With the help of an ABSA donation, Marieta Groenewald, a farmer’s wife in the Free State town of Clocolan, purchased some of SmartBrain’s reading and mathematics programmes and requested SmartBrain to train some of her school’s teachers. Marieta Groenewald, founder of the Lethoteng Community Centre, who successfully implemented many charity projects, converted an old warehouse and outbuilding into a classroom school. There are no flushing toilets or electricity. Because the need is so high and there are no qualified teachers available, teachers have to be trained to offer proper education, says Groenewald. Two of SmartBrain’s facilitators, Mr Brand van Dyk and Ms Celia Albasini van Dyk trained three teachers and the principal at the Imla Guest House, just outside Clocolan, for four days this month. The teachers’ task is great because, although many of their learners are teenagers, they have not mastered the basic skills of reading and mathematics. Some of them are 14 years old and have never even held a pen. The SmartBrain facilitators quickly found out that the Lethoteng School is a place for volunteers. It was told to them that 106 children attend school every day because they want to. Ten people work at the school, also because they want to. There are no salaries. The teachers support the school as volunteers because they love helping these children. They are unemployed people whose only reward is the progress that their learners make. None of them are qualified teachers, but they share their basic knowledge out of love and dedication so that the children can learn to read, write and do sums. The pupils of the centre are street children, orphans, victims of drug abuse and beggars. Crime for many of them will be a logical step in the battle for survival. They are the Free State’s unwanted children. Some of them are the children of prostitutes from Lesotho who never registered their children. As a result they cannot go to school anywhere else since no South African school wants to accept a child without a birth certificate. Until recently, these children were nameless citizens of a no-man’s land without hope. It is a great privilege for Worldwide Literacy and SmartBrain to be involved with such a project. Because the SmartBrain programmes are so logical, with detailed lesson plans to equip the teachers, we could feel the excitement in their tone and responses during the learning sessions. Finally, there is a programme, that they believe can make a great difference in these children’s lives. SmartBrain is confident that these discarded children will quickly make progress with the help of their programme. It has been proven over and over again that a good phonetic basis helps a child with reading, spelling and writing, regardless of the environment in which he or she grows up. As soon as a child starts reading, their vocabulary expands which helps them to read with greater understanding. Thanks to ABSA and Marieta Groenewald for their foresight in giving these disenfranchised children access to a more meaningful life.