Although Masicorp’s projects largely provide opportunities for the young learners in Masiphumelele we also recognize that the training of the teachers and administrative staff that work with the students is crucial for improving their learning experience. Last year we were made aware of a funding opportunity for Ukhano Primary School Headmaster, Michael Thyali to attend the Postgraduate Diploma in Management Practice for School Leaders at UCT in 2014. The program leads to a nationally recognized qualification and is targeted at School Principals currently leading Primary or High Schools in South Africa. It recognizes that while School Principals may be excellent teachers, they have probably never received the sort of management training that will make them effective leaders, particularly in schools with limited resources and large numbers of learners.
With the help of Masicorp volunteer, Fran Louden, Michael completed his application last year and was delighted to have been accepted onto the course for 2014. Competition was tough as the programme is fully funded by the NPO Principal’s Academy and costs approximately 200,000 Rand per principal. The intensive selection procedure involved visits to the school by the selectors before Michael was invited to apply.
Earlier this week The Principals Academy hosted Michael and his family at Café Roux with an invited audience of local residents where Bruce Probyn (ex headmaster of Herschel School) spoke about the challenges of leading a school. Bruce is part of a team of former education professionals who now work with The Principals Academy to coach and mentor course attendees through the training programme at UCT. Michael can expect a weekly visit as he progresses through the course and upskills his teaching experience to a management level.
The Principals Academy is a section 18(a) trust set up to administer donor funding to meet the costs of the educational program. Many of the Nordhoek residents attending the event expressed an interest in donating towards the costs of Michael’s tuition fees and so assisting the Principals Acadamy to provide the mentoring support to Michael. We know from the success of our bursary students how crucial effective mentoring is to success in higher education. If you would like to help please feel free to contact the trustees John Le Roux (firstname.lastname@example.org, 021 689 8975) or June Forte (email@example.com, 021 286 0009).
Although most of Masicorp’s projects in Masiphumelele are focused on education we do also assist local entrepreneurs. It is estimated that fewer than 30% of the population have regular employment and for many starting their own small business could provide a path out of poverty. For committed entrepreneurs in Masi there is a range of planning and financial advice, and ongoing business mentoring support that can be offered. Perhaps the best place to start is to look at the example of some of the innovative businesses already operating in the community.
Masicorp’s longest business relationship is with Nondyebo Art products who operate out of a converted garage in the owner’s house. Nondyebo sells linen and artwork designed by herself with the help of her family and several women from the community that she employs. There is an extensive gallery of her products available to view on the Masicorp website and with the help of Masicorp’s Jane Philippi, Nondyebo has been able to sell products online in the United States. Of all the help that has been provided by Masicorp perhaps Nondeyebo’s biggest break came when the Duchess of Cornwall visited Masiphumelele in November 2011. After calling in at some of the crèches in the township the Duchess also visited Nondeyebo’s workshop and spent R3000 on gifts for her family back in the UK. It is tempting to think that somewhere in the hallways of Buckingham Palace there are samples of Nondeyebo’s work hanging today.
Business has been so good for Nondeyebo that she has been able to open a stall in the Blue Shed at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront. As the most visited tourist destination in South Africa the location offers her unprecedented access to international tourists with the recent Christmas holiday period being one of her busiest ever sales periods. Here is Masicorp’s business advisor, Alan McKelvey, with Nondeyebo’s sister at the Blue Shed earlier this month.