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!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Learners from School of Hope show “Hospitality” to ITS Solar, generous donors of the Thembalitsha Foundation.

The Grade 11 Hospitality Studies  Class of 2012 presented their final practical, a three-course meal, to one of the Thembalistha Foundation’s loyal supporters, ITS Solar who are South Africa's leading heat pump and solar water heating supplier.

Learners set a beautiful table and served the company's employees a tantalising menu comprised of a trio-of-fish starter and a hint of Moroccan cuisine for the main meal. The lunch ended off on a sweet note with a raspberry trifle topped with berry compote.  Learners had an opportunity to practice their silver service and culinary skills on worthy guests. They also shared some of their inspirational stories.
 In a much-appreciated thank you letter, Director Riaan Honeyborne had this to say:

"Ons by ITS-Solar wil net vir julle baie dankie se vir die ete wat julle vir ons voorberei en bedien het. Dit was baie lekker gewees en julle is enige tyd welkom om dit weer by ons te kom doen.
Ons waardeer dit baie."

The Grade 11 class has an 89% pass rate for 2012. Well done to them and to their amazing teachers for this outstanding result!

The students and their amazing creations!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

September News

Much can be said about the benefit of education and attending school: it provides opportunity for personal growth, discipline and problem solving, social interaction, purpose and future security. Besides all these benefits, school life should prepare learners to launch, equipped, into the world at large, a world of work and a world that rewards diligence and entrepreneurship. Since not even a matric certificate can guarantee everyone a job, we encourage learners to think of themselves as job-creators and not just future workers.

One way we do this is through Market Day, a simple but motivating opportunity to dream up a business idea, execute it and make a profit. Or not. School of Hope's Market Day is an important part of the Business Studies, Hospitality, Consumer Studies and Economics learning areas, allowing our learners to put their theory into practice ... in a delicious way, if possible!

This month's Market Day was a great success as we had the best learner participation of all the previous years, which is a key indicator that our learners are passionate about their future.

Each class had a focus such as East meets West, Cafe', Bistro and Something Sweet. They day was filled with laughter, lots of eating and an impromptu dance floor that opened up for talented individuals to entertain the crowds.   The learners surprised everyone with the manner in which they took responsibility and initiative and executed their plan with enthusiasm and flair. 

In spite of torrential rain and what felt like a hurricane raging outside, the Market was well attended. All the groups made a profit and sold out of their product. The Chinese food was particularly popular but also the special desserts, vetkoek and mince and samoosas were memorable. In the end, every learner had an opportunity to see their ideas in practice, to learn from their errors and to earn something by working smartly. Now that's a lesson worth learning for our future entrepreneurs!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

July News

School of Hope believes in giving back!
In 2011 School of Hope developed a new Core Value. The value of GIVING: to devote or sacrifice something such as time or effort.

As a school this value exists as an expression of the generosity of others, it is imperative that we, in turn, give back to the communities in need around us. Our own transformation must result in compassion towards others. We value generosity of spirit which we express through community service.

This month we gave back to the community by collaborating with Habit for Humanity to build two homes in Mfuleni. The community of Mfuleni is a relatively new township located approximately 30 km from Cape Town CBD and is now home to around 25,000 people. Housing is a great priority in Mfuleni as nearly 40% of the community lives in informal shacks that lack water and electricity. There was no greater opportunity than being part of giving someone a home. For us the experience was phenomenal and we embraced every second with a kind heart. Here is what the students had to say:

Ishmael Moosa: “It felt good for me to build a house for someone else. I learnt that it is always good to give without receiving something as a prize or gift, seeing the smile of the home owner was my reward.”

Zandre Reid: “I learnt about team work, how to be committed and be a good leader. To me it felt good knowing that I could do something for some else and it was something meaningful.”

Dillan Saayman: “For the first time I got to see what it takes not to just think about myself but of others too.”

This experience has reminded us to put into practice living a life of transformation. The good things we build, end up building us!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June News

This month we commemorated Youth Day in South Africa but 36 years after the Soweto Uprising of 1976 the greatest crisis facing our nation is still education. The School of Hope has aligned itself with Symphonia's movement Schools at the Centre of the Community and Partners for Possibility in the hope of being part of the solution…And hope is what we have when we consider the fifteen Grade 12 learners currently writing mid-year examinations at the School of Hope. A small number? Perhaps, if you compare them to 120-200 matrics in large public and private schools. Yet each one has a story of courage and perseverance that makes the group seem larger than life.

Six have spent time on the streets; at least two of them for more than five years. Two head their households. One is the devoted mother of a three-year old. Three are refugees, far from their families and homes. Most know the struggle to survive first hand. They range in age from 18 to 24 years so, unlike most of their contemporaries in other schools, they have to make up for time lost in and out of school. All of them have extraordinary stories and the desire to complete their education and start a productive and meaningful life.

They are weeks away from a two-week trip of a life-time to New York. Then it will be back to Saturday classes, extra tuition, trial exams and the countdown to their final examinations. The challenges of their past will be far behind them as they join half a million Grade 12 learners nationwide in the most significant milestone of their school career.

This week they received blazers and badges, setting them apart from their peers at School of Hope to whom they have become an inspiration. The intention is to place on them a mantle of success, which symbolises our expectation that they will succeed, as students, as people and as leaders in their communities.

Please make this extraordinary group of young people the object of your prayers until the end of the year. Your investment in time will produce a high return. The nation needs them to succeed and if they succeed, we all succeed.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

May News

Our Swedish Connection Continued!....

Last month we told you of the exchange students we received for a visit. This month it was our turn to go to Sweden!

Six of our learners and two educators participated in a unique cultural exchange.  From the streets of the Cape Flats, learners were flown over the Baltic seas to a the country known for originating the Nobel Peace prize, and producing Volvo, ABBA , IKEA and Roxette. The learners landed in Sweden not knowing what to expect but excited for the unknown and for an experience they would never have dreamt of.

They had the opportunity to become a part of a Swedish family and experience life at school in a small town called Kumla. Our learners attended classes in arts, music, Spanish, physics, entrepreneurship, woodcraft and their favourite, sports. They played indoor soccer, squash and learnt Swedish folk dancing.
During their time in Kumla, the town flew the South African flag in their honour. They were also invited for lunch at the municipal offices. Wherever they went, they were treated like royalty. The local internet radio station featured the group and allowed one of our learners to host the show which was later broadcast in the community television news station.

Our students formed friendships with teenagers from Iraq, Pakistan, Thailand, Bosnia and Somalia. They were filled with the richness of diversity and their lives were impacted by the simple life in Kumla. They also toured the historic city of Stockholm.

Families that hosted our learners opened their homes and allowed them to experience Swedish traditions, one of them being the tradition of removing their shoes before entering a home. Our learners speak warmly of how the table was laid for dinner and how special attention was made for their packed school lunches every day. They gave our learners an opportunity to share in the love and commitment they have towards being a well functioning society.

Sweden is rich in beauty and interesting in culture but what stole the hearts of our learners is the warmth and love they received from the small town of Kumla.

Friday, April 20, 2012

April News

Our Swedish Connection…

In March we added to our school family eight delightful people from a school in Kumla, Sweden. They arrived tired after the 26 hour flight, but excited to experience life in Africa. Nothing had prepared them for the sheer beauty of our shores, the sunshine and the warmth of our people. They did as much as we were able to fit in their itinerary: Table Mountain, Camps Bay, Boulders and Blouberg beaches, District Six Museum and the V&A Waterfront. However, they surprised us by claiming that meeting the courageous and friendly learners at the School of Hope was the highlight of their trip. Indeed, their learners and ours immediately hit it off they became part of our school life just as if they had always been part of it. They even complimented us on the food and took notes in class! It was difficult to say goodbye when they finally left to return to Sweden.

However, it won't be long before some of us are reunited ... in Sweden! Six of our learners and two of our teachers will be leaving for Sweden as part of the exchange on the 4th May and returning on the 16th May. The learners will be staying with host families in Sweden and will be part of school life in Kumla, a small town in Sweden. The exchange is funded in part by the Swedish Government, and partly by the fundraising efforts of the teachers, learners and parents of the School of Hope.

Five Star Treatment for the amazing Matric Class of 2012!...

Ayanda Tini (Good Hope FM) and DJ's Lloyd and Lyle joined us in celebrating our amazing matrics at the 2012 Matric Dance. Held at the magical Tuscany Villas, every guest was a VIP! A special thank you to Angela Van Der Burgt from Wings Of Support who changed her flight schedule to be able to be here for the night to do the girls' make-up.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

March News

The learners from School of Hope recently drew closer to nature in two amazing ways:

We survived an Outward Bound Camp!
At the end of February we had the opportunity to send 20 learners on the Outward Bound Camp. This is a very challenging outdoor adventure camp that stretched the limits of many of the participants. The notorious "solo" (surviving in the bush alone for a period of time) proved extremely difficult, but most of the learners survived and came back to tell the tale. In their words:

‘I had a great experience from raft building to the solo. I felt it as if I was having the best time of my life. I did all the challenges for the fun experience even though I found some of them very difficult. My backpack was heavy when I was hiking, but I went up the mountain and finished the hike.’ Shargaan Bassardien

‘It was very beautiful, I enjoyed myself and had a great experience. It was my first time doing these kinds of activities. I would like to come back and do it all again. The week was great apart from the solo - I was wet and cold.’ Ismail Moosa

‘I had a great time with Outward Bound and all the aspects of the course. I learned a lot of things from this experience, I overcame my fear of heights. I found the mountain climbing very hard, but I did it. All the activities were great, but I never want to do the solo again.’ Shirleen Hendricks

‘I had a good experience, learnt many things including how to manage my anger. I never thought I could do activities like rock climbing, abseiling and hiking up a mountain. All these things taught me how to trust my team, myself and my leaders. I also learnt about self-control and self confidence. I would like other youth to come here even though it is difficult and challenging at first, it becomes easier and you end up being proud of yourself afterwards. I would like to thank my team members for motivating me and my instructors for leading me well.’ Lizanne Martin

We also joined the Treevolution with Greenpop!
Twenty students and two teachers were part of an exciting tree planting on the premises we currently occupy. In three hours, we planted 29 trees with the outstanding facilitators from Greenpop. Their leadership was inspiring and very informative. The tree plant resonated with our values of HOPE, TRANSFORMATION, RESPONSIBILITY AND GIVING. Best of all, we did it as a FAMILY. We are committed to watering and nurturing each tree. We learned that ‘the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is right now!’ Our learners are looking forward to passing by the premises in 20 years' time with their children and being able to point and say, ‘See that big old tree? I planted that one when I was in school!’

Monday, February 27, 2012

February News

Wilmona, new Afrikaans teacher
A great ending makes for a great beginning and with the wake of the victory of 2011 behind us, the path ahead has been a joy!

Three new educators joined the team this year. Nhau Mapfirakupa will teach Maths Literacy, Mathematics and Natural Science. He is as serious about maths as a teacher can be and he has brought professionalism and a no-nonsense attitude to the school family. "It is my first time in an institution like this one where there is too much love and caring for each other. Our learners are a special group and they know we are a good family at school. The danger may be with those who can take advantage of the love and care extended to them."

"Most of my learners just hate my subject, Maths, so my priority is to make them love Maths, as it is a condition to passing the subject."

Adekunle, Tourism & Technology
Adekunle Oyewo is the new Tourism and Technology teacher. There is nothing he will not do to add value to the staff team and the family of learners. He has morphed into IT Technician Extraordinaire, Soccer Coach Supreme and Magnificent Handy Man. This is what he says about the first two months: "My experience so far has been wonderful. School of Hope is not only a school but a family where anyone from any diversity can call this a home. The team spirit is great and very supportive. The learners are respectful and cooperative. The Principal has been a role model; she exhibits a wonderful open-door policy which makes her really approachable at any time."

Nhau, Maths
"The school is not just a place of work for me but a second home. Sometimes I have to remind myself that its time to lock up and go! I find the environment very conducive to learning. It has been a wonderful experience so far and I will to anything to stay at the School of Hope."

Wilmona Fortuin goes about her important work as Afrikaans teacher with elegance and grace but at the core she is as tough as nails. Her gentle nature is balanced by a desire for truth and justice. She writes, "As the Afrikaans teacher at a school where the majority of learners are English-speaking, I felt I had a challenging task ahead. Looking back on the first two months, it has been a great experience. The learners are really accepting and welcoming".

"The School is definitely more like a family; the teachers are supportive and willing to help. So I feel privileged to be part of such a dynamic and loving group of people. The school is a well-organized system in which you, whether as a learner or as a teacher, will never get lost. I am in love with the School of Hope."

Tamsyn Willemse (19), who matriculated in 2011, has joined the team as a volunteer. She says: "It is great to give back to the school because the school did so much for me. I am learning a lot about administration and how to answer the phone and speak to people who make enquiries, as well as how to organize files."

The new learners all started school a week early to submit themselves to an arduous orientation during which they were forced to change their negative paradigms about school and look at the relationships, values and responsibilities at School of Hope differently to any other school they may have attended (and opted out of) in the past.

So, finally, we hear from two new learners at the school. Christolene Williams (15) who lives at Marsh Memorial Children's Home, writes, "I did not know if I was doing the right thing going to the School of Hope but as I settled in I felt like I belonged. I knew the teachers would be helpful but now I am thinking: wow! Everyone is friendly and they are like your own family. I am doing better in my school work so far and I am proud of myself."

Pholani Moyakhe (17), whose sister Bianca matriculated in 2011, had big shoes to follow but she has taken it in her stride: "I have been really happy in this school since the first day. The teachers are very kind and caring and they are open-hearted people who understand. The learners don't call each other names and many different races and cultures are represented and get on well with each other. I feel free at the School of Hope."

And so say all of us.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

January News

Some of our graduates in New York earlier
in the year

The achievement of our 2011 matrics is a story of hope and perseverance against all odds. Many schools have achieved 100% passes, some with 200 or more matriculant but at the School of Hope, each of the nine learners who finally made it to Matric had been told it was impossible. Many of them had given up hope and for them this victory is sweet indeed.

For the educators and management it is a confirmation that our model works. Our admission policy does not allow us to pick the cream of applicants. We simply look for commitment to complete their education, regardless of their circumstances, aptitude for mathematics or academic potential. Every young person has the right to access to a good education, all that we require is commitment and that each learner has taken responsibility for their learning.

In an atmosphere of hope and our family-like environment, that dedication translates into success. This is why we have seen learners with learning disabilities, learners living in deep, desperate poverty, learners with babies and those with criminal records pass and leave the school as productive members of their community.

The outstanding Matric pass rate of 2011 is not the result of one person's diligence, but the leadership and dedication of a staff that simply will not give up on any young person that is part of the school family. Donors like Travelstart make it possible for us to hire the best teachers - those who are passionate about teaching and learning and who want to see every individual access the best education possible, regardless of where they come from or what they have done. Thank you, Travelstart, and all our consistent donors, for your contribution in 2011. You share in our victory!