Volunteer teaches children during lockdown

Raashied Davids, Grade 3, is one of the children Farieda Abrahams assists with school work.

A teacher’s assistant from Hanover Park has taken it upon herself to ensure children in her community don’t miss out on academics during lockdown.

Farieda Abrahams is a tutor volunteer at Reading and Writing Solutions, and a teacher’s assistant at Parkfields Primary School.

Ms Abrahams is aware that many of the families in her community cannot afford data costs and do not even have access to computers or smart phones, and she did not want the children to miss out on valuable learning. She received resources from Reading and Writing Solutions, an Athlone-based non-profit organisation, which assists children who struggle with reading. They also train volunteers how to assist the child.

Ms Abrahams is already well-known in her community for the after care work she does with the children during normal school hours. Most of the children in Halmans Walk, where she lives, know her.

“I love to work with children. I was introduced to Reading and Writing Solutions when I was working as a teacher’s assistant. The school enrolled me for the training, and what I have learnt has made such a big difference. It helped me to help the children. My 20-year-old daughter, Kawthar Davids, also helps me. She is also a teacher’s assistant,” Ms Abrahams said.

The activities in the books keep the children busy and off the streets. For now, Ms Abrahams gives them instructions on what to do, so that they can do their work at home. Some of them even sit on the staircase of the block of flats where they live, when the space is limited in their homes.

Ms Abrahams knows all too well the challenges of a low-income home. She herself is a single mother, who is also raising her late brother’s four children. She prefers to look at the positives though.

“God won’t give you something you cannot handle. It might look difficult for people out there, but I make it easy,” Ms Abrahams said.

She thanked her two mentors, Jeff Paulse, the founder of Reading and Writing Solutions and teacher Saadiq van der Schyff, for helping her on her journey.

Said Mr Paulse: “Ms Abrahams is an excellent example of one of our many very committed, dedicated and capable volunteer tutors all over the Cape. During lockdown, they are able to share their literacy skills acquired at our training workshops, in their homes with their children, grandchildren and in even in their neighbourhoods, while maintaining the required physical distance.”