The School of Hope is a place of learning where we value HOPE FAMILY TRANSFORMATION RESPONSIBILITY AND GIVING. We are education-junkies, sold out to breaking the cycle of crime, poverty and unemployment by giving every person the chance to complete their education. There is nothing more important that we can do for South Africa today!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

See our latest updates on the new Thembalitsha Foundation blog!

Thank you for being a loyal supporter and friend of School of Hope and Thembalitsha Foundation! We have recently streamlined all of our blogs into a single website for all of the projects so you can keep up with all things Thembalitsha in one place: If you are interested in following our new combined stream, you can scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your up-to-date e-mail address in the "Follow By E-mail" field. And if you still want to view project-specific content, you can choose a project from the drop-down menu at the top! All of our old posts from this blog have also migrated there as well in a full archives.

We hope that this new platform will be incredibly easy for you to use and also show you the full scope of the exciting happenings here at Thembalitsha! If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at any time - we love hearing from our supporters.

We look forward to sharing more of this journey with you!

Team Themba

Monday, February 16, 2015

State of a nation... addressed!

by Laura Collura, Principal at the School of Hope

We all want to hear some good news about our beloved nation. At the School of Hope we are playing our part in addressing one of the most important issues facing South Africa: education. While we ponder the state of our nation, there are more than 60 young people who have matriculated from the School of Hope since 2008 who would not have finished their schooling otherwise. Young girls who are mothers, boys trapped in gangsterism and drug abuse and young men desperate to complete their schooling are amongst the brave young people who have made it to Grade 12 and are now either meaningfully employed or studying further to obtain a diploma or degree.

Byronne Essack -Valedictorian 2014-
 was awarded the Denver Andreas
Scholarship with which he intends
studying sound production.
Nine more individuals joined this group of successful learners who overcame all the odds stacked against them to complete the National Senior Certificate in November 2014. Amongst them, Carlo Sabotker from Delft and Zubair Cader from Mitchell's Plein who made us proud by passing their national examinations and are both enrolled at False Bay College to study Electrical Engineering in 2015. Top students Yanga Mtule from Nyanga and Byronne Essack from Belhar are pursuing their passion for music before settling into their future studies. They have produced two original music videos in the process of chasing their musical dreams. They join the alumni who grace the halls of Stellenbosch University, those studying through UNISA - and those who are working on their career.

Zubair Cader will be studying at
False Bay College from May2015.
This year, 130 learners have made the all-important decision to enroll and are aiming to complete their education in spite of the challenges that have made it difficult for them to do so. This is a record enrollment and includes sixteen Grade 12 students. Indeed, this is good news for our city, which boasts some of the best schools in the country but is also plagued with unacceptable high school drop-out rates.

With 96 applicants already on the waiting list for 2016, it is clear that many children, youth and their parents are anxious for a chance to be part of the solution. We are privileged to be making a difference in this city, bringing hope to those who need it the most.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dutch Connections!

What a joy it was to host 31 Dutch students and their teachers from Sint Maartens School in Holland. For a whole week they made our library their home and spent every waking moment doing things to improve our school building.

They also taught us a dance, introduced us to the 1Billion Rising campaign against women abuse and gave us a taste of Holland – teaching the Consumer Studies classes to make delicious waffles.

One of the great projects they tackled was the planting of an indoor hanging garden (right). This ingenious idea has added much needed green to our indoor premises.
Global Exploration made it possible for learners at the School of Hope and those from Sint Maartens to gain experience through a cultural exchange. Their mission is simply to make making a difference in the world.

They excitedly and passionately came to paint the school, teach lessons and immerse themselves into a different culture, confronting the realities facing Cape Town’s youth. Their hope is that this experience would give their learners a fresh perspective on life, and impact our learners as well.

Our learners reflected on this experience as follows:

“They were kind and different to what I expected. We will miss having them here. They felt like family. Mikhail Adonis” (Grade 8)

“We had such a lovely time sharing with the learners and learning about their country and culture. Having them make our school colorful with all the painting has changed the atmosphere and we are truly thankful for their contribution. They became a part of our school family and the bond we formed with them will remain in our hearts.” Natasha Damons and Shireen Hendricks (Grade 11)

“It was a great experience as the students breathed new life into the school and inspired all of us to not give up, no matter the situations we find ourselves in. They showed us how to work together and that hard work makes a difference.” Marshalino Jankowski (Grade 9)

Thank you Global Explorations for this connection. We enjoyed meeting and getting to know our new Dutch family!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

On Safari!

Thirty learners and staff were treated a five-star safari at Buffelsfontein on the West Coast, care of Be a Blessing.

Be a Blessing exists to give young people the opportunity to experience 4X4 adventure outings. This year they organized a truly remarkable safari experience for our learners on Buffelsfontein farm.

The learners had the following to say:

Asheeqah Brown (Grade 10): I had an amazing experience on the trip. It’s not every day that we get such great opportunity to see the animals out there, to know what they eat where they live and what species they belong to. I wouldn’t mind going on another trip like that again because it was awesome!

Ashton Groove (Grade 8): It was very nice to see Rhinos and Ostriches, also Buffalos and Red Lions and to drive past the Cheetah.   We also saw the Zebras Springbok and the Wildcat. There were a lot of wild animals.

Nawaal Hanslow (Grade 9): The Be a Blessing trip was amazing, I really enjoyed it. It was an opportunity for me to see animals; the tour guide explained at each stop about their habitat and uniqueness. I would like to go with my family one day .

Morgan Martins (Grade 11): What I learned on the Be a Blessing trip is that so many animals are endangered, particularly the Rhinos, who are being killed for their horns, which can gradually lead to their extinction. But most of all, I learnt that animals in their wild are special in their own ways.
Siphesihle Mzukwa (Grade 11): We learnt about things we didn’t know about. Things like Rhino poaching and how the nature reserves work. After the trip I thought about studying Nature Conservation. I am thankful and grateful to the people who offered us with this kind of opportunity.

Be a Blessing relies on sponsors to put together trips like these. The Buffelsfontein safari was made possible by owner Paul Loubser who put his farm and game viewing vehicles at our disposal. Arora Superspar and their manager Odette, took care of our learners and staff throughout the day. As usual, a satisfying lunch was served.

El Josa bus service sponsored the transport to Buffelsfontein, and the Be a Blessing drivers were generous with their time and hospitality.

Thank you Kobus Meyer and Be a Blessing. You certainly live up to your name.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Confronting the Dragon

How did Daryn Jones, our social worker, get 15 of our learners to volunteer to be trained by SANCA as peer counselors at School of Hope?

Photo by Masixole Feni
“In April the School of Hope had a focus week: Drug Education and Awareness. A survey that was conducted at the School of Hope revealed that the majority of students have witnessed adult family members using drugs in front of them. Those learners who have tried using drugs or are still currently using drugs, did so for the first time before they were 15 years old. The most common drugs identified in the survey were Methamphetamine (Tik), Heroine (Unga) and Marijuana (Dagga).
Adolescence is a significant period where there is rapid development between childhood and adulthood, involving complex cognitive development. The prefrontal cortex is mainly responsible for this development. It allows a teenager to be able to start thinking in more of an abstract manner, using a wider perspective of understanding and reasoning. The thoughts, ideas and concepts developed during this period greatly influence the type of adult the adolescent will become. A study conducted in 2012 by the University of Cape Town and the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa titled ‘Brain imaging illuminates the impact of addictive drugs on the brain’,  found that Heroin, Tik and alcohol are all responsible for the reduction of cell development in the prefrontal cortex. This means that drugs can damage or impair the part of the brain responsible for social and moral functioning of an individual.

In order to educate and create awareness about the impact of drugs and alcohol the school hosted two guest speakers who are recovering addicts to share their life story with the students. The students hung on their every word, often relating many of the life events and situations that were shared back into their own lives in the Cape Flats community.
Then SANCA (South African National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence) came to the school and educated the students about the physical and psychological effects of using drugs and spoke about how using Tik has been a variable linked directly to the increase of contracting HIV due to the physiological effects the drug has on a person.

Drug Education Week ended with 15 of our students volunteering to be trained by SANCA as peer counselors in their school. This means they will be able to pick up the signs and symptoms of their peers who may be using or abusing drugs. They will be able to do informal counseling and know how to communicate drug information to their peers as well as how they can go about accessing the relevant treatment.
School of Hope will also be having NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings once a week where students who are affected by drugs can share anonymously in a group and receive support and counseling related directly to the various affects drugs can have on an individual, a family and a community.

(Daryn Jones)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Creating Hope

I was pleasantly surprised by a letter written to me by our enthusiastic Creative Arts teacher, Sipho Banda. Having just taken over the overactive, difficult-to-please and sadly underachieving Grade 8 class, he had a moment of joy in the integrated music/poetry class. He writes:

Last week, during Creative Arts, the Grade 8 class had to read aloud or perform a poem. The poems were randomly selected - I had never read the poem ‘Ou Krouskop’ before, and certainly assumed the learners never had either, but within minutes it was performed with an edgy and creative Hip-Hop flow ! I certainly don’t think the author intended ‘Ou Krouskop’ to be read that way, but that’s the beautiful thing about poetry and creativity. The group’s interpretation of the title had some local twang to it which was most entertaining. I smiled…and my smile turned to pure enjoyment. I wanted someone to walk into my class so that I could share the moment.
Learners should want to perform, present and learn with their peers.  What musical creativity! I didn’t know what to do with myself – and it was good. It was great to hear the murmurs of enthusiasm in the class.  One learner in particular displayed great confidence. Her voice was strong, and she was very good in her delivery. Something has happened in that learner.

So, with all the other important business that comes with teaching, I know that creativity is splendid and should always be encouraged in class.
Mr Banda does not have to convince me. The difference in the Grade 8 class since he became their teacher is obvious. All it takes is the courage to allow for something a little out of the routine for the learners to achieve something great.

Take the story of Masixole Feni. Masi left School of Hope after completing his Grade 12 exams in 2010 to pursue his love for photography. This month the South African Centre for Photography will exhibit his work: Water is Life. This is the first in a series of solo photographic exposés by Masixole Feni, showcased at the Alliance Française during the Month of April, 2014. The series has won a South African Centre for Photography award for its quality and relevant discourse related to 20 years of Democracy in South Africa. The prize includes the production and hosting of a further two linked showcases during the Cape Town Month of Photography that will showcase in October 2014 as an Official World Design Capital Project.

The exhibition opened on the 3rd April by Ian Landsberg, photo editor-in-chief at the independent Newspapers, where Masixole Feni has been a freelance photographer for the past two and a half years. Says Dimitri Perez, Alliance Française cultural coordinator, “As a cultural centre, with a mission to promote cultural diversity, as well as French culture, we are proud to welcome Masixole Feni and co-facilitate his solo debut in South Africa with Water is Life, curated by Jenny Altschuler of the South African Centre for Photography. The Alliance Française, in collaboration with the SA Centre for Photography, will host and support the month long showcase, as well as facilitate a public program which invites interaction between the community, the photographer and the work. It is also an honour to have Masixole Feni at Alliance as he has previously won the South African leg of the Alliance Française International Photography contest. This is a continuation also of our recognition of his beautiful work and the social topics he shares.”
Renting the space where he has placed his shack, as a ‘backyard dweller’ in the Mfuleni settlement near Khayelitsha, Cape Town, Masi has limited access to water and electricity from the main RDP house and no access to a toilet. Having grown up in the Sakhumzi Orphanage down the road, Masi still feels, however, that he has had more than many other people in the area. The South African Centre for Photography describes him on their website as follows: "Feni’s work has the self-awareness of a seer within his community".

So, we continue to celebrate creativity at the School of Hope and trust that many more creative minds will be nurtured and developed from within our walls. Perhaps, the next great musician-poet will emerge from Mr Banda's Grade 8 class.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Remembering ... and speaking out!


Grade 9 learners at School of Hope  recently visited the Holocaust Center, as part of the Social Sciences curriculum. The center is the oldest of its kind in Africa. It houses insightful historical content about the Human Rights violated during and post-WWII.

The day was spent attending lectures, viewing historical artifacts and watching documentaries. The outing gave the class an opportunity to engage with topics discussed as part of the History curriculum, in a different and experiential way. What a great opportunity it was to honour the millions of lives that were lost as a result of a Nazi genocide and to join the people who say, 'Never again!'.

Educator Sipho Banda and Social Worker Daryn Jones accompanied the learners

Upcoming Human Rights Day (21 March) was put into perspective during this experience
Speaking Out!

While the Grade 9s were crystallizing their ideas about social issues and  finding their voices to speak out against injustice and oppression, two Grade 11 learners were selected to participate in the District Public Speaking competition held at Herschel Girls School on Saturday the 15th March. This being our first year, we were grateful just to be participating and to be part of this eloquent and outspoken community of young people. Siyanda Seteni encouraged us to 'laugh like old folk', referencing a famous poem by Maya Angelou. Siphesihle Mzukwa highlighted the challenges of people living in his beloved township of kwaLanga. Both did their best and were honoured with participation certificates. The real learning took place as they confidently mixed with their peers from private and public schools and connected as young people with something to say.

Next year, we go for the medals!

Siyanda Seteni and Siphesihle Mzukwa bottom center

Pictured here with proud English teacher Sipho Banda