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Sweetening the deal for Spelling Bee achievers

On December 10th, thirty talented children who have proven their spelling prowess will attended the Gala Dinner of their dreams, thanks to Bacha Ba Dichaba Explorers and leading Fibre To The Home (FTTH) provider, Vuma.

The glittering ceremony, which took place in Daveyton, celebrated kids from across Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg South who’ve shown their communities that you don’t need a dictionary or Google when they’re around. This is a well deserved opportunity for these talented youngsters to showcase the benefits of their hard work and dedication.

The children also participated in the spelling bee competition that took place in Lesotho on September the 24th, an event created by Bacha Ba Dichaba Explorers, a non-profit organisation that focuses on social development for around 50 schools. The organisation helps kids develop life skills through career mentorship, educational support, teen parental training, maths development, female empowerment courses, spelling bees and more.

Thabang Lichaba, CEO of Bacha Ba Dichaba Explorers says, “The inspiration for this came from a competition I attended in 2014. I was disappointed by the lack of representation for local community primary schools, so I worked on a way to make it work for the kids we work with. I basically wanted to create Akeelah and the Bee for South African schools, so we started one. The kids loved the idea and now take part as much as the available resources will let them. What’s more, the parents love seeing their kids perform.”

Seeing the work Lichaba was doing, Vuma recognised the opportunity to add value and help to bolster this exciting competition in any way they could, thanks to their commitment to supporting upliftment programmes across our country’s communities.

Taylor Kwong, CSI Manager at Vuma, says “Education is the backbone to a bright future for the leaders of tomorrow. Children in underserved communities often feel unseen, so being able to sponsor this was an opportunity for us to live our brand promise and add enormous value to this admirable initiative. We were blown away by the abilities of these children to tackle spelling of complex words, and believe that this opportunity is well-deserved.”

Vuma’s sponsorship includes funding the event, medals, and stationery packs for the 30 learners. Additionally, schools that fall within the Vuma network will also receive free 1Gbps fibre internet as part of Vuma’s Fibre to Schools programme, as well as access to free educational content with SplashLearn.

Bacha Ba Dichaba Explorers has been hosting spelling bees for children in primary and secondary schools since 2014. Starting as a competition among 6 Primary schools in Etwatwa in Ekurhuleni, the programme has since grown into a nationally recognised event. Earlier this year, the 24 best learners travelled to Lesotho to compete against the best spellers that the country had to offer.

Each of the children, aged 11-16, being awarded at the Gala Dinner put autocorrect to shame, distinguishing themselves across a variety of competitions. Some of the words they had to spell to win include:

Pulchritude
Prestidigitation
Merovingian
Luxuriance
Autochthonous
Xylem
Psoriasis
Carmagnole
Pterodactyl
Hypertrophic
Xanthosis

Kwong concludes, “When we saw some of the words that these kids were able to spell, as well as understand the definitions of, in an attempt to keep up with them our team pulled our phones out and spending the next 20 minutes Googling these words – and seeing the complexities that these kids have a firm grasp of further reinforcing the remarkable and deeply impressive abilities of the spelling bee members.”

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