TODAY   |  April 02, 2015

Mom vows to help ‘miracle’ South African kids

American mom Beth Masters and her son Jake started a non-profit organization to help children growing up in Dikatole, a violent, drug-dominated area of South Africa. Their goal is to get the area’s top students into private boarding schools. NBC’s Ron Allen reports.

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>> now to one family's summer vacation leading to change for kids facing a very bleak future. ron allen has the story.

>> reporter: the squatter camp is a nightmare of a place to grow up. the children, many of them orphans, are the reason beth master who is the kids call auntie beth , keeps coming back.

>> if we don't get them out they're not going to survive.

>> survive?

>> it's that bad. the drugs, the violence.

>> she came to south africa 7 years ago with son jake for a family vacation and to work on jake's high school service project, delivering toys to orph orphanages.

>> we wanted to come in and give toys out and leave. we never thought we would come back.

>> hey sweetie. how are you?

>> now she is back for her 22nd visit and counting. she runs a small mom and son nonprofit that works with with a nursery and after school center, an oasis amid all that surrounds it. when the children were as young as three, masters made them a promise.

>> the promise was do your best in school, stay out of trouble and we will be here to shake your hand at your high school graduation.

>> okay. yesterday we worked on your application.

>> reporter: her goal is to get the best and brightest away from here. into private boarding schools. she has 13 on track so far.

>> andrew's big interview is coming up on friday. give him a round of applause.

>> what do you see in these kids?

>> miracles. i see little miracles .

>> reporter: masters work is backed by several friends and relatives that committed to help put the children through school.

>> if they go to school hungry, they leave hungry.

>> reporter: and when they can, some make the journey to south africa .

>> i'm happy to be part of your local.

>> reporter: she mentors wayleen williams.

>> this is giving a child a chance to thrive and it's priceless.

>> when i grow up i want to be a nurse.

>> that was her a few years ago. now at age 11, the first of the children to get into a private school .

>> my dream is to finish university in united states .

>> she is a great girl. i'm so happy for her. she is out of here.

>> reporter: 22 trips later, after a school project to give away a few toys, auntie beth is giving as many kids as possible a chance.

>> i made them a promise and i'm not going to back down on it.

>> reporter: for today, ron allen , nbc news, south africa .

>> that's a pretty big promise to make and she is delivering on it.

>> what a great lady.

>> great story.

>> when we come back, florida georgia line and nelly performing live on the plaza. we'll hear their hit singer, the song of the summer, and then nelly is going to do some of his old favorites.

>> all of that coming up