A New Classroom for Masifunde

Over the past month everyone at Ukhnayo Primary School has become used to seeing this bright shiny new classroom that has appeared on the school grounds.

Container classroom 2The container classroom was sourced by Masicorp following an incredibly generous donation from Ann Salmon – the founder of our Masifunde (Let’s Read) English programme. Ann only resides in South Africa for a short period of the year and hence will not yet have seen the new facility. However, we are pleased to report that it is getting lots of use and has become an invaluable addition to the school.

Jane reading with boyThe new classroom is used exclusively for Masifunde. Through the Masifunde programme the learners at Ukhnayo receive extra tuition in English that will enable them to better make the transition from teaching delivered in isiXhosa to English at Grade 10. For some children it literally is starting from scratch, and they must start by learning the alphabet. We are fortunate to have learning materials from the Wordworks programme to support the new learners. As the children become older and advance on to more detailed reading materials the Masifunde volunteers have had to download stories from the internet, which they have printed and laminated for the children to read. An unexpected bonus of Ann’s kind donation is that the exchange rate has left us with a small surplus that we can use to buy a series of proper storybooks that will be more appropriate for the older grades.

Kids readingMasifunde is a big project and we have a number of volunteers that give up one or two mornings a week (08.30 – 12.30) to help small groups of children (4-6 children) in half-hourly time slots. We always need more volunteers for this rewarding programme and if you live locally and feel you could give us your time please do consider getting in touch. No formal teaching experience is required and we will provide training and the use of teaching materials. And of course you will get to spend time in the smartest new classroom on the Ukhanyo School site.

You can contact Masicorp through our website contact page – please CLICK HERE

A Visit from our Patron, Dame Linda Dobbs

Earlier this week we were delighted to receive a visit from our patron, Dame Linda Dobbs. Dame Linda made history when she became Britain’s first non-white High Court judge, and has been a generous supporter of Masicorp for many years. Having recently retired she had the opportunity to visit Masicorp, which is just one of the many development projects she is involved in across Africa.

We began her day by taking her around the Chasmay Road campus, location of the Sewing Café as well as several other interesting NGO’s and business ventures working with the community of Masiphumelele. Special thanks to Appshed and Justice Dolls for taking the time to show Dame Linda around their work. Dame Linda spent most of her time on campus learning about the Sewing Café, and she met several of the current intake of new adult learners. We are pleased to report that business was booming at the time, with a large order of children’s dresses being prepared by past graduates.

LD5Dame Linda was here to collect another batch of track suits for the children of Ukhanyo School. After a brief stopover at the refurbished library it was over to the school where the tracksuits were to be handed over. It was an awful wet day, and the need for the tracksuits was clear for all to see as the rain and wind of a Cape winter chilled everyone. Dame Linda took the time to offer each student a few words of encouragement as they came up to collect their track suits from her.

LD14There was also time to meet the staff at the science lab, and view the student’s technology projects from earlier this year – a selection of brightly designed cell phone towers. Dame Linda was honest enough to admit that science was not her best subject, but she was clearly impressed with both the facilities and motivation of the staff. We hope that she will be able to find time for many more visits to our projects in the future, and thank her once again for the financial support that has helped us to kit out the students with warm clothes this winter.