A Book Donation at the English Hub

We recently reported on the makeover at the English Hub in Ukhanyo Primary School.

The English Hub has now received an fantastic donation from Neil van Blerk of Time Out Creations. He and his team dropped off eleven boxes of brand new, plastic covered children’s books.

20170620_152902

This means that from next term the Hub will be able to start a library system where learners can borrow books and take them home to read. Here is Ukhanyo Primary school principal, Michael Tyhali, and Grade 3 learners enjoying the new reading materials.

20170622_112827

Thank you to Neil and his family for their incredibly generous gift. These books will be much loved and much used!

The English Hub at Ukhanyo Primary School

jcRegular readers of our blog will be aware of our English Lab Programme, which ran for five successful years at Ukhanyo Primary School. The programme was led by Jan O’Connor, with the help of many volunteers and school staff. We were desperately sad to say goodbye to Jan as she moved on to a new project in Jeffreys Bay just before Christmas, but that did not mean the end of our work in the English Lab.

The project is a teacher-centred, skills-transfer programme, which focused on the teaching staff at the school and how they can most effectively teach the learners English as a First Additional Language. We continue to provide the hub with activities for teachers and students to engage with. This now takes place in a warm, light, and spacious setting, thanks to a substantial refurbishment. We thank Neil and his skilful team at Time Out Creations who have done a wonderful job revamping the space and we are also very happy with our brand new curtains from A.C.G. Manufacturers. In addition the lab also has a new flooring and AV system.

ksWe also have a new team in place to continue the work that Jan and her team began. We now welcome Katherine Smith and her classroom assistant Dolly. Katherine and Dolly have started the year by focusing on developing relationships with the Grade 3 teachers and supporting them in teaching English. They are also developing learning materials and resources to use in the new English Hub, along with turning the space into a fun and engaging, print-rich language centre.

Initially, mornings are focused on providing support for the Grade 3 teachers who have consistently demonstrated enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. In time, the Hub will offer support to the teachers of other grades as well as supporting the long running MasiFunde reading project. This programme currently focuses on supporting 140 Grade 4 learners. Jane Futter and her team of volunteers work with small groups of struggling readers to improve their reading skills and thereby building their confidence.

In addition, in the second term the Hub will be open on specified days from the end of the school day until 16:00 for learners to participate in reading activities, art, music etc. This “After school” programme, will be facilitated by Dolly and will initially be open to eager Grade 5s and interested teachers.

At the time of writing we are just waiting for the new furniture to arrive, but as you can see this has not stopped the eager learners from getting involved. Much of the teaching equipment seen here has been provided thanks to our ongoing relationship with Cape Town based tour operator Absolut Tours through the Pack With A Purpose programme. In addition we also received a generous donation from UK sponsors for books and teaching materials in memory of a wife and mother.

Our thanks to everyone who has helped us to continue providing this support to Ukhanyo School – from our teaching volunteers to the tradesmen who have renovated the facility and of course the many generous donors that have made this project possible.

Ukhanyo School takes the Jaguar Primary School Challenge

Last week two teams of learners from Ukhanyo Primary School were invited to participate in the Jaguar Primary School Challenge. The teams joined learners from 30 other local schools at the Cape Town Science Centre in Observatory for the race day. Masicorp was pleased to be able to assist by providing transport and outfits for the competing teams.

Jaguar-Primary-School-Challenge-Logo-2013-Med-300x179

Competing learners are organised into teams of four pupils to design a race car out of 160g/m² card, complete with wheels, body and even a mini driver. The aim is to design and manufacture a body shell to fit a standard chassis using template software before printing/cutting their designs onto card and then making their car ready to race.

Each team consisted of a team manager, manufacturing engineer, design engineer and graphic designer, who was responsible for the team’s identity and vehicle colour scheme. This was the area that Ukhanyo School excelled in, with a 10 out of 10 score awarded by the judges. The team logo’s designed by the learners are shown below.

pic1The teams were able to participate in the race day events, which included a series of races using the final version of the vehicles on a compressed air powered race track at the science centre. It was a hugely successful day out for the Ukhnayo learners who developed their team work skills as well as being introduced to digital manufacturing and computer aided design.

Well done to the Ukhnayo learners and their teachers for arranging participation in this exciting event.

2016 – A Great Year at the Maths Lab

project1The Maths lab at Ukhanyo School continues to produce extremely encouraging results. Following on from the practices developed last year, each day starts with a “morning dance”, and then learners work for 10 minutes on revision sheets that cover concepts taught over the course of the entire year, thus giving the children daily reminders of Maths skills.

The biggest challenge was to convince teachers to swap lengthy lectures for student drills, games, and practice activities. Hence, we established a weekly faculty meeting to discuss how students learn best and what activities produce the desired results.

Over the year, we watched the teachers adopt the new ideas about  Maths instruction – especially when they saw the effects that these “new strategies” had on the learners, the improvement of classroom management, (students no longer bored) and the impressive test scores – just look at this improvement:

pic1

pic2pic3pic4pic5

Masicorp will be showcasing the Maths Lab at the Horses for Causes race day at Kenilworth Racecourse on Feb 11th. Entry is free so why not co e along for some racing and support ourselves and the other NGO’s participating on the day. Further details are available here:

Free Computer Training at Masiphumelele Library

At the end of last year we reported on the success of the graduates of the advanced computer literacy class held at Masiphumelele library. This is a programme that we were able to offer thanks to an overseas donation from a personal donor in the United States. We are pleased to report that funds have been received to continue the programme in 2017.

Over 7500 people-hours of tuition were given in 2016. Basic classes, are taught by Nyameko Nzuzo 3 mornings each week and cater mainly for young adults from the community. Classes last for 2.5 hours, one person per computer. Nyameko has been operating a unique ‘open class’ approach, working with students at all levels on creative projects which cover all commonly used skills and techniques of Microsoft Office Applications. The main focus is on Word Processing and effective use of the Internet.

lib1

Advanced classes take place two afternoons per week, and are run by Nyasha Sithole. This “certificated “course which is more formalised and challenging has gained a good reputation in the community as attendance has increased by almost 10%.

Students from both classes report better work opportunities after training with staff at the library. Many are now employed and utilising the skills they gained on the programme.

Children‘s classes are offered by Nyameko Nzuzo twice a week, and he has trained a group of youngsters in basic computer skills. The most dedicated students also received certificates at the graduation.

lib2

Free internet access, with support is also available and over 11 385 free Internet sessions (45 minutes) were received in 2016

When the computers are not being used for training, the library operates a free ‘internet cafe’ style facility where community members may use the computers to produce CV’s, access to information about employment and training opportunities, use email, work on their studies and generally participate in the digital age. There are trained staff permanently present to assist community members to make the most of their internet sessions.

lib3

Hiking with the Learners from Ukhanyo School

Masicorp has recently started working with Cape Town based Active Hearts to provide outdoor activities for the children at Ukhanyo Primary School. Active Hearts have a mission to involve and train children, from differing, disadvantaged areas across Cape Town, in various sports and activities not normally available to them.

This very much matches our awareness of the importance of physical education. As Active Hearts state on their own website:

The benefits of sport and activity are immense and far-reaching, giving confidence, teaching discipline, teamwork and a sense of security and belonging.   A ‘family;’ being part of something you can rely on; equipping the children to face the very real challenges in their lives with a renewed optimism.

Active Hearts have been providing monthly hikes for selected children from Ukhanyo School. School sports coach Nceba Jonas has brought groups of around 25 learners to meet with Active Hearts and together they have hiked through the local mountains and along the beautiful beach at Nordhoek. The day typically ends with a picnic on the beach. We are pleased to share some of the most recent photographs from this month’s hike.

This will be an on ongoing partnership, with the next event planned to take the learners over the mountain and into the slightly different environment of the Constantia Valley. Our thanks to the team at Active Hearts for enabling the Masiphumelele learners to experience the wonders of their local environment.

hike5

Reinsurance Group of America (RGA) visit Ukhanyo School

We were delighted to recently welcome some of the local and international staff of the Reinsurance Group of America (RGA) to Ukhanyo School last week. RGA are an international global life and health reinsurance company with operations in 27 countries, including offices in both Cape Town and Johannesburg. Their visit was part of their giving 67 minutes for Mandela Day, which is an annual event in South Africa. Nelson Mandela fought for social justice for 67 years and the concept of the day is for everyone (individuals and corporations) to give at least 67 minutes of their time to Nelson Mandela has fought for social justice for 67 years. We’re asking you to start with 67 minutes.

Our visitors from RGA generously provided an incredible 1,830 pre-prepared packs of gifts for the children, which were distributed one to each child. Every child in each grade received a pack. Quite a logistical feat for the visitors, staff and Masicorp volunteers. Each pack contained learning materials, health products (e.g., toothpaste) and healthy food (oranges and apples), as well as a few sweets as a treat.

It was also an opportunity for the staff of RGA to meet our team and learn about our projects at the school. Everyone was able to see for themselves by visiting the Maths, English and Science Labs as well as the new running track that has now been installed at the school. The Maths Lab in particular has benefited from a kind donation from RGA and was one of the highlights of the tour. We are hugely grateful for the interest of RGA in our work and hope that this can be the start of a longer term relationship as we further develop the sports and teaching facilities at the school.

There was a lot of excitement among the pupils with their bags of goodies, but it was lovely to see them taking the time to thank the visitors personally. This included one of the pupils giving a hand written note of thanks to one of our visitors before they departed. Our team, the school staff and the learners all hope it will not be too long before the next visit.

ms10