Twenty-six small children are colouring. Khethiwe, their teacher, leans over a girl’s shoulder, steadying her little hand and speaking in soothing tones. 45 minutes later, the children have had a snack, sung together, listened to a storybook and are carrying their pictures out the door. Khethiwe calls, “Goodbye, see you tomorrow.”
The Simunye class got its name around the time the afternoon children’s ministry started ten years ago, when the little boys and girls chose a word that means “we are together – we are one” for the program. Today, many of those first children are youth and young adults who look back on their afternoons at the Seed of Hope Centre as times that shaped their confidence and their understanding of God’s love for them. Many visitors from Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom have been profoundly touched by this ministry as well, and left their mark here in Bhekulwandle in return. After six years at the Seed of Hope Centre, later this month Khethiwe will teach her Simunye class for the last time. She and her husband, Robert, have felt God’s call to open their lives to a newborn boy, Hlalefo (Wisdom), and provide for him a family he would never have had otherwise. Khethiwe will stay home to raise him and their two daughters.
Perhaps the greatest sign that Khethiwe and her fellow Simunye teachers have made an impact is what will happen next: 18 year-old Mandisa, a product of the Simunye program herself and recent high school graduate, will take over the class from Khethiwe! What an incredible reminder of the potential in each child!