"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord...
Knowing for sure that the Lord is always faithful and knowing that He loves all His people has helped Susan in her walk. A teacher by profession, much like her mother, Susan Muirhead was born in the coastal city of Durban in South Africa two years after her brother. At age 10, her family relocated to Pretoria. After completing her studies at TUKS she then moved to London, her father's birth place, well close enough. Her father, a Quantity Surveyor, was actually from Bristol.
It was whilst she was there in London that she met her husband who turned out to be not only South African but also a Durbanite. In 2012 after spending 11 years teaching in London, Susan and her family, which now includes two boys aged three and four, moved back motherland.
She came to know the Lord at the age of 21 while she was doing her Post Graduate Teachers Diploma. She met a girl (who is still her best friend today) who was a Christian and through her example she realized that she had something special that Susan knew she wanted, Jesus. She has always loved working with children and has a passion for teaching children to read and God has used both of these things for where she is today. She has always had it in her heart that she wanted to work with underprivileged children, but working in London she was not living this out.
When they moved back to South Africa they started attending Urban Edge Church in Durbanville with her husband’s parents. Susan knew about the organisation called Won Life that is linked to Urban Edge and knew it was something that she would love to be involved in. She had been thinking of ways to stay involved in Education without going back into full time teaching but with having a young family, she wanted to be around for them too. She was planning on working towards bringing a phonics programme they had used in London out to South Africa as teaching a child to read is a gift that can never be taken away. Then one Sunday there was an advert on Church news that Won Life was looking for someone to set up their new Literacy Centre and Susan just felt the Holy Spirit nudge her to apply.
Susan feels that it was a God appointment as the hours fit perfectly with her children’s school times and she still gets to spend holidays with her boys, which the Lord knew was her desire. But most importantly, the Literacy Centre has allowed her the opportunity to establish a place where underprivileged children come to learn to read and write!
",,, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future."
What Susan knows for sure is that the Lord makes a way where we feel there is none. He is the provider and He will never leave us.
Susan says: "We see the extreme poverty the people in Fisantekraal are faced with daily and we know we need to show them Jesus' love everyday and we need to be the Lord's hands and feet on the ground."
Won Life is a registered non profit organisation (NPO) working in the community of Fisantekraal, just outside of Durbanville. We have worked in this community since 2002, delivering services in the areas of health and education.
Won Life believes that the future of our country is largely determined by the quality of education delivered to our youth. With a good education, children have the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and carve out a preferred future for themselves and their families.
As we continue to impact and influence children's lives, we will see the development of responsible and active citizens.
The Won Life Early Learning Centre is our Flagship Project:
The Won Life Early Learning Centre started as a basic day care facility. Many young children who did not attend crèche would gather at the Fisantekraal Clinic, the first of Won Life’s projects. In 2005, we employed ladies from Fisantekraal to look after these children and provide them with basic care at the clinic. We quickly realised that there was a need for more formalised Grade R education in the community as there was none. This led to the building of our current school. In 2007 we registered as an independent Grade R preschool with the Western Cape Department of Education and continue to enjoy a wonderful working relationship with them. With each year, we have gone from strength-to-strength. We now boast a very successful, well run facility providing an excellent standard of education to 120 children each year.
The core purpose of the Won Life Early Learning Centre is great Grade R education. Our programme is first and foremost an excellent academic facility. We provide a unique service to a community that would otherwise have no access to Grade R education.
Our preschool is, however, far more than just an institution following a basic curriculum. We aim to supply a holistic education providing stimulation and enrichment to children in every sphere of their lives.
The Won Life Literacy Centre is one of the programmes that we have recently started:
The Won Life Literacy Centre was opened in May 2013 in converted and renovated shipping containers on Trevor Manuel Primary School’s premises. This programme aims to improve the levels of literacy by providing one-on-one intervention by trained volunteers who encourage the children and build their self-confidence as they learn to read and write in English.
At the Literacy Centre we fulfil the First Additional Language criteria from the CAPS curriculum. In order to do this we have partnered with two NPO’s based in Cape Town who have both had proven success with their reading programmes. For our Grade 1 programme we have adopted the Word Works Early Literacy Programme and for the Grade 2 and Grade 3 programmes we have partnered with The Shine Centre. Both of these programmes follow the same format and include the 4 different elements we include in our hourly sessions: Paired Reading, Shared Reading, Have a Go Writing and Games. Each child attends 2 sessions a week and the sessions last for an hour.
Our Literacy Centre Programme is completely volunteer based. We have volunteers from all walks of life who give up an hour or two out of their week to come to the Literacy Centre to support the children through our specific Early Reading Programmes. All our volunteers receive training on the Early Reading Programmes and are given the opportunity to observe a few sessions before they are placed with a child. Volunteers are placed with one or two children in order to give the children the individual attention they require and often don’t receive in their large classes.
In order to ensure we are giving our children the best possible grounding in the English language, we keep the same children on the programme from Grade 1- Grade 3. We have chosen to work with a smaller group of children with an emphasis on quality rather than quantity. Because we believe in delivering programmes of an excellent standard, we choose to start small and grow our capacity in a controlled and sustainable manner. Once our programme is established and the curriculum perfected, we will look at increasing the number of children we offer this service to. The children are assessed at the beginning of Grade 1 to determine which children will join the programme. Those who qualify are then assessed twice a year after that with a control group who do not attend the Literacy Centre in order to measure the impact we are having at the centre. We currently have 40 children who attend the Literacy Centre each week- 20 Grade 1 children and 20 Grade 2 children.
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