My grade one struggles with Mathematics, what now?

Nobody doubts the fact anymore that there is a crisis with South African learners’ bad performance in Mathematics. There are however a lot parents can do from an early stage to ensure that their children succeed. Solidarity Helping Hand’s School support centrum (SOS) has the following tips for parents with children in the lower primary school grades.

According to a study done in 2008 by Naledi Pandor, it was determined that Grade 3 learners achieve an average of 36% for literacy and 35% for numeracy skills. This is clearly indicative of Mathematics problems manifesting at an early age.

According to Hugo Vermeulen of the SOS, parents are sometimes hesitant to help their children because they are not confident about their own Mathematic skills. “The most important thing is that children must have fun. When children associate Mathematics outside the classroom with fun they will also have a positive experience of the subject inside the classroom.”

Here are a few games to consider:

Count on

The “Count On” game aims to teach children that they should start at the biggest number when they do addition. For example, ask the child to calculate 4 + 2. He/she must then hold up four fingers of the one hand and then two of the other hand. The child must then count to four and then to six.

Count back

One of the most important numeracy skills is to remember Mathematical facts quickly and accurately. The simple fact that one number comes after the other is an important factor in the child’s success. Let the child count to ten and then backwards from ten to one.

Card game

Let your child deal ordinary playing cards to a number of “players”. The repetition teaches children to count accurately without using their fingers of paper.

The dice

Throw a dice and let your child count out the number on the dice. You can later on use two dices if it becomes easy to count to six.

Hide and count

Use a known number of coins and keep a few in your hand to hide them. Place the other coins on the table. Your child must then count how many he sees and how many you have hidden in your hand.

The guessing game

Write a number between 1 and 100 on a paper and hide it. Your child must guess what the number is. When he guesses, guide him with the words “more” or “less”.


Write down the numbers 1-12 on a piece of paper, one for you and one for your child. Take turns to throw the dices and cross out the number of the dices on the paper. The first one to cross out all 12 numbers wins. This teaches your child how to count to 12 and to recognise numbers.

The SOS was founded in 2012 and the organisation believes that poverty can be conquered by investing in training and education. It starts when the Grade 1 learner learns to do sums. The association already has more than 1 000 members and offers subject support to Afrikaans Mathematics teachers or any person with an interest in Mathematics.

For more information on this association, please contact Hugo Vermeulen at 012 644 4390 or send an email to [email protected].

Poor students must build up, not break down

Four students who received study loans from Solidarity Helping Hand’s Study Fund Centre, have proven that one does not have to turn to destruction when there is no funds to study. Leon van Rheede van Oudtshoorn, Dewald Brummer, Darren Vlotman and Nathan Smith formed a group which wanted to make a positive contribution to their community.

The four students from the University of Pretoria, who themselves did not have money to study and had to apply for study loans, launched a project to the advantage of needy learners.

The students had to perform 40 hours of community service. After an extended search they decided to contact Mobile Library Solutions in the hope of supporting needy schools with a library.

The grandmother of one of the students, Mrs Dottie Brummer, contacted the owner, Mr André Venter, to discuss the students’ project and without hesitation, he donated a mobile unit and 200 books. He later extended the donation to a unit with capacity for 500 books and further donated a 40 inch television, a DVD player and 25 DVDs. The value of the donation is approximately R75 000 and can be placed at any needy school.

The needy school which was selected is Laerskool Ebenhaeser in Krugersdorp. The school serves a suffering community in need and does not have the necessary funds to upgrade their dilapidated and unbelievably out of date media centre.

“We felt that a school like this where a part of the learners are dependent on donations by churches and other institutions in terms of food during the day, deserves this donation,” Van Rheede van Oudtshoorn said. “I visited the teacher who heads the library and she told me about their financial difficulties. According to her, the children are very enthusiastic about reading, but the school is not in a position to satisfy the children’s need with the existing infrastructure.”

The group of students have already delivered the unit at the school at the end of 2015. The unit with 496 books and 25 DVDs has already made a big difference in the lives of the children.

“The unit is wonderful,” says Mrs. Jordaan, head of the library. “Our children enjoy it a lot. And it is the most beautiful, beautiful books.”

The Solidarity Helping Hand Study Fund Centre has paid out more than R31 million as interest free study loans to 1 240 students. In 2015 a total of 3 000 applications were submitted and in 2016 a total of 4 002 applications for financial aid were received.

According to Dinah Theron, head of the Helping Hand Study Fund Centre, 84% of the 4 002 applications are meritorious cases. “It breaks my heart that we cannot assist all these students. There are excellent candidates who deserve to further their studies and who can contribute to society with their competence. But the need is just too big – we cannot provide for all.” Theron is of the opinion that the establishment of study funds by private individuals and institutions are becoming more and more important to look after deserving cases.

Individuals and institutions, who are interested in establishing such funds, can contact Theron at 072 126 1158 or send an email to [email protected].

Let’s break the cycle of poverty in Queensburgh

We all love Queensburgh. It is a community with a rich and diverse culture but unfortunately, poverty is increasingly becoming a challenge. However, things are about to change with the help of community players that see the potential of local assets.

Solidarity Helping Hand’s Pinetown branch, along with the NG Churches in the area, will host a workshop to get like-minded people together to start thinking in a productive manner. The workshop will take place at the Malvern Children’s Home on Saturday 5 March from 10:00.  Points of discussion will include innovative ways to use community assets to assist community members.

“This community has so many assets that are not used to their full potential to challenge poverty,” said Marthie Maritz, branch manager of the Helping Hand branch in Pinetown.  “A few roleplayers have come up with the idea to develop and connect these assets. We want to invite fellow community members and organisations to attend the workshop. It will be a blessed opportunity to make a positive contribution to our community.”

In 2015, Solidarity Helping Hand implemented more than 1 100 projects, thereby drastically changing the lives of thousands of impoverished people. Helping Hand plans to launch even more projects in 2016 in order to prevent and alleviate poverty.

People who want to attend the workshop should contact Marthie Maritz on 072 377 4267 by 19 February 2016 to assure participation.

Together, we can build a community of excellence!

Solidarity Helping Hand makes R625 000 available for drought relief

Solidarity Helping Hand today announced that a sum of R625 000 has been made available for drought relief among farmers. This consists of an initial R100 000 in the form of vouchers for purchasing food and an amount of R525 000 made available to the Disaster Area Study Fund.

Helping Hand Chief Executive Dr Danie Brink confirmed his organisation’s aid to the drought-stricken farmers. “Helping Hand is deeply concerned about the humanitarian crisis among our farmers in the countryside. We are providing support through TAU SA’s branches in the form of R100 000’s worth of vouchers for purchasing food after a needs assessment has been done. The Helping Hand Study Fund Centre has also paid out R221 000 in study loans to the children of farmers for the 2016 academic year. We are currently processing applications from farmers to assist their families further with the remaining funds.”

Brink confirmed that when Helping Hand requested assistance during the strikes in Rustenburg, farmers responded with fervour. “Farmers are a mainstay in South Africa; they form an integral part of our country’s economy and they play a key role in food security. It is in their nature to be the first group of people to react when someone needs help. Solidarity Helping Hand and the farmers in South Africa go back a long way. In times of major humanitarian challenges such as the suffering caused by the AMCU strikes in Rustenburg in 2014, farmers transported 150 tons of food themselves to people in need, or they distributed food through Helping Hand’s channels.”

Helping Hand praised the Solidarity Movement’s initiatives to tackle the drought. “Although this aid is, of course, merely a drop in the ocean, we believe that aid will bring relief if all the organisations, in their respective domains, reach out to the farmers,” Brink said.

Helping Hand encouraged other institutions to make contributions since the crisis will have a drastic impact on the country’s food supply, and is likely to affect the pockets of consumers as well.

Assist our farmers in their time of need. SMS “farmer” to 38969 and donate R10 to the fund, or deposit money directly into Helping Hand’s account.

Solidarity Helping Hand
Bank: FNB

Account Number: 62 331 445 503

Branch: Centurion (branch code: 250 655)

Reference: Boer

Tour 21: World class training opportunity for schools

On 26 and 27 January teachers in Gauteng will have an opportunity to experience some of the best professional training in education when the Support Centre for Schools (SOS) will host dynamic afternoon seminars. The seminars will focus on the professional development of all Afrikaans speaking teachers, but especially of Maths and Afrikaans Mother Language teachers. The afternoon seminars will be held at Hoërskool Waterkloof.

The SOS seeks to support all high school and primary school teachers to enable Afrikaans schools to continue to exist and to remain world class educational institutions of world. During 2016, the centre will visit 21 towns and cities throughout the country as part of Tour 21 to share information with teachers and to offer hands-on training to them.

The afternoon seminars will focus on among others: Office computer training in Word, Excel and PowerPoint, while training in the Afrikaans Spell Check programme, Wspel, and the use of technology in the classroom and exposure to apps developed by Helping Hand (especially for the Foundation Phase) will also feature.

Content-specific Mathematics training, focusing for example on Fractions, Relations and Symmetry as well as on GeoGebra will also be on offer. GeoGebra is a dynamic software package that is an indispensable tool for the Maths teacher.

Training for Afrikaans Mother Language teachers will also be presented and will focus on assessments (with tips on how to deal with assessments quickly and creatively), discussions of the prescribed works for Literature and it will include tips for setting and marking Literature papers.

Kobus Neethling Brain Profile analyses will also be done as part of the seminars to assist teachers to be successful whole brain teachers. The seminars offer practical techniques as well as didactic suggestions for teachers to practice in their professional and personal life.

A leadership session aimed at school principals, deputy principals and departmental heads will also be on offer. It provides a forum where principals and senior staff can draw on the knowledge and experience of former principals in order to find out what efficient principals do differently that allows them to be that efficient; how to deal with difficult parents; and to discover just how important professionalism is in education.

Also at the seminars learners will be able to undergo psychometric testing at very reasonable prices and will receive training to manufacture or build apps.

The cost of attending the seminars is R100 per day. Members of the Society for Afrikaans Mathematics Teachers (VAW) and of a society for Afrikaans Mother Language teachers (GeRAT) may attend free of cost. Visit for more detail.