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!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December News

Kirsten and her mom, Jeanette, at her matric dance in April this year
Kirsten Cupido (20) dropped out of school in 2008 and spent the year at home, despondent. “I started to believe the lie that I was not good enough,” said Kirsten. She joined the School of Hope in 2009 as a quiet and timid Grade 10 learner. She surprised us in the middle of the year, when she ran for school Captain. In spite of making an outstanding speech, she lost to the charismatic Manhino Dias (matriculated 2010). Nonetheless, she ran again in 2010 and, yet again, lost to another outstanding leader, Fatimah Santon (Grade 11). Nonetheless, she continued to lead in many unrecognised ways; at least they were recognised by the general school population, but those astute amongst the staff certainly noticed. In her Grade 11 year, she made a life-altering decision to end the dysfunctional relationship she was in, to concentrate on securing a better future for herself. It was a decision that would change her life.Since then, she has shown consistency in her academics and has been a positive influence on her peers from Grade 10 till this day. In her words: “I never saw myself as the leader type, but my peers often commented on my good decision making.”

Kirsten is very enthusiastic about the prospect of studying further in the field of hospitality. At the Awards Evening she was named 2011 School of Hope Valedictorian. She is also the first recipient of the “Denver Andreas Award.” Denver Andreas was the founding principal of the School of Hope and served as such until 2003. In 2004, he was tragically killed in a motorcar accident, alongside his beloved wife, Rene. He was a champion of youth-at-risk and vulnerable children. It was difficult to know Denver and not be inspired by him. With this in mind, the Thembalitsha Foundation will make available R20 000 in Denver’s honour towards the study fees of each year’s Valedictorian.

Kirsten’s mom, Jeanette Cupido, wrote the following after the Awards Evening:

“When Kirsten joined School of Hope in 2009, we were pleased as we needed her to complete her school career. Little did we know that she would achieve such phenomenal results, and because of this we enrolled her brother, Kyle, a year later. Our children have not been happier or more eager to go to school.

The awards evening was spectacular (as it is every year).  Not only are the students awarded for good grades but also for their dress, attendance, leadership skills and perseverance. I particularly like the fact that the post matriculant’s progress is followed by the school, long after they leave. All through the Awards evening there was a general feeling of belonging and closeness, which I feel is evident in the good grades that most of your students achieve. It was also very interesting to see what has been achieved throughout the year and also the different activities that took place.

 Once again, thank you for awarding Kirsten the Valedictorian for 2011 and the bursary, which could not have come at a better time. I am sure I speak for all your students and parents when I say.....A BIG  THANK YOU to the Principal and staff for their dedication, patience and sacrifice to see our children complete their school careers.”

Amanda Nortjie, Thembalitsha’s fundraiser, was a special guest at our Awards Evening. Amanda said:

“I have been to a few graduations in my time, four to be exact, but what was it that made this one stand out most for me? Knowing the backgrounds of most of these learners, one knows the challenges and the hurdles that they overcome. There is a tangible bond between the learners as well as one between the learners and their Educators. Differences are embraced, hurdles overcome and a genuine celebration of work is experienced. The exuberance and celebration that took part in that hall that night ….if only one could bottle that and sell it! (As a fundraiser I think of any opportunity!) Last but not least, God is in that place in each and every heart, sowing a seed through the work of this school and the honoring of His children, both learners and educators. The best way to end off any graduation is with the school song. This school has the best school song I have ever heard (including my own). This particular night saw it being sung with extra gusto and to stand amongst those learners singing it, was a privilege. Laura and her staff are to be commended for the level of sincerity and the magic felt on that night. The learners are to be commended for being overcomers and achievers. What a fantastic celebration!”

Congratulations Kirsten and all the amazing Matrics of 2011. You inspire us to persevere.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

October News

The late afternoon of Tuesday 11th October was just another mild spring day in Cape Town. As a whistle blew one last time on a sports field in Maitland one group of soccer players cheered and hugged each other in victory whilst the others, exhausted and disappointed, heads bowed, had to stomach the bitter taste of defeat..............and that was us!
Unfortunately we had just lost 3-0 in the Amandla Knock Out Competition Final to the B.E.S.T Centre, a team who we had previously beaten. It was just one of those days when nothing went “our way”- we forgot our game plan which we had rehearsed and used in other games to good effect and we had been unfortunate to have several key refereeing decisions go against us. Not a good way to end the season for the School of Hope Under 19 Soccer team.
However, with the following day I was able to see the positive side of our season – we had been beaten finalists in the Knock Out Trophy but Winners of the Amandla Under 19 League Competition so we have a trophy, winners medals and runners up medals to put on display in our reception after the Awards Ceremony at Athlone Stadium!
I think we also achieved in some other ways this season. We brought a “feel good” positive vibe to the whole school as we won games and lots of people were interested to come along and support or check out our league position the following day. By the end of the season our squad was up to 18 players!
We also decided as a squad to make “team” the key focus by voting for attendance at training and effort to be the criteria for team selection and making sure all substitutes got to play for some of the game. Finally, it was great to see leadership emerge as players took turns to lead training and take on other responsibility.
Roll on next season...................c’mon you School of Hope!!!

Written by: Andy Lee, Soccer Coach 2011

(Andy Lee (UK) is volunteering for a year at the School of Hope. Andy has brought a wealth of experience and a dollop of joy to our school. As the soccer coach he has balanced discipline and encouragement, work and play, positivity and reality. His approach made us winners – even if we were beaten in the final knock-out round. With ego slightly bruised but characters intact, the team has basked in their new-found glory from bottom of the pile to top of the league! Thank you, Andy, for your dedication and care. Each footballer felt it, every learner was inspired by it, and as for the staff, you made our job so much easier!)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September News

Education opens the doors and creates choices!

As such, career guidance is an integral part of ensuring that learners pursue a career path that they love, and that they are successful and employable after matriculating from high school.  Many high school learners find the world outside of school intimidating and are often unsure of how to navigate their way through the various career and study options out there.  At the School of Hope we recognise this.  We offer on-going career counseling to our Grade 12 learners and deal with this topic extensively in Life Orientation.

For the past four years we have a run a Career Week, where various professionals and tertiary institutions address our learners thus opening their eyes to the their career opportunities and also inspiring them to study further.  This year our career week ran during September and we had a number of professionals join us from different sectors.  It ran in the form of a career panel where each profession could share about the career and the learners had the opportunity to ask questions.

Michelle Johannes is a fashion designer with her very own fashion line, MiLiJo.  MiLiJo has had many successful fashion shows and can now be found in 2 boutiques in South Africa.  Michelle shared openly with our learners and made us laugh as she shared the highs and lows (mostly highs) of the fashion industry.  The love she has for fashion designing is apparent and she stressed the importance of pursuing a career that you love. We also had a number of professionals represent the tourism industry as many of our learners have a keen interest in tourism.  Rhonda Savage-Julie is the owner of Rhonda Tours & Explores, a tourism company that specializes in tours of the Cape Flats.  She could truly relate to our learners as she grew up in Bridgetown, Athlone.  Rhonda shared how she entered the tourism industry and gave the learners good insight into how they could enter this industry. Another inspiring speaker was Ayanda Tini.  Ayanda is a television presenter and actress but is best known as a radio DJ, with her own afternoon show on Good Hope FM. She shared her own life story as well as the ins and outs of the entertainment industry.  Our learners found her story inspirational and walked away with valuable tips on making it in this industry.

Career Week has become an institution at our school; each year the inspiration moves a learner to complete their schooling and pursue a career that will break the cycle of poverty in their family once and for all. It’s one more way the School of Hope is making poverty history.
Rhonda Savage

Ayanda Tini

Thursday, August 18, 2011

August News

Education is the greatest gift you could ever give any girl-child or young woman. One woman represents ten who will be impacted, represents future children and their children’s children.

Keeping girls in school is the only way to significantly lower the levels of unplanned teenage pregnancy.

The rate of teen pregnancies amongst school children in SA is unacceptably high. Dropping out of school is by far the biggest contributor to teenage pregnancy. It not only increases the risk of pregnancy in girls, but also significantly increases the risk of HIV infection.

More education translates into more choices for further education, greater chance of employment and increased earning power – as well as the ability to make better choices about sexuality in the future!

The School of Hope is known as a second-chance programme. For our dedicated staff, giving young girls the opportunity to complete their schooling is a priority and our God-inspired calling.

Not only are we committed to giving the girls in our communities a second chance at completing their education, but we have taken a stand about pregnant girls at school: that we will value and celebrate the life of every child and every mother who carries that child. We will make it as easy as possible for that girl to complete her education successfully.

The reason we have chosen this approach, is because we believe that a young mother with an education is better for a child than a young mother without an education. The more educated the mother is, the more choices she can make and the more the chance that her child, in turn, will be able to make good choices and reach higher levels of education.

We are committed to breaking the cycle of poverty and despair and to bring hope through education, the only sustainable solution for generational and entrenched poverty amongst the women of this country.

Meet some of our brave mothers, who have chosen to stay in school and make something of their lives:

Fatima Santon (16) is currently in Grade 11. She has one daughter, Ayisha (17 months). Fatima dreams of becoming a paediatrician.

Bianca Moyakhe (19) is in Grade 12. She has one son, Buhle (20 months). She wants to work in Tourism or Marketing. She travelled to New York in February on the Active Compassion Transforms mentorship programme.

Fagmeedah Isaacs (20) is in Grade 10. She has two sons, aged 3 years and 1 year.
After completing school, she wants to qualify as a nurse or a social worker.

Education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty. If you can do one thing to make poverty history, it should be to put a girl through school in your lifetime.

Friday, July 15, 2011

July News

After the relative austerity of the June exams, the School of Hope has been at the epicentre of a whirlwind of activity.

The drama team, who has been practising daily, on weekends and after school, was invited to perform their play …. at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown. The play, written by our own isiXhosa and Arts&Culture teacher, Sibongiseni Myana, is a moving tale of a young girl’s spiritual journey. It is also a challenge to Africa to return to the spirit of ubuntu. As I write this, the group of five learners and three educators have settled into accommodation in Grahamstown and have spent the day marketing their play in the town centre, in preparation for their week of performances.

Most touching is the effect this venture has had on the learners involved. Lindsay Henley, director of BethU’riel, home to one of the young men, Xolani, said she has never seen him so enthusiastic and committed to school since his involvement in the play. Shy and reserved Grace and soft-spoken Thandeka both shine in their respective roles as desperate mother and God-seeking daughter.

The real heroes of the story are the hard working educators, generous donors and selfless hosts who have made the tour to Grahamstown possible. Special mention must be made of the Pick and Pay at Waterstone Village in Somerset West who supported the team and the His People church in Grahamstown who found us accommodation and whose gracious hospitality has been a great blessing to us.

While quaint Grahamstown is a sought-after location during July, New York must be one of the most desirable destinations in the world all year round. Unbelievably, five Grade 12 students will be flying to the Big Apple on the 11th July as part of their mentorship programme with Active Compassion Transforms, for an unforgettable thirteen days of inspiration. We will tell you all about that next month!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May News

Remember that evening of glamour and glory, when you felt as if you and your partner were the king and queen of the world - the night of your Matric Dance? Perhaps you called it Prom Night or Debutante's Ball? Either way, for most of the learners at the School of Hope a night like this seemed like the proverbial impossible dream, until the 29th April 2011, just after another royal event involving a certain prince and princess!

This is what Matric Student Robin Bailey (20) had to say about his special night: "The Matric Dance was outstanding! Everyone looked so lovely and it was a dream come true. I never thought that I would ever be in Matric, not to mention attending my own Matric Dance. It was out of this world and we had a ball of a time."

Erika Lee (New York) spoke elegantly, sharing the story of teenage runaway Oscar Hammerstein who started out sweeping in a cigar factory at 15 years old and ended up opening his own theatres in the heart of what is now known as Times Square (he is referred to as the father of Times Square). His son went on to become the famous modern composer Oscar Hammerstein II. The story was encouraging to the matrics because of the parallels that can be drawn between their experiences and teenage Oscar's troubled young life, proving once again that it is not where you begin but where you end that matters most.

Friday, April 15, 2011

April News

The School of Hope received a much-needed makeover from Multichoice Makes A Difference in March. Apart from the painting and electrical work, they also installed a 32" flat screen plasma television in the common room and decoder. The learners and teachers will have access to the basic DSTV bouquet including the Learning Channel. And that's not all! Boxes and boxes of stationery followed as well as some chocolate treats for the learners. However, the biggest blessing of the day was the braai lunch spread which catered for all the learners, teachers and even the neighbours!

As usual, our learners did not fail to impress and inspire.  Rowena Adams, Multichoice employee who was part of the organising team had this to say about her experience: 

"It was a new and exciting challenge and I felt honoured to participate in organizing the event. Out of all the places we visited, the School of Hope stood out. The difference they make in the lives of those students... they have a soft place to fall and people who care about them. I wanted to be a part of it. I’ve seen the lunch menu and the meals are not extravagant! But these students are grateful for what they get. 

I was approached in the parking area by a young girl. She wanted to thank Multichoice for choosing their school as the beneficiary. I looked at her and thought how easily this could have been me. We all make mistakes and lose our way but we all deserve a second chance. As we braaied, they played music for us and once the work was done, we took a group photo of everyone who participated."

School of Hope Wedding!
On the 19th March, educator Christeline Carolus married Stet Mushwana in a beautiful ceremony held at Vredenheim Wine Estate. Christeline Mushwana has been the Life Orientation Educator since 2007 and serves on the School Management Team as the Teacher Support. Every year, she is voted as one of the most loved teachers by the learners at the school and this comes as no surpise. Christeline is dedicated to reaching and empowering young people everywhere and she does so with tremendous success. Stet is an environmental specialist for Transnet. We wish Christeline and Stet all the very best for their life together!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

March News

Making the Impossible, Possible - New York trip February 2011

I was fortunate enough to accompnay ten learners from the School of Hope for an unforgettable ten days in New York, thanks to the overwhelming generosity of Active Compassion Transforms.

The trip is the culmination of a year-long mentorship programme that connects mentors in New York with Grade 12 learners at the School of Hope.

Our time in New York was incredible.  We experienced and saw so much including the well-known sites: the Statue of Liberty, Times Square and the Empire State Building.  However, my highlight was watching our learner’s thinking expand as they began to realise that they could accomplish anything they put their minds to.  They had never envisioned something as big as going to New York and now it was happening to them.  This trip made them see that they can dream big and that their dreams can become reality.

This is how some of the participants were able to put this experience into words:

Simoné Van Der Berg (23)
 “Being here has made me realise how blessed I am. Not only has God given me a second chance to finish my schooling but also this unbelievable, unthinkable, indescribable opportunity that the other people in my family would never even dream of. This opportunity is making me think bigger than I had ever imagined. Now my own children will one day think big… I mean HUGE!”

Dawood van der Fort (21)
Thanks once again to Active Compassion Transforms.  It has been great being in New York.  I am making the best of all the opportunities given to me and my mentor is so awesome!  I watched my first Broadway Show today with my mentor:  the longest running Broadway show ever –Phantom of the Opera.  I know the subway system out of my head so I would fit in easily – I will have to come and live here!

Lunga Mdingi (18)
Wow! Being in New York has been the biggest thing that has ever happened to me. It has opened my mind to new things and shown me that nothing is impossible, so thanks to everyone who made this possible for us.  The lights over here really inspire a person and it feels like there is nothing you cannot do.  Tomorrow I am coming back to South Africa ...I will kiss New York good-bye.  I will really miss this place because it helped me find myself but there is no place like home.

Deidré Railoun, Educator and School Counsellor, School of Hope

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

February News

As we begin 2011 we wanted to share with you just one of the many life changing stories we are privileged to be part of:

The Brothers Mdende:
Born in Eastern Cape, the Mdende children were seven in total, five brothers and two sisters. When both mom and dad left the Eastern Cape to find work in Cape Town, the children (the youngest being 9) found themselves struggling with no parental supervision. Khumbula, then12, and  Masakhane, 14, made their way to Cape Town to find their parents. They discovered that their parents had separated and that their father had started in new family. They tried to make a life for themselves in the township of Phillipi where they shared a crowded shack with their mother and sister and a number of other people seeking shelter. 

"It was hard," remembers Masakhane, "and I wanted something better." The brothers hung around the parks in town during the day, and befriended Chad Henning, a professional photographer who frequented one park during lunch breaks. "He got to know us and invited us on outings, trying to keep us encouraged." Chad referred the brothers to the School of Hope, where the brothers resumed their education. Eventually they were joined by their younger sibling (currently in Grade 10) and all three were accomodated at Beth U'riel, a residential facility for young men in Salt River.

Khumbula and Masakhane both completed their Grade 12 year at the School of Hope in 2010. Khumbula was enrolled at Cornerstone Christian College where he is studying Community Development. As for Masakhane, all through his school days he worked at  popular restaurant Aubergine, where he graduated from table waiter to Sous Chef. This year, he has been accepted at the International Hotel School in Cape Town where his studies will begin in August. Both brothers have full bursaries to cover their studies.

Says Masakhane, "The School Of Hope helped me understand myself and where I wanted to go with my life. It is more than just a school. It is a place where you can develop as a person and learn how to be truly successful in life."