Although we work from community sports centres, our centres also have a big heart for education. We established a library and then, in 2018, a learning centre with computers in Franschhoek.  We ran our ECD outreach programme from this Centre, but have also used it to provide homework support, train young adults to use computers and to type their CVs, run practical science awareness sessions during holidays, for training workshops and to show educational films.  We’ve also started the process of transforming some of the spaces in Mbekweni into a learning centre, though we require additional support especially for computers, in order to truly realise this space’s potential.

Our plan has always been to extend the educational part of our programming, and with sports being one of the last things to open up fully due to COVID-19 regulations, this helped us turn our attention to academics a little more.

We joined – and now lead – the WCED Home Learning Program, in partnership with the Western Cape Education Department, Department of Economic Development And Tourism, Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (Year Beyond Office) and 5 other NGOs. After the pilot we participated in last year, the project now spans 11 different communities (including Franschhoek, Mbekweni and Malmesbury), is linked to 32 schools across the Cape Winelands, employs 132 young interns and inspires thousands of children from Grade R to Grade 6 every week. The young people who implement the activities have been equipped with excellent skills and resources from Singakwenza and Wordworks to go out and be a part of building a stronger culture of education in their communities. They do home visits, provide homework assistance, help facilitate parent and caregiver workshops, connect on a real level with children and their families and, most of all, make education engaging and fun.

In addition, we are part of the Year Beyond Academic Program, which is being run from our Mbekweni Community Sport Centre this year. Since March 18, well-trained volunteers (YeBoneers) have been assisting in 3 Primary schools. Focussed on Grades 3 and 4 (when the children transition from mother-tongue instruction to English) in the morning, they also offer personal assistance to at least 20 children each, every afternoon.

We are not only active at the school level.  Our partner, SCORE South Africa is an accredited training service provider and provides accredited training for out-of-school youth and adults – facilitating specific training modules and a skills programme. Such training helps young people collect credits towards qualifications and also makes them more employable, one of our key objectives.

Finally, we are excited to share that we are about to construct a new Learning and Development Centre adjacent to our Community Sport Centre in Malmesbury – the result of an extensive community assessment process. This building will be an educational resource centre and provide support to learners and teachers from the ECD level to Further Education and Training and is scheduled for completion towards the end of the year.

As the saying goes: “If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you!”