinking skills, resilience, healthier lifestyles, self-awareness and a broadened view of the world.
Empowerment of Women & Girls
Gender based violence and child abuse are major problems across South Africa. Our beneficiaries are particularly vulnerable so we focus on the empowerment of women and girls in all programmes, and include the themes of gender equality, sexual and reproductive health, gender based violence and child protection.
Our hope is that as these children and young people grow up they will become positive role models for others, who are able to engage in healthy non-abusive relationships.
We have a very comprehensive Child and Youth Protection Policy to which everyone working or in contact with our beneficiaries must subscribe.
All our Bridging Year students participate in voluntary community service at projects of their choice. This gives them positive experiences of being able to make an impact in the lives of others, rather than just being passive recipients. Community service also provides an insight into the world of work and a range of career choices.
Many of our alumni go on to start their own service organisations to meet needs in their communities.
Throughout SAEP we recognise the need for good mentoring and support. Without it, training for ECD staff is often wasted as they struggle to implement learning effectively.
The children in our school programmes and students in our post matric programmes need positive role models and guidance to support them in negotiating their education journeys.
SAEP used to run a separate arts programme for high school students including dance, drama, visual art and music. These activities are now incorporated into all our programmes wherever possible to foster imagination and creativity.
By focusing on these non-academic life or soft skills we hope to develop well rounded and resilient young people who can survive the many challenges they face without falling into unemployment, crime and depression.
SAEP encourages and equips young people to stay in school and to identify the career paths they wish to follow in life.