Christel House Senior Raises the “Black Card” Against Poverty
Wanda Matshaya loves the open gymnasium at Christel House South Africa where she practices the sport (and art) of fencing after school every day with teacher and coach, Randall Daniels.
A senior at Christel House South Africa, Wanda is determined to escape poverty permanently. “In fencing, the judge raises a black card to expel a competitor when they commit a serious offense,” she says. “I’ve raised the black card against poverty and Christel House is helping me achieve my dreams!”
No one would expect to find a world-class fencer living in poverty. But Wanda, her mother and younger brother live in one of Cape Town’s government housing complexes. Her mother works at a fast food restaurant and struggles to supply even basic necessities. “Without Christel House, my family and I would live in defeat,” Wanda says. “I’ve studied at Christel House for ten years and everyone there has gone above and beyond to give me the tools I need to win in life.”
Wanda is one of 3,300 severely impoverished children worldwide receiving Christel House’s holistic program focused on eliminating the root causes of generational poverty— illiteracy, malnutrition, disease and lack of opportunity. Christel House learning centers provide a nurturing environment in which dedicated staff provide high quality academic education, character development, life skills, nutrition, health and wellness services, goalsetting, career planning and family outreach with one goal—to transform lives and permanently break the cycle of poverty.
Her strong spirit has inspired fellow classmates so deeply that the fencing program at Christel House South Africa has grown significantly. “Our students have seen that Wanda’s work ethic drives her success,” says Daniels, who introduced her to fencing through an after-school club in 2006. “She doesn’t have the same advantages as most of her competitors who pay for training with top coaches, but that doesn’t stop her. Wanda works hard and has earned the respect of her fellow fencers, coaches and the community.”