Every afternoon, the Mosaic centre transforms from a quiet office that houses our management team and the Made by Mosaic staff into our Afterschool Program Headquarters, full of laughter, games, and educational activities. This program, lead by a team of long-term international volunteers, provides assistance for the Mosaic children with homework, art, music and dance lessons.
Our afterschool program is a key piece of our orphan care model. Many of the children that move into our Mosaic community previously attended schools in the township where the quality of education is far below the level that we believe to be acceptable. In April 2015, the World Economic Forum Global IT Report ranked the South African education system to be 140th out of 144 countries, and last of all ranked countries in math and science. In one notable example, only 23% of South African Grade 6 mathematics teachers could accurately answer a Grade 6-level question. For schools located in the townships, this percentage fell to around 13%. This means that standards that will allow our students to pass through this education system, even allowing them to graduate from high school, are far too low for them to be competitive or even accepted at any South African university. We believe that all children should not only be encouraged and empowered to dream big, but that they should have the opportunity to do so without their circumstances holding them back.
One of the biggest ways that we measure our children’s abilities to dream big is to ask them about their dreams for the future. It is not uncommon for our children to believe that they have, at most, four career options- soccer player, policeman, teacher, or nurse. It is also not uncommon for children that have been living in our Mosaic community for an extended period of time to expand their horizons, and expand their list of future career choices. Suddenly, we begin hearing from them that they’d like to become pastors, scientists, zoologists, and authors, too!
A key portion of our afterschool activities is exposing our children to life outside of the township. Travelling even to nearby towns is a luxury reserved for people who can afford to do so. For this reason, we place a high importance on offering our children opportunities to explore the world around them, and our afterschool program takes many field trips every year. Whether it’s an evening out at the mall and the movies or a trip to the Johannesburg Zoo, we know that these are precious opportunities for our children to learn about the world them, and to encourage them to dream big.