Mellon Educate volunteers at Ummangaliso Primary School, in Site B, Khayelitsha, are determined to make a difference, and help shape the lives and minds of the pupils.
The volunteers, from Ireland and the United Kingdom, descended on Khayelitsha to render free services while schools in their respective countries are on recess.
They were welcomed in a special celebration by the school and members of the community on Monday July 30.
There were smiles, hugs, handshakes, music, dancing and high fives at the celebration.
Ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work, the teachers promised to use the two-week break to transform the lives of pupils with various subjects including sport.
An ecstatic principal, Mlungisi Siko said the volunteers came at the right time.
He said last year another group of volunteers from Mellon Educate took part in their annual “building blitz” and helped build seven classes for the school.
“My teachers will benefit from this gesture. My pupils will benefit even more. The two weeks will be enjoyable. These volunteers will help our staff sustain effective learning environments and enrich education. But we hope this partnership will help improve the school’s results.”
Mr Siko said he was delighted as the 12 volunteers would bring knowledge and skills to the school and he thanked them.
He said the volunteers would in return learn the school’s culture and the way South Africans do things. He said they would benefit from the country’s rich heritage.
“We wish they change the school for the better. But we will be teaching them our rich cultures. We thank them for seeing the need to come to where poverty is rife. We are overwhelmed by their decision to come to the poor of the poorest,” he told Vukani.
Part of the group would be teaching sport activities.
Niall Mellon, chief executive of Mellon Educate, said the aim was to improve young people’s lives.
“We hope they will be something in life. From these children we hope there will be a president, police, teachers, scientists and many other professionals. We want children to know that we love them. We want to help them with their education,” he said.
He said Mellon Educate was looking forward to working with the school on other projects.
Mr Mellon said the mission was to help educate 100000 children in the country.
Circuit manager for Metro East Education Department District, Thabo Manganeng, lauded the partnership between the school and the organisation. He said the partnership came with change.
“They came all the way to improve a black child’s education. We applaud their courage. It is rare to see people with education volunteering. People are always after money. But here they are to give not only education, but skills to our children too.
“Our children will be able to play sport too. This is the late statesman’s dream, Madiba, this is happening in his month. I grateful to them,” he said.
The partnership was also given the thumbs up by Dr Patti Silbert, the University of Cape Town project manager for the Schools Improvement Initiative (SII).
She said Ummangaliso Primary School was one of the schools that it assists in development.