Several years ago, our lifegroup was looking for a social outreach initiative to get involved in.
The quality of national education in our country has always been a concern, and so we decided to look into setting up an additional teaching programme with the local Khabazela High School in Embo. We wanted to focus on Maths and Science. One of our lifegroup members, Sipho Nyembezi (a lawyer originally from Pietermaritzburg), had contacts at the school, and I had contacts in education – my mother being a retired headmistress.
Unfortunately we were not able to get any Science teachers, but we were able to procure the services of an amazing couple, retired Maths teachers Phil and Jean Radcliff, as well as Accounting and English teachers from among Church members. Curro HCA kindly agreed to supply us with a classroom. With financial assistance from Nation Changers we were able to buy the students extra stationery and calculators. The Khabazela headmistress was very supportive of the programme, and we had meetings with the school’s Maths teachers.
We decided to grow the programme, starting with a Grade 10 group, the next year would be Grades 10 and 11, and, finally Grades 10 to 12. By the time the learners wrote matric they would have had 3 years of additional teaching. Each year we would give entrance tests to the prospective learners in Grade 10. We then selected the top 20 students each year for the programme.
We have had challenges with the programme (mainly due to commitment by the scholars), however, the first group that finished the three year programme had really pleasing results. The School had never had more than one of their pupils pass Core Maths in any given year, and that year we had seven students pass.
One of the pupils from that group, Nomfundo Mbokazi, really stood out as a star student. Not only was she one of the students to pass Core Maths, but she also got a distinction in English. She is a bright, engaging student whose dream was to study Maritime Law. At the end of the three years, we try to assist the students in applying for bursaries and with their tertiary education applications. She was one of the students chosen for the Reserve Bank bursary, which helps young people wishing to study law or commerce. She also secured a place in the University of KwaZulu Natal’s Law faculty.
After being asked to write this article I had a “God incident” and bumped into Nomfundo last week on campus at UKZN, where I am a part time lecturer. She was excited to see me, and said she was now in third year Law and doing well. We really hope that her success will feed back into the community and open the eyes of current scholars to the possibilities that are available if they apply themselves and get a good Matric pass.
Following our brief meeting, I received an email from Nomfundo, in which she wrote: “We will forever be grateful for the invaluable contribution that Educare has made in our lives. We are proud CityHill Educare Alumnis. Thank you for investing in us and giving us a shot in life. We will forever be grateful.”
Anyone wishing to assist in the programme – financially or otherwise – should contact Nadine Wright at the CityHill office in Hillcrest.