Elgin Education Programme
SOS Africa’s Elgin Education Programme was established in January 2019 in partnership with St Michael’s Primary School to fund the education and care of disadvantaged children from the surrounding communities.
After the successes of the charity’s Grabouw and Somerset West Education Programmes, the SOS Africa Trustees decided to broaden the scope of the organisation’s support to partner with a rural-based school. Situated on a fruit farm, with a passionate Principal and dedicated staff, St Michael’s Primary has proven to be an excellent choice and the partnership has flourished.
Pineview and Snake Park Information
The children sponsored by SOS Africa's Elgin Education Programme live either on Elgin Orchards Farm or in Snake Park Township. There are an estimated 60,000 people living in these communities and work is usually seasonal as most employment is found on the surrounding fruit farms. A significant challenge in the area is the high seasonality and the resultant poverty-related issues that this presents. During the fruit picking season, there is a shortage of labour but for the remaining 8 months of the year, unemployment is stated as being between 60 and 70 percent. The impact of this on the community is significant.
The issues stemming from "seasonality" severely impact upon the mental and physical health of these communities; where the off-season results in an increase in domestic and community violence as well as child abuse and other such issues, during “the season” children generally return to empty homes without any parental support and are at their most vulnerable.
SOS Africa's Elgin Education Programme
SOS Africa's Elgin Education Programme was founded in response to the overwhelming number of children in need of education throughout the Pineview and Snake Park communities. We began by supporting 6 scholarship scheme children from a modest container based at the centre of the St Michael's School Campus. Despite the school’s dedication to its students, it is extremely difficult for St Michael’s graduates to secure entry into quality high schools. SOS Africa’s aim was to partner with the school and provide a learning support programme for students during the mornings. In the afternoons our staff provide a holistic education and care programme for children with academic potential from the poorest backgrounds.
Within a few months of its inauguration the charity received generous funding from UK-based business Porta Romana which would see this partnership grow beyond our wildest expectations. Celebrating their 30th Anniversary, this furniture and lighting company, offered to raise enough funds to pay for the construction of a new SOS Africa Education Centre on the outskirts of the school, which would significantly increase potential scope of our support.
Just 6 months later, the construction of the “Porta Romana Education Centre” was complete. The exciting new facility accommodates 3 classrooms, an office and conference room, a kitchen and a counselling room in addition to an outside learning space. As a consequence, the numbers of children supported by the Education Centre have since grown to 38 learning support students and 16 scholarship scheme children with additional growth planned next year.
Since joining our Elgin Education Programme, the SOS Africa children have benefited from academic support including extra tuition, homework assistance and student mentoring. Our holistic support programme also provides a broad range of activities including art lessons, sports, occupational therapy and even Kung Fu sessions. Meanwhile, our learning support programmes have already enabled us to address the learning difficulties of many children attending the school.
It is our hope that the exciting new partnership forged between St Michael's Primary School and SOS Africa's Elgin Education Programme will help empower the lives of many disadvantaged children from the local communities through education for generations.
Find out about SOS Africa's other Education Programmes...