Project // iThemba School Capricorn, Cape Town, South Africa
iThemba means "hope"!
The iThemba School Capricorn is a pre-school for 75 children between the ages of 3 and 6. The school provides English language classes as well as three nutritious meals a day. Located 20 kilometres outside of Cape Town in the impoverished area of Capricorn, the iThemba School brings hope to many children whose parents are unable to support their education and preparation for elementary school, or even provide their children with wholesome meals.
It creates a safe haven and a loving and creative environment where children can flourish and reach their full potential. The focus is on literacy, i.e. the development of writing and reading skills, arithmetic, as well as the healthy diet of children. The classes are predominantly taught in English to prepare the young students for the South African school system, as most children already speak their mother tongue Xhosa or Afrikaans. The dedicated teaching staff has committed to a high level of training. Teachers devote themselves to their educational assignments and involve the community in a variety of projects that run throughout the year to ensure optimal integration.
The iThemba School was founded in 2006 with the support of the Help Alliance, a non-profit organization from Lufthansa AG and its socially engaged staff, to improve the educational attainment of pre-school children in the underprivileged suburbs of Cape Town. Originally, the school was based in Philippi, but was moved to Capricorn in 2009. Capricorn, formerly known as Vrygrond, is a socially and economically disadvantaged informal settlement with an unemployment rate of over 70%. On January 13, 2010, the iThemba School Capricorn opened its doors to children aged 3 to 6 years. It initially had 50 children, but was expanded in 2011 to 75 school seats and now houses 25 children per class.
The students receive a high-quality pre-school education and care for three years in order to simplify and support entry into primary school. The curriculum not only places a clear emphasis on learning and teaching the English language, but also on learning social skills, values, behaviour and attitudes. Great value is also placed on perseverance and reliability, so that the children are well-prepared for their further school career.
The school provides a safe environment to naturally play and learn, and above all, to stimulate cognitive processing. In addition, a pleasant daily routine with rituals and routines is created in order to include children who were not accustomed to routines due to their previous living conditions and circumstances. This in turn provides them a foothold for their future. The dedicated School Director is tirelessly committed to the success of this project and plans to expand the school in the near future to improve the lives of more children.