Porta Romana Education Centre Building Project Updates...

SOS Africa Charity's Porta Romana Education Centre Building Project, in Elgin South Africa

As part of their 30th Birthday celebrations, luxury lighting and furniture company Porta Romana announced an exciting new partnership with SOS Africa. Their ambition was to fully-fund the construction of an Education Centre to provide holistic support to underprivileged children attending SOS Africa's Elgin Education Programme at St Michael's Primary School. Thanks to the incredible determination of their staff and customers, not only has the £30k target been reached; but an additional £5,500 has been raised to fund an outdoor learning space for the new facility.


Education Centre Build Updates

DAY 5: Erecting the Walls

The building is really starting to take shape as the crew begin erecting the walls. It is impossible not to stare in awe at the beautiful views which form the backdrop of the new Education Centre...

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DAY 3: Building Platform Complete

By the end of Day 3, the team have completed construction of the timber platform - as you can see this gives us a great idea of the overall footprint of the building...

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 DAY 2: Constructing the Flooring & Special Visitors

Whilst assembling the flooring, the building crew enjoyed a special visit from some of the SOS Africa Children who will benefit from the Education Centre when it is complete. They even showed them how to use some of their tools...

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 DAY 1: Delivering Materials to the Build Site

The excitement is definitely building now as, after a traditional rain shower delay, our crew deliver materials and equipment to the site. Tomorrow they begin laying the foundations...

SOS Africa's Porta Romana Education Centre Building Project Begins

SOS Africa's Porta Romana Education Centre Building Project Begins

SOS Africa's Porta Romana Education Centre Building Project Begins


BUILD PREPARATION: Timber Framework/Panels Complete & Site Preparation Begins...

After a busy few days at the sawmill, the timber preparation is now complete and ready to transport to the build site where construction work will begin on Monday...

Timber Preparation for SOS Africa's Education Centre Building Project at Melkbos Sawmill, Western Cape, South Africa

Timber Preparation for SOS Africa's Education Centre Building Project at Melkbos Sawmill, Western Cape, South Africa

 Timber Preparation for SOS Africa's Education Centre Building Project at Melkbos Sawmill, Western Cape, South Africa

Meanwhile, at the site our architect Byron begins mapping out the position of the build...

SOS Africa's Education Centre Building Project at St Michael's School Elgin, Western Cape, South Africa

SOS Africa's Education Centre Building Project at St Michael's School Elgin, Western Cape, South Africa


 BUILD PREPARATION: Timber Preparation at Melkbos Sawmill

Construction work on the Porta Romana Education Centre has officially begun at the Melkbos Sawmill in the Western Cape. Over the next week the framework and outer cladding will be treated, prepared and fitted ready for assembly on site next week...

Construction of SOS Africa's Education Centre Building Project at Melkbos Sawmill, Western Cape, South Africa

Construction of SOS Africa's Education Centre Building Project at Melkbos Sawmill, Western Cape, South Africa

Construction of SOS Africa's Education Centre Building Project at Melkbos Sawmill, Western Cape, South Africa

Construction of SOS Africa's Education Centre Building Project at Melkbos Sawmill, Western Cape, South Africa


"The Porta Romana Education Centre" Designs

The "Porta Romana Education Centre" design takes the form of two “L” shaped buildings facing inward to create a central courtyard. Embracing education both inside and outside the classroom, we wanted the boundary between the two to be seamless. Our children thrive as much from learning to grow carrots, or mastering yoga as they do from conquering complex mathematical equations.

SOS Africa's Porta Romana Education Centre Building Project Designs

Within each building is a formal classroom space and an activity space for play or physical learning. Each South facing facade is a beautiful box window seat opening up to a vista of the Elgin valley. One of these windows will be in the library with the aim to inspire our children to sit there and read stories that take them on journeys around world, imagining far off and wonderful places at the same time as glancing up to appreciate the beauty of their own “back garden”. Together with local architect Byron Russell, Claudia has taken great care to consider the environment both within design layout, material choice and fabrication. 

SOS Africa's Porta Romana Education Centre Building Project Designs

The building is completely made from sustainable locally sourced and milled timber, erected in panels and then assembled on site by master craftsmen. Our classroom should not only stand the test of time but also “touch the earth lightly” as a physical entity and in its impact upon its environment.

SOS Africa's Porta Romana Education Centre Building Project Designs

We intend on using the building itself as a teaching tool to demonstrate sustainable design and building methods to the children. People spend the majority of their time in the built environment with little to no understanding of how it comes together. Byron and Claudia intend to change this for our children; who knows, they may inspire some future builders or architects. Without a doubt this building is set to be a great asset to our children, our organisation and the surrounding community.


 St Michael's Primary School Background

St Michaels is situated on Ouderbrug Farm, Grabouw. It originated as a church school to provide basic education for the farm worker’s children. St Michael's was established as a government school in the 1980’s and opened its doors to the wider community of Pineview, Grabouw in 2010. The school currently offers schooling from Grade R (pre-school) to Grade 6.

SOS Africa Charity Launches 4th Education Programme at St Michael's Farm School Elgin

Although it has many strengths including a progressive Principal and a safe campus, St Michael's School faces many challenges. In many instances, parents of children attending the school are fruit pickers reliant upon seasonal work which impacts on school attendance, parental responsibility and financial stability. Many of the children also require counselling and life skills support due to challenging backgrounds and social issues. The school itself also struggles with limited funding, large class sizes and a high drop-out rate in Grade 4. The school is also in desperate need of a Learning Support Centre. The construction of a multi-functional education centre will have an invaluable impact upon the lives of the staff and children of St Michael's Primary School.