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Back-to-school excitement at Adopt-a-School Foundation

There were no tears as confident five and six-year-olds kicked off day one of Grade R in what will be their 12-year journey through school.

There to wish them well were members of the Adopt-a-School Foundation (AAS), a partner entity of Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation. The Foundation will follow their progress and celebrate their successes while facilitating the ease of their learning through its Whole School Development (WSD) programme.

Said Steven Lebere, AAS chief executive officer: “It is our goal this year to create environments conducive to teaching and learning through the implementation of our four-pillared Whole School Development Model that focuses on school leadership, curriculum, infrastructure and social welfare.”

He added that he and members of the AAS team are looking forward to the release of the matric results later this coming Friday.

“Our WSD model is working well, which will be evident when we showcase the matric results of some of our top performing schools later this week” he said.

Together with supporting partners, in 2024 at least 14 adopted schools across the country (Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Limpopo, North West, Northern Cape and KwaZulu Natal) will see much needed infrastructure improvements that will include the construction and upgrading of classrooms as well as the refurbishment of ablution blocks.

At Qhobosheane Primary School in Diepkloof, Soweto little six-year-old Ketso Mahelo, clung to his mother Mpho Mahelo who said her son wants to be a doctor when he grows up.

Mahelo said: “Though I worry about the future of my child who is starting school at a time when the world is changing, we are excited that my Ketso got accepted at Qhobosheane Primary School and is starting grade R today. This day marks the beginning of his journey to becoming a doctor, and I looking forward to seeing him grow and pass primary and high school with flying colours and continue to university,” headmistress at the school, Mashiba Molofe said the school was delighted to be part of the AAS family.

The partnership, she added, has seen the school benefitting a beautiful library, a new kitchen, refurbishment and painting of classrooms and a repaired roof.”

At Dr Beyers Naude Secondary School in Dube, Soweto, Grade 8 learner Siphelele Cele, 14 years of age, said she was happy to be back in the classroom and was looking forward to working hard and passing all her subjects.

Headmistress at Dr Beyers Naude school, Josephene Matini Ntshani said: “We are preparing our senior secondary learners for their careers and the business world. We ask for more companies to partner with the Foundation as we need further help from them.”

The school, she said, is in need of help with infrastructure, water tanks, furniture and the revamping of the sports ground.

Since 2002, AAS and its partners have invested over R1,2bn in over a million learners across 650 primary and high schools it supports nationally.

Said Lebere: “Collaborating with our donors and sponsors is crucial. Their support ensures that we are able to implement WSD into our adopted schools.”

Donors that have infrastructure projects underway as we enter 2024 include Nafasi Water, Anglo Gold Ashanti, Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation (funded through the Presidential Golf Challenge); African Bank, Tshikululu Social Investments and Grindrod Limited.

Merafe Resources, Adapt IT and Sasria currently have curriculum delivery programmes underway.

There are eight schools with over 7,550 educators and school leaders benefitting the School Leadership Advancement programme through the support of some the already mentioned donors.

A Moral Regeneration Project is underway through the support of Merafe Resources.

“Despite the extensive work being done, there are many more schools that need our help. It is only through collective efforts that we can reach more schools in need. We currently have 441 schools on our waiting list with a wish list encompassing all four pillars of the Whole School Development model. We call upon individuals and more corporates to support more schools,” Lebere said.

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