The PEF program has been transition since we arrived. It will not be fully integrated with the new Self Reliance Program until we leave our mission in January, 2013
Often I have found PEF work to be frustrating and unfulfilling for the following reasons:
1. PEF is not well understood or supported by some priesthood leaders.
2. The educational system in South Africa negatively impacts many.
3. Requiring PEF applicants to be “temple worthy” eliminates the majority.
4. Transport is a problem. It is difficult for a PEF applicant to collect verifications.
On April 4, 2012 we met with the President Palmer of P.E. Stake and were told that they already had their program in place. He suggested that we help out by holding a PEF fireside for all youth in the stake. (Only one per year?) We took our power point PEF orientation fireside to each of the buildings after contacting the bishop or branch president in charge.
We conducted a Fireside in Kwamaxaki, on April 22nd; at Kwanobuhle 1 & 2 on April 29th; in Uitenhage Branch on May 2nd; in Cleary Estate Branch on May 20th. We followed up by contacting those called to teach the Planning for Success Workshop. We helped each unit get a workshop up and running. We attended as many workshops as possible, bringing sandwiches and substituting as teachers if needed.
We presented a fireside in Grahamstown on June 2nd. President Nye followed up with a Planning for Success class on June 28th,. Five students attended. No one attended a second class held on July 5th perhaps because the Grahamstown Arts Festival opened offering temporary employment for some. We presented a PEF Orientation Fireside in Knaisna on October 15th. A “Planning for Success” teacher was called. As none of the youth were age eligible, a workshop has not yet been held.
We spent the month of September in the East London Stake presenting six firesides in wards, branches and in a youth activity there. East London is on our PEF “to do” list. We were well received by Brother Human and the leaders. However, since Gary is paid by the church to promote PEF and process loans in East London, I felt that our being there was a duplication of effort. Still Brother Human invited us back in November to train Planning for Success teachers and suggested that we return in March., 2013 to conduct more firesides.
Approximately 25 people attended each of 12 firesides we presented in the P.E. area including youth, parents and leaders. We also sat in on seven Planning for Success Workshop classes. We brought refreshments and on occasion, substituted for teachers. Over 600 people received information about PEF through our combined efforts with various priesthood leaders.
“Planning for Success”
After the presentation of our PEF Fireside Orientation Firesides, we called upon Planning for Success Workshop instructors to start teaching their classes as soon as possible. Consequently, classes were held in Kwamagxani, Kwanobuhle 1 & 2, Uitenhage and in Cleary Estates, Port Elizabeth. No Firesides were held in Lorraine (no eligible youth) or in Port Elizabeth Ward. However, we did meet with several NYU students to discuss the possibility of securing PEF loans.
We presented a PEF Orientation Fireside in Grahamstown Branch on June 2nd. President Nye followed up with Planning for Success Workshop, class number 1 on June 28th,. Five students attended. A second class was to be held on July 5th but no one showed up. Perhaps because of the Fine Arts Festival which was held then offering temporary employment for some.
We presented a PEF Orientation Fireside in Knaisna on October 15th. A “Planning for Success” teacher was called though none of the youth qualified for PEF at the time. We have since received a request from a young man for a workshop there.
In January, 2013, we taught a Planning for Success Workshop in Grahamstown. However, neither of our two students passed Matric, and could not qualify for a PEF loan. Amanda Ntlanjeni is taking classes to make up for those she had failed.
Cape Town Visit
Since Cape Town Stake is also on our PEF "to do" list, we scheduled an appointment and met with President Malvern Ceders, councilor in the stake over PEF in Cape Town on November 17th. He told us that “the priesthood should drive this program but they don’t. That a senior missionary couple cannot do it themselves.” He told us PEF was implemented and he did not know how to use us. “
I shared these frustrations with our administrators Johannesburg during a February 6th Teleconference. Brother Khumbulani called back to say, “it hurt my heart”[to hear it.]
In tracking seven Planning for Success Workshops we found that, on average, six students began the class but only one or two completed. Of thirty-six students who certified and thus became eligible for PEF, five actually applied and received their loans. One cancelled in favor of a government loan. Five renewed to complete programs already in progress.
We have processed eleven loans as follows:
1. Nomkhita Cakata - Renewal - Healthcare/Medical/Social Services – NMU
2. Bradley Jarome Chamberlin - Renewal – Electrical Engineering at NMU )
3. Stuart Brian Chamberlin - Renewal Architectural Engineer at NMU)
4. Mawethu Dlepu - Three month program to certify for Fire Fighting.
5. Anele Kondile – Four-year social work program at UNISA University.
6. Unathi Mahaluba – Renewal for MBAY training – Computer Technician
7. Lunga Maxongo – Renewal NMU Engineering: Electrical
8. Noah Mkona – Driver’s License upgrade to Hazardous Chemical Driver – A six-month program. (Through PEF change, driver’s school is no longer covered by PEF.)
9 Sanelisiwe Viwe Ntsetha – Business & Economic Sciences at NMU – We spent a year trying to help her get a PEF. However, after the church paid 8,300 rand for tuition she cancelled. We are trying to get a refund.
10. Nancy Nthabiseng Rasi – Renewal Capsicum Culinary Studio – catering
11. Thozama Toise – Robin Trust School for training in Elderly Care - Nurse.
We have generated five new PEF loans and renewed six loans for continuing students. (Four of which are completing university degrees which have been discontinued. PEF has also discontinued funding drivers licenses. Elder S. spent many hours helping Michael Toise apply for a PEF to driving school. The application was turned down. Toise then applied to upgrade his welding certificate but that request was also denied as none of the the welding schools in Uithenhage near the Toise home are government certified.
Our assignment in Grahamstown will come to an end next week. I have been thinking about how I can feel more positive about PEF since that will be our primary responsibility now. I called Elder Blake in Johannesburg, for advice. He suggested we not conducted orientation fireside but present PEF informally in young adult Institute classes and other meetings. Elder Blake explained the upcoming changes.
We loved doing working in Grahamstown Branch but realise that these people need a couple who can be here all the time. We have enjoyed filling in until the Chases arrive. It was a wonderful experience for us. To quote President Nye, "Many are called to the Cape Town South African Mission, but few are chosen to serve in Grahamstown."