Despite the National Development Plan’s aim to eliminate poverty and inequality through education by 2030, poor results have continued year after year, especially in marginalised, poor, and underserved rural communities across South Africa. Here many classrooms are overcrowded with hungry children, and staff are despondent because of a lack of resources and poor infrastructure.
There was an urgent need for intervention, aimed at addressing the fundamental challenge of low numeracy and literacy levels that continue in the public education system,” says Trevor Arosi, economic development manager at Kouga Wind Farm.
Thus it was that, in 2019, the Mzamo wo Moyo (Effort of the Winds) after-school programme started at Lungiso High School in KwaNomzamo. Funded by Kouga Wind Farm, with assistance from a local transport provider and some retailers in Humansdorp, this programme is run under the auspices of Lofefe Pty Ltd, a 100% black women owned and managed company focused on social development programmes.
Every afternoon from Monday to Friday, 60 learners from Grades 8 to 11 attend the programme, which is facilitated by five local youth from KwaNomzamo. (There is also a specific programme that focuses on Grade 12 learners). In addition to educational support, they are fed balanced, nutritionally healthy meals prepared by four previously unemployed staff, also from the local community.
Programme director Nwabisa Mabandla says, “What we do hinges on making learning fun and in engaging our learners in activities that not only build their knowledge but also help them with understanding, boost their confidence and self-esteem, show them how to work in teams, and cultivate skills beyond just being book smart.
Since the demand for placement in the programme is great, selection is made together with the educators, looking at learners who are in need of assistance and support, mainly in relation to performance, potential and home background, as well as those who are orphaned and vulnerable. We also consider high-performing learners in need of resources not readily available at the school or at home.
“We have adjusted to the Covid-19 protocols and guidelines by adopting a multi-pronged approach allowing physical attendance sessions as well as digital time or home schooling, with learners enabled to gain access both to online and offline resources.”
Now in its third year since inception, the after-school programme yields significant value, not merely in tangible school marks or in the increased number of pupils who have passed, but also in the following:
• Academic skill building, homework and remedial help
• Sport and recreation to develop active, healthy lifestyles
• Exploration of special interests such as art, music, dance, theatre, computers, technology, crafts, games, etc.
• Community service (service learning) to entrench good values and character building.
Mabandla adds, “In making use of a trainer-to-trainer model of continuous skills transfer, it was always the plan that the community stakeholders involved would take ownership and be accountable for the programme. This ensures that replication of this easy-to-run programme is possible in different environments – with support from sponsors, of course.” The greatest benefit of the Mzamo wo Moya after-school programme? “That has been to parents who themselves did not have the opportunity to go to school and who find it difficult not only to understand but to assist their children with their schoolwork. We’ve had testimonials from parents attesting to this.”