WE NEED YOUR HELP TO SAVE OUR SPEECH AND DRAMA SCHOOL
Hello World! Our Speech and Drama School needs your help please! We teach 12 000 students across South Africa, from primarily lower income and underprivileged backgrounds at schools. We EMPOWER and equip our students with essential practical life skills and strive to boost their self-confidence, through our Speech and Drama program.
We are currently unable to pay our dedicated 40 teachers and 6 staff members, many of whom are single mothers. We have shut down, due to the Corona pandemic and South Africa's lock down and this vital program is not currently allowed at our schools.
We are passionate about what we do and what we stand for. We strive every day to MAKE A DIFFERENCE in our students lives. We are people who help others, but we desperately need YOUR help now. We are devastated that we cannot teach or be there for our students, who rely heavily on this program to give them hope. Please donate whatever you can to keep us and our program alive. A READATHON of children's books will be held on the 25th July 2020 for 12 hours, which will be lived streamed on YouTube and other platforms. You can also request or sponsor a children's book for the readathon. Please email: [email protected] for more info.
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My name is Isabel, I am a 35-year-old woman, from Cape Town, South Africa and I am the proud founder and owner of the “Isabel Byers School of Speech and Drama”. I began teaching Speech and Drama in my early twenties because I wanted to make a difference and developed an extra mural program. The program was aimed at children at primarily lower income schools and poverty-stricken communities. I tailored my Drama lessons to address social issues in their community, tackle the enormous challenges these students face and use Speech and Drama as a platform to teach essential soft skills to build up their self-confidence. I too, come from a lower income background, I faced many difficulties in my childhood and I truly believe that Drama saved me. This inspired me to take all the knowledge and skills, which I had gained and pay it forward. Word spread like wild fire about the program and before I knew it, I officially opened "The Isabel Byers School of Speech and Drama”, in 2014.
By 2020 our program was benefiting 12 000 students across South Africa, using Speech and Drama to empower them, giving them a space to fully express themselves; where they can be seen and heard and know that they matter. We teach skills in communication, public speaking, team building, leadership and explore a range of educational topics through our lessons. We also strive to improve literacy and instill a love for reading. But our lessons have become more than a Speech and Drama program to these children. They have become a safe place, a life line to the most vulnerable and the highlight of their week. We do more than just teach, we give our all to our students and we do our best to bring hope, love and support.
We are an independent institution; we are not government funded and we receive a small fee from parents to sustain us. We also sponsor many students and schools so that they too can do the program. Due to the corona pandemic and our countrywide lock-down, we have been unable to conduct our classes. Many of our students do not have the infrastructure in their communities, to access Wi-Fi for online learning. Therefore, our school has had to completely shut down, until we are able to relaunch and resume our classes. This has crippled us and the business financially. We are not able to pay our 40 teachers or 6 staff members at the moment. These incredible people are dedicated, committed, extremely hard working and passionate about the program. They give so much to their students and do everything they can to make our students lives better. We are all in a desperate financial situation and our futures uncertain and the fact that we cannot teach and do what we love is heartbreaking to us all. I am devastated by the prospect that this program will cease to exist, because we will not have the financial resources to relaunch and continue teaching our students. We need financial resources to survive, to be able to start again and until the program itself can sustain us again. Our only option now, is to ask for help while we wait to return to our schools. Please, please, please give whatever you can, no amount is too small and every cent will go to feeding our families (many of whom are single mothers) and keeping our heads above water during this time. We are the kind of organisation who don't ask for handouts, we make a plan, we find a way always. But now we have no choice but reach out to the greater community and ask for help so that we can survive and get back to doing the work we love.
For this funding campaign, I will also be holding a children's book readathon on the 25th of July 2020 for 12 - hours. This will be live streamed on numerous platforms including our YouTube channel. If you would like to request, dedicate and sponsor a reading of particular children’s book, you have the opportunity to do so. You will have to pledge a minimum donation of 100 dollars first, give the title and author of the book and if you would like me to read out a dedication. I will then inform you of the time during the 12 hour readathon, when I will be reading your request. For this aspect of the readathon, please contact us directly at: [email protected]