Since 2009 I have engaged myself with the topic of township schools in Cape Town. My
friend Roseline who has been a crèche principal and voluntary social worker for the
past 20 years in Mandalay (a township near the Cape Town airport) draw my attention
to the bad conditions at schools in Mandalay, Mitchells Plain and surroundings. At
the beginning all the reports about the school system were unbelievable stories to
me until I spoke to teachers, parents, students and school principals.
Classes of 50 pupils, demolished windows and doors, drug gangs and
teenage-pregnancies accompany most children and teenagers in daily life at schools
in underprivileged areas.
I heard stories of pupils not being allowed to take school books at home. Let alone
borrowing them to read and study at home. Children whose parents didn’t pay the
annual school fees were excluded publicly. They were not allowed to join school
trips or events. School reports were hold back or students even got dismissed from
school for outstanding amounts, all this hardship because of 30 EUR in Primary
School or 70 EUR in High School.
The so highly praised school food didn’t exist at many schools as principals thought
it was too much paper work to apply for bread and peanut butter – the two only
groceries that are provided from the government for free). Other school directors
sold food that was donated to their schools by supermarkets like Woolworths to
supplement their low income. Due to this fact some children were starving and so
exhausted at noon that they fell asleep during class.
These reports shocked me so much and I couldn’t let go of this topic any longer.
Since then I am working on my project NO MORE EXCUSES which means no more excuses
why children can’t go to school or why they have to suffer because their parents
don’t have enough money. When we started the program in 2009 we managed to provide
the school fees for 22 children.
We also started study groups and provided a room for our kids so that they have a
quiet place to learn and meet during the holidays to study together. This had such
a big impact on their school performance that some of the kids improved tremendously
and everyone was motivated to achieve better marks automatically.
Furthermore, I organized a trip to the Youth in Construction Expo in April 2009
where many professions and education programs were introduced. Many kids were
surprised about all the different job opportunities as they only knew two
professions for women up to this point – cleaning lady or nurse. In April 2010 we
received free tickets to the Cape Town Aquarium which was the first outing for most
of the children.
To be able to achieve further little changes in little Capetonians we ask for your
Thanks for reading,