A Hermanus couple’s success in improving education in a nearby township demonstrates just how much of a difference civic-minded people can make in the country.
In 2011, husband and wife and residents of Hermanus in the Western Cape - Theo and Angie Krynauw were concerned about the huge divide between the rich who were residing in Hermanus and the poor who were residents of Zwelihle the neighbouring township.
The couple decided to do something about this divide and started non-profit organisation called Sparklekids.
They approach was to uplift the young people who were pupils of Qhayiya Secondary School in Zwelihle.
The couple was looking at ways to improve the school and the pass rate.
“When we started the programme the matric pass rate was 32 percent, a poor level of teaching and no facilities,” said Theo.
Theo and Angie were determined to help and set about raising money from donors and identifying teachers from Cape Town who could assist with improving the quality of education in Zwelihle.
“The teachers would come to assist over holidays and weekends. Every Monday, we would also go to the school to do an assembly, where we would try to motivate and inspire the children, letting them know that there is a way out of poverty,” Theo said.
With the assistance of donors, Sparklekids has since supported over 100 disadvantaged children from Zwelihle, helping them with their education and giving them opportunities to go to tertiary institutions after school.
“We identify children who show a real willingness to learn and improve themselves,” explained Theo. These children are given after-school tutoring to help them improve their marks.
Today, the list of students supported by Sparklekids has grown to over 120. Many of these youth are now studying university degrees, with Sparklekids supporting them with things like registration fees, transport, toiletries and appliances.
“We started with two students – Lungisa and Anita. Today, Lungisa is a civil engineer and Anita is doing her second degree in chemical engineering. This just goes to show what a quality education can do for a young person,” Theo pointed out.
Two former Sparklekids are now teachers at Qhayiya Secondary School, where Theo and Angie still identify most of the children they support.
*For more information about Sparklekids, contact Theo Krynauw at 082 654 4924.