Vol­un­teers give schools a help­ing hand

Cape Argus - - NEWS - Yolisa Tswanya

OVER 300 vol­un­teers will take on their big­gest build­ing project to date as they ren­o­vate three Khayelit­sha schools.

Mel­lon Ed­u­cate vol­un­teers from Ire­land and the UK will ar­rive in Cape Town this week and work on the schools un­til Sat­ur­day.

They will build at Sosebenza Pri­mary School, which has 1 350 pupils. They will add five classes, a play­ground and shel­tered ar­eas. At Usasazo High School the vol­un­teers will build a kitchen, a sports field, an out­door gym and shel­tered so­cial ar­eas. Sobam­bisana Pri­mary School will re­ceive a sci­ence lab, a class­room, kitchen and play­ground.

The di­rec­tor of ed­u­ca­tion for the or­gan­i­sa­tion, John Cur­ran, said they were metic­u­lous in choos­ing which schools needed as­sis­tance.

“They were iden­ti­fied as schools where over­crowd­ing is an is­sue and they were in need of ex­tra class­rooms.”

He said the class­rooms would be com­pleted this week.

“Last year we built at one school in Khayelit­sha, and this year we are hop­ing to ex­pand and do more next year. The feed­back from the schools has been pos­i­tive and they were de­lighted that they are get­ting it so quickly, oth­er­wise they would have been on the wait­ing list.”

The ini­tia­tive was started by Niall Mel­lon in 2002 and the or­gan­i­sa­tion has built 25 000 homes for over 125 000 dis­ad­van­taged South Africans.

Cur­ran said the or­gan­i­sa­tion changed its fo­cus from hous­ing to ed­u­ca­tion in 2008 and at the end of this year’s Build­ing Blitz, Mel­lon Ed­u­cate hoped to have reached 14 schools.

Chief of ed­u­ca­tion for Mel­lon Ed­u­cate, Der­ick Pe­tersen, said that for two years af­ter the new build­ings, he and his team re­mained and as­sisted teach­ers to help bet­ter learn­ing.

“We are a team of 12 and we also have so­cial work­ers and a com­mu­nity li­ai­son. We must not be stingy on sup­ply­ing re­sources and man­power to schools.”

Pe­tersen went from be­ing awarded as the best high school prin­ci­pal in South Africa in 2013 to work with the or­gan­i­sa­tion to be able to reach more pupils.

“In 2013 we worked with an­other NGO at Ukhanyo Pri­mary in Masi­phumelele and since we started there the Grade 3 maths pass rate went from 16.1% to 40.8% and in lan­guage it went from 37.8% to 66.4%.

“Once you sup­port a school and help teach­ers and give them strate­gies on how to teach smarter, then the con­tent will be bet­ter assimilated by the pupils.”


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.