There was lots of excitement at the Bergsig DRC as approximately 170 guests (students, parents, staff, volunteers, donors and other friends) arrived for the bi-annual Fisantekraal centre for Development certificate & awards ceremony on the 22nd of June. All dressed up and very proud, students gathered for a cup of delicious home-made soup (made with love and care by a number of Fisantekraal centre volunteers) and freshly baked bread (of which the freshly baked rolls were donated by local PnP Graanendal store) before proceedings started.
In her opening words, Jane Gelderman praised the students for their commitment, perseverance and achievements. â€œWe know that being unemployed, simply getting to class every day, was often a challenge for many. We also know that the stretching nature of the different programmes often put you out of your emotional, spiritual, relational, social and intellectual comfort zones and that can be a tough growth process, requiring 100% commitment. Those of you sitting here today, stuck it out, persevered â€“ and today, we honour you for what you have achieved and for taking up this personal challenge and seeing it through to the end.â€
One of last yearâ€™s graduates, Nonka Dube, who is now a Training Intern and facilitates PC skills training at FCD, spoke to the new graduates about her journey before and after completing her course in Office Basics at the end of last year. â€œI came to class during the day and worked as a waitress at night. I dreamed of becoming an accountant. I had always seen myself as someone working behind the scenes, but Cheryl van der Merwe (FCD training coordinator) saw me as someone who could teach and support; and here I am today, talking to you, the students whom I taught. The spiritual development has been wonderful and I realise now that God works in mysterious ways.â€
The Frail Care course started last year with 4 students, awarded certificates to 8 new frail carers and is currently runnin
g the 3rd Frail Care programme of the year. This tough 12-week course is highly rated by the industry and many are being signed up as soon as they have completed the course. It was heart-warming to see the students receiving their certificates in their carer uniforms. Frail care trainer, Deliane Nel, left the students with the following acronym to remember during their career as carers : JOURNEY â€“ J for joy, O for obedience, U for ultimate sacrifice, R for respect, N for noble and neat, E for experience and Y for yearning to be more and improve.
The Bake for Profit course empowers students to earn an income from home, doing something they love. At the start of the course students get a kit which they can use to bake and sell from week 1. The business skills covered during the course can be very challenging, especially when English is not their first language.
isiXhosa speaking Ntshepeng Ntoa did not let this obstacle stand in her way and she consistently baked and sold out all her scones â€“ week after week. For some of the students getting their heads around the costing calculation skills was very hard â€“ but with persistence they managed to get it right. Ntshepeng was very emotional when she received the award for â€˜Most motivated to succeedâ€™ despite the obstacles she faced in these areas mentioned. Elaine du Toit (Bake for profit trainer) reminded the audience that the group of trainee â€œbakers for profitâ€ and their trainers become a close knit family during their time at FCD. A total of 13 Bake for Profit students got their certificates at theÂ ceremony.
The Office Basic course had 22 learners who qualified â€“ all looking very pleased with themselves. Last year, call centre skills were added to the course to help broaden work opportunities for those who complete the course. This course also includes a job shadowing period which opens studentsâ€™ eyes to the working world. Recently business communication skills have also been introduced to this course, with the generous help of a volunteer, Rhoda van Schalkwyk, specifically assisting the Afrikaans and Xhosa speaking students with their verbal and written English communication skills.
All students have to complete the Job Readiness course before they can move on to the Frail Care or Office Basics programmes. So there was great excitement among students who were receiving more than one certificate. A total of 88 students received certificates for successful completion of this course which ran 6 times between January and June this year.
No graduation ceremony is complete without special awards. Sunshine awards were presented to students chosen by their peers for being the most diligent, committed and supportive student in the group. Recipients were: Jean Pierre September; Terrence Terblance; Jaylynne Fredericks Jaylin Frederics; Jason Hoffman, Roseline Isaacs and Bradley Smith.
Another outstanding achiever was Eileen van Schalkwyk, all the way from Carnavon. After overcoming her initialÂ shyness, Eileen is extremely grateful to FCD and in her own words: â€œEk het so baie verander hier, en ek kan net vir almal dankie sÃª wat van my â€™n ander / beter mens gemaak het.â€ (I have changed so much and canâ€™t thank everyone enough for changing me to whom I am today.)
Wilhelmina Swarts also received a Most motivated to Succeed award. Wilhelmina was nominated this award for her positive attitude, perserverance and determination to succeed. As a sole (and unemployed) breadwinner supporting a daughter in tertiarty studies and grand-daughter, Wilhelmina preserved and utilised every opportunity to generate some income to keep â€œfood on her tableâ€.
Felancia Cloete who received a Frail Care award, has recently been appointed a permanent member of the Green Pastures Retirement Home carer staff â€“ more proof that embracing opportunities, being committed and working hard does pay off.
Final words form Jane were: â€œRemember, the tough journey starts now when you leave here to look for work. But always remember, you are now part of the FCD family and we will always be here to support, encourage and pray for you!â€