Scottish Charity Number: SCO36069

2nd January 2013

Harrison Dax Nash: Initial report

Home | Footprinter Reports | Harrison Dax Nash: Initial report

As I write this report, I am overwhelmed to think that it is almost 6 years since my first trip to South Africa, a trip that undoubtedly changed my life!

As an 18 year old I had always been set on a career in marketing; I had a University place in London and my life had been motivated by materialistic gain. Something in me told me that I had to broaden my horizons, and so in 2007 I set off on my first Gap Year experience, volunteering at a school and youth centre over in Port Elizabeth.

All I can say is that this experience, beyond all doubt, changed my life.

The picture Ive attached to this report is from my first trip all those years ago; it is amazing for me to think back (now at the age of 24) on how the pathway of my life took a whole new meaning from that point on.

I write this having subsequently returned to South Africa whilst embarking on a whole new direction in my lifequalifying in social work. I even set up a charity, Maranatha Care Children, to further support the projects I have been involved in. After I finished at University (in my hometown of Plymouth), I put my savings together and sold my car so I could be based there for the whole of 2012. I am now so blessed to be in a position where I can extend my work through 2013.

The year in my life that has just finished has been challenging, enriching, rewarding and consisted of many experiences I will never forget. I feel that it shaped me professionally and personally in such a way that is difficult to put into words.

I remain very fortunate to have two projects to be involved with, the first being Siyakatala Youth Centre, serving as a social worker and therapist (as I have also received additional therapeutic training focusing in play therapy), and the other being Protea Primary School where I continue to organise the English curriculum and assisting with the Grade 5 and 6 learners.

To give you more details about the projects, Siyakatala caters for children and young people receiving full time residential care. Currently they have 32 children from the ages of 4 to 18 years of age (with 12 girls and 20 boys) and also support those past the age of 18 through to adulthood and independence. Some of the children have never been to school when they come to Siyakatala (as many have spent time on the streets), and have all endured traumatic life stories before coming to stay at the centre. Their main aim is to uplift and empower those they support to fulfill their potential. An extensive activity programme incorporating therapeutic services takes place at the centre.

As well as my official tasks in a social work capacity, I will continue to be involved with the childrens homework, life skills groups, educational program and recreational activity, as well as assisting in covering for care-workers on my weekends when needed.

It is difficult to put into words just how much this project does for those they support (as they also have a centre for destitute adults and families); the management of the centre are an inspiration, and the atmosphere of team working allows us all to come together in helping fulfill each childs potential.

The second project, Protea Primary, is a school for traumatised children with behavioural related problems, from Grade R to Grade 7 (ages 5 to 14). It is joined to a place of safety (as the children have mostly suffered ill-treatment or neglect at home) where the children stay (being one of just 5 places of safety through the Eastern Cape), before either returning to family members or being moved to an established childrens home or youth centre. The children all receive their education at Protea Primary for the duration of their stay at the Place of Safety, which can be for up to 2 years.

The staff at the school remain dedicated to ensuring that whatever else has been taken away from these children in their short lives, they will not have their right to an education denied. They have provided a number of children from the Siyakatala Centre a formal schooling for the first time in their lives. Whilst there are several challenges alongside limited resources, the positive atmosphere shines through!!

The synergy between these projects also assists in making the experience even more fulfilling for me. At the start of the 2012, I began working at the centre with a young boy off the streets withdrawing from Class A drugs; I had to stop him from killing himself and at one point even pull him back from throwing himself off the side of a car park (at 12 years old). As well as facilitating his therapy program and giving him the full support he needed, I was also working with him in my class at school, and saw how his life was turned around; so much so he was even top of the class come the end of the year!

There are too many such experiences which have had a profound impact on me, and I am totally overwhelmed that I am able to be a proud Footprinter and continue on this journey through 2013. I do not yet know what this year will hold, but I already know I wouldnt change it for the world.

I look forward to keeping you all updated as my journey continues!  

© Hazel's Footprints Trust 2024 | Scottish Charity Number: SCO36069
Web design by Creatomatic
This site uses cookies.
ConfigureHide Options
Read our privacy policy

This site uses cookies for marketing, personalisation, and analysis purposes. You can opt out of this at any time or view our full privacy policy for more information.