By Debbie Schafer, Western Cape Minister of Education:
Education is fundamental to the growth and development of Masiphumelele. The improvement of quality education in this area is of paramount importance to the Western Cape Education Department. As a government, we are always open to discussing and exploring ways in which partnerships can be forged to improve access to quality education in this province, especially in the light of our very difficult fiscal constraints.
I am therefore pleased to announce that over the last week, there have been 240 volunteers from the international volunteer-led charity Mellon Educate, working at Ukhanyo Primary School.
The volunteers who have travelled from Ireland, the United Kingdom and US, have been working hard to completely transform the school that currently accommodates 1624 primary school learners.
By Saturday 15th November 2015, the volunteers would have completed building seven brand new classrooms as well refurbishing an additional 8 classrooms. Included in the upgrades are a brand new kitchen, two sanitation blocks, a changing room and a storage room located by the school’s sports playing field.
In addition, the volunteers would have constructed a new playground for the primary school learners to enjoy.
Since the charity’s inception in 2002 over 10,000 overseas volunteers have travelled to South Africa to participate in week-long housing and education blitzes and during the same period about 12,000 South Africans have taken part in day blitzes.
Mellon Educate has not only undertaken to physically improve school facilities but is committed to deliver a 2 year mentoring and training results programme – the Mellon Educate Results Programme (MERP). This intensive programme runs for a minimum of two years and its core focus areas are literacy and numeracy.
At the end of the building blitz at Ukhanyo Primary School, the expert Mellon Educate team will begin to implement the Mellon Education Results Programme (MERP).
The MERP team has already been working at Oranjekloof Primary in Imizamo Yethu for the last two years and the school has recently won an award which recognizes substantial improvement in mathematics.
Niall Mellon, founder of Mellon Educate says “We are very happy to work with the Western Cape Education Department. We believe it’s up to everyone who cares about South Africa to actively play a part in helping to give every young South African the best education possible. We are also delighted by the warmth we’ve received from South African companies who want to be involved in helping us deliver our education mission.
Having delivered so substantially on housing, companies here say they see us as a unique charity with serious credibility.”
I would like to thank Niall Mellon and Mellon Educate Trust for investing in Education in the Western Cape. Investing in education is one of the best investment one can make in this country and contributions from NPO’s, the private sector and civil society to the improvement of education outcomes are invaluable not only to us as Government, but also to the learners themselves and their communities.