Sonya Masoe

Sonya Masoe, MATES Programme Manager, was brand new to the role when the country went into lockdown in March. It was a challenging start to a year that will go down in history, but the MATES team finished the year in style with an epic Prizegiving and celebration held in rooms at Eden Park.

“It was a blessing even getting to have Prizegiving. After the second wave of Covid hit, we didn’t know if we’d be able to have it, but thankfully we did. We wanted to have a celebration for the students to say, ‘we made it’, where they could just enjoy themselves and celebrate their achievements,” Masoe says.

MATES Prizegiving 2020

“It’s been in the news, about so many Pasifika students dropping out of school to help their families. Many of our mentees are from Pasifika families. Our students are already from low decile schools, then with Covid they had extra pressure to help support their families financially, as well as juggling schoolwork and studying. We had a couple drop out during the year. It’s been a tough year for them.”

The worst thing about the year for Masoe has been the uncertainty.

“There were moments during lockdown where we felt so helpless, knowing how the lockdown was affecting the very families we were trying to serve. Our mentees needed more support than ever, but we were all locked down. With schools closed we couldn’t do much, but we still tried to find ways to provide support for our students.”

MATES Prizegiving 2020

Masoe says the MATES team really pulled together to support each other. “That was what got us through. We’ve learned a lot and if we are ever hit by a third wave, we’ll be much better prepared.”

For Masoe, Prizegiving was a chance for the MATES Senior mentees to come together and celebrate making it through the year.

“Prizegiving was great. The night was all about the kids - it was for their enjoyment. ‘Making it’ was worth celebrating. You can see in the photos how much they enjoyed themselves – when they arrived at the venue they were like, ‘Wow, it’s flash!’”

MATES Prizegiving 2020

Masoe is proud of her team of Coordinators and mentors, and especially proud of the mentees for making it through this incredibly difficult year.

“Commitment got them there. Commitment to school and to study against huge pressure. They needed to be honoured and recognised for what they accomplished.”

MATES Prizegiving 2020

MATES Senior Prizegiving 2020

MATES Prizegiving 2020

MATES Prizegiving 2020

MATES Prizegiving 2020

MATES Prizegiving 2020

MATES Prizegiving 2020

MATES Senior Prizegiving 2020

MATES Prizegiving 2020