At the heart of a good education lies a good curriculum. Curricula make the greatest impact on students when educational content introduce values that help student become forward-thinking adults who utilize constant learning and self-confidence.
We think that our Banking on Our Future curriculum doesn’t just work by teaching facts to children about financial management. In part, Banking on Our Future students benefit the most from the relationships they form with dedicated HOPE Corps volunteers, who pass on their values of self-respect and their progress-minded orientations to students. On the other hand, the Banking on Our Future experience imparts new values onto volunteers, who watch the power of growth and learning make an impact right before their eyes.
We’ve been working all summer to not just to teach facts about money management to South African high schools, but to shape the experiences of volunteers and students and encourage the growth of self-respect, hope, and dignity.
While American students enjoyed the summer sun throughout this past August, the 41 students (Grade 10) from Progress High School, one of the Banking on Our Future hubs in the area, braved the cold South African winter to financial literacy from Sanlam volunteers. “It was a day well spent” said Tshepiso Sibisi, a Sanlam volunteer,” and I can’t wait to do more of it”. Tshepiso, along with Ntsikelelo Mzibomu, are two of the many Sanlam employees to bring their wisdom and attention to high school students in the area.
The personal impact of their experiences was profound. While attending a Banking on Our Future certification ceremony in Oval North High School in the Western Cape early this September, the honorees and volunteer celebrated their work with testimonies and songs. The following letter was written to the Principal and Grade 11 students of Oval North:
“As I undertake this life changing journey, to complete one of the pillars of my faith, I commit to spend a moment and ponder on the blessing of having had an opportunity to share some of my life lessons with Grade 11 D.
For Mrs Buckinjohn, I shall say a prayer to honour her commitment to the learners, so selflessly every day, for it cannot be easy to return each day with such commitment and passion, against such difficult circumstances.
For the Principal, I shall say a prayer in gratitude for loving each child as individuals and for encouraging the learners to excel and aim for the stars.
For the teacher fraternity, I shall say prayer for the continued commitment and creating a vision of a better future for all the learners and the surrounding community.
For the Grade 11D learners, I shall say a prayer of hope,
I shall ask God to provide them with an infinite amount of knowledge to be successful in the exams now and in matric.
I shall ask God to remove the obstacles from their lives and that they may be successful in all their endeavours.
I shall as God to protect them every day of their lives and that He guides each step which they take towards a happy and blessed future.
I shall ask God to grant them wisdom, to make the right choices and lead them to the best that they can be.
I shall ask God to instil in them a self-belief, and a sense of “I deserve it”, therefore I shall go for it, because God created me to be loved.
And lastly to the organizers of Operation HOPE, I shall say a prayer of thankfulness, gratitude, and admiration for the courage to take the message of HOPE around the world.”
With knowledge that our work brings a deep sense of pride to students at South African high schools like Progress and Oval North, it was a pleasure to watch new volunteers get trained at Kenmere Primary School. In the last week of September, 729 students at Kenmore will be educated about financial management with the help of the new volunteers.
Banking on Our Future is looking forward to the coming months as we watch the program’s capacities grow, Thanks to the 24 newly qualified teachers at Kenmere, we now have the ability to reach more students in the area without sacrificing the quality of the Banking on Our Future experience.
As we work with schools that embrace lessons of dignity, we are growing confident of our program’s capacity not just individual students’ lives, but a new generation. The Banking on Our Future curriculum has proven to be more than just a bulleted list of fact to throw at youngsters, but more of an experience that leave lasting impressions on children and encourage smart choices for the future.