FTG helps MathMoms empower women to become catalysts of change in their communities

As the old Chinese Proverb says, “it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”. Passionate about adding value to people’s lives, our purpose is to empower people from the inside, by strengthening their psychological capital (PsyCap), consisting of hope, optimism, resilience and self-efficacy, to take action and to change their circumstances.

The Klara Project is one way we are able to positively impact local communities, through supporting MathMoms, a non-profit organisation working with unemployed moms to create a safe place where children can become confident in maths and much more. “We are lighthouses in the community,” is how one MathMom touchingly describes their role. Elsies River, where the project is being run, is plagued by crime and many are victims of abuse. The impact of this on education levels in the area are startling, with the Grade 7 pass rate at a staggering 14,9% in 2014.

Through the Klara Project, we are able to help the women in this community become Free To Grow so that they can be equipped to touch the children they work with, in a life-changing way. The Klara Fund came to be after the tragic passing of a young Swedish philanthropist, Klara Ekuland, who always dreamed of partnering with Free To Grow in South Africa to plant seeds for a better future.

To keep this dream alive, we will continue to sponsor MathMoms, as part of our Corporate Social Investment, by providing training that develops skills aimed at improving quality of life. The Klara Fund carries the fee that facilitators receive for presenting the training. To date, this arrangement has made it possible for 28 MathMoms, in Elsies River, to attend the Free To Grow Lifeskills programme. The next four groups are already lined up to start the Free To Grow journey mid-March.

Spread over 4-days, the moms were taken on a personal journey to enhance their PsyCap by equipping them with knowledge and skills for self-development and management. During this time, they further explored practical ways to communicate effectively, develop healthy relationships, handle conflict and be assertive. “With this support, we are able to help underprivileged children and those who suffer a lot at home”, says one of the moms. While another shares that, “in our community, the children in surrounding areas are realising that we are people that they can come to”.

Free To Grow facilitators Fred Fourie and Efraim Oppelt, returned with many heartfelt sentiments of how resilient and inspiring these women are and how FTG Lifeskills has helped them along their journey to become catalysts of change in their communities.

FTG Lifeskills facilitator Fred Fourie with a group of MathMoms

Fred Fourie, one of the two facilitators, celebrating the completion of the programme with a group of MathMoms.

Free To Grow co-sponsors Lifeskills training for MathMoms

Bo and Sophie Paulson, the parents of Klara Ekuland, in whose memory the Klara Fund was started, visited the MathMoms in December 2017 to get a taste of this project. Their feedback was that they were humbled by what they experienced.

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