We interviewed one of our students from our workshops at Mitchell’s Plain. When she was attending school, apartheid was still there. The community was still segregated a lot. The white people had a separated education system from the colored and the black people. After apartheid was abolished, the school system improved according to her, but there are still some major problems.
An example she gave is that the school classes are getting bigger, with sometimes over 40 children per class. Therefore, the children often don’t get the personal attention they need. The children that are underachievers are the biggest victim, especially that group stays behind. This discourages these children and they sometimes even leave school. They think that they are not able to achieve anything. This group is vulnerable to ending up in gangs, because they have nothing else to live for. Also in her community, Mitchell’s Plain, violence is still a big issue.
She saw this happening in her community and that is why she started a reading class for these children that have problems to keep up with their schoolwork. She saw that especially illiteracy among children is a big problem; “some children that are attending high school still aren’t able to read.” She wants to help the children reach their full potential by teaching them how to read.
However, teaching them how to read is not her only task. She also wants to make the children aware of their opportunities. Children in Mitchell’s plain are labeled as low class, but they should recognize that they aren’t stuck in that position. If you give the children a dream, they will have more discipline to succeed in their education. Furthermore, they will feel like they have chances in life to achieve something as well.
However, it can be difficult to transform such an idea into a company. During our workshops, we try to give them the tools to overcome the difficulties of starting their own business. This way, these beautiful initiatives can be set up in a sustainable way. It is a very honourable task, especially because the people are very passionate about their ideas and grateful for what we’re doing.