iThemba means ‘hope’. Our vision is for children from under-resourced communities in the Southern Peninsula of Cape Town to be provided with the best possible intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual foundation for further education – giving them hope for their future.
Our mission is therefore to: provide high quality pre-primary education ensure balanced nutrition and health monitoring maintain a safe and nurturing environment teach and model the good news of Jesus Christ
The aim of iThemba is to work with parents and caregivers to prepare young children for school and life. We do this in partnership with the broader community by building relationships which seek to provide the best care for children now, and to pursue opportunities for further education.
The vision is for iThemba School to grow into a donor-based primary school. We recently gained access to land which is within walking distance from the Masi community and have started the process of developing it into a primary school.
The Fish Hoek valley is a small microcosm of South Africa. There are a number of upper and middle-class suburbs alongside two communities with a critical lack of resources and high unemployment levels. These are Masiphumelele and Ocean View. Education levels in these communities are seriously inadequate. Economic research indicates that early childhood development is key to changing this. A study by a local NGO (Masicorp) into pre-school education in Masiphumelele shows a desperate lack in adequate ECD infrastructure:
“Inadequate nutrition, a lack of early stimulation, learning, and nurturing care, and exposure to stress adversely affect young children's development.
Investing in the early years is one of the smartest things a country can do to eliminate extreme poverty, boost shared prosperity, and create the human capital needed for economies to diversify and grow. Early childhood experiences have a profound impact on brain development—affecting learning, health, behaviour and ultimately, income.”
- World Bank Website on ECD (2017)
Enjoy reading some of our positive experiences at iThemba. Please note names have been changed.
When Lisiwe arrived at iThemba, she struggled to focus in class and to follow school rules. Now, three years later, thanks to the gifts lovingly provided by our wonderful supporters, she leaves iThemba with the skills she needs to take up her Grade 1 place in a local Primary School.
‘It’s my turn Lihle’, Amanda says softly to the friend she is pushing on the swing. Amanda is a very fragile four-year-old girl. When she started at the school she refused to eat anything and she was very shy and sensitive. Four months later she is eating enthusiastically and has gained a kilogram. It is a pleasure to see her enjoying taking turns on the swing with her friends, as well as participating in class.
Thandi is a thoughtful five-year-old boy who has been at the school for two years. ‘My train has a driver and a lot of passengers ‘ he explains to his teacher, as he adds detail to the train he is making from egg boxes and rubber cut-offs. He has struggled with expressing himself and with doing puzzles. Thandi’s teacher is from a house keeping background and has trained at the school, now qualified to teach Grade R. She said, ‘Thandi has improved very much this term, he can now do a 60 piece puzzle! I always try to be patient with him and use a soft voice to encourage him.’
Luleka’s Mom says how she loves to come to school and always tells her about what she has learnt from school each day. She reminds them at home to say grace before eating supper.