I Gave A Year And Was Rewarded With Hugs

By Faith Marira

I am proud to say that I spent a year serving at Tshebedisanong Primary School, in Central Western Jabavu. I joined City Year South Africa to give back to my community, because I am passionate about community development and helping children.

For most people Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s are ordinary days, but for me those are the days I spend serving at Tshebedisanong. City Year taught us at the beginning of the year that we can make a difference, even if it is only to one person. In our case making a difference meant helping children with their homework, smiling at them, playing with them and being role models.

A young girl in my grade 6 class never misses the City Year Children’s Club, because she says she loves having fun with the Service Leaders, as well as reading. Ever since she joined the City Year after-school programme she is at the top of her class, and dreams to be a social worker when she finishes school. “City Year is the best” she says. “I love my facilitators, sister Faith, brother Earl and brother Sandile. They always help us with our school work”

Sibongile brings joy into my heart. Every time she sees me before class begins, she runs up to me and HUGS me. Month after month has passed and every time I see her, she runs up to me and gives me the biggest hug she can. I’m touched by her love. All I’m doing is helping these kids with their school work, and Sibongile has given me something I never expected, a warm and genuine greeting every time she sees me.

I learned this year, that it is the little things that change our lives. City Year South Africa taught me about the ripple effect, and Sibongile showed me the ripple effect – the true spirit of Ubuntu. I’m grateful to City Year for giving me the opportunity to have met the children from Tshebedisanong. Children like Sibongile. I gave a year and I got a million hugs. Something that I never thought could happen to me.

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One thought on “I Gave A Year And Was Rewarded With Hugs

  1. Sometimes I come to your blog just to read stories like this one. It re-inspires me as a Program Manager in Columbia, South Carolina to work harder and give it all I can. I love that City Year is able to have such a big impact on children in South Africa!

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