A small South African town gives a Huge helping Hand

Hout Bay is small by any world standards, tiny in fact….except for the fact that a shanty town of some 40,000 poor folk have blistered on to its infrastructure in the desperate hope of finding a future for themselves.

What was a small fishing village nestling in the mountains outside of Cape Town has become the focus of a desperate need for better education and the striving of poor folk to give the next generation a better slice of the pie.

Like so many South African towns, the vast influx of folk from the country areas, all in search of work and seeking to learn the skills of a modern world to support their families, is in a crisis of massive proportions.  In answer to this and in the spirit of peace and reconciliation, Hout Bay people are learning to live as one community.

Helping Hands

The Rotary Club of Hout Bay, also small by comparison with its worldwide associate clubs with only thirty members, has decided to punch well above its weight in order to make the difference.

The club has developed a bursary scheme, funded by individuals from South Africa, UK, Holland and Switzerland which aims to provide a significant part of the cost of sending a student to university or college. The bursary pays not only for fees but also in many cases, accommodation, books, and living expenses. Students are encouraged to ‘help themselves’ by finding the balance of funds for their education either from family and friends or by obtaining a student loan.

Student Mentors

A key part of the scheme is to provide mentors to help the students on the transition from shack to society via university. Ten wonderful mentors, rising to thirteen in 2017, have been mentoring thirteen youngsters in this picture who have been given a new chance for a new life.    Each of the mentors have become like  “foster parents” to guide the students into a new society, help them with  study skills and adjust to a different society they dreamed of and, above all, to hold their own on worldly issues.

As the students graduate they automatically become entitled to become members of the newly created Rotaract Club of Hout Bay… essence the club becomes the alumni organisation for the bursary scheme. Students are selected from the local High Schools and their Interact Clubs – indeed Amy Braaf (see below) was the President of one of the Interact clubs.

A further four bursaries are being offered during 2017 with an additional bursary aimed at providing funding for someone to train in trade skills such as plumbing, masonry, carpentry and electrical.

Rotarians Keith and Alison Bull, manage the entire administrative aspects of the scheme and oversight process with President Hans Heinrich-Kuhn looking on.

The Good Folk

In the case of Hout Bay, the somewhat ‘reserved’ mentors are Pat & Kevin Whelan, Viv Koetzee, Tracy Morris, Christina Kuhn, Rotarians Hans Kuhn, Alison Bull, Athol Rice, Butch Liebenberg and Keith Bull.  New mentors taking the reins during 2017 are Heidi Osborne, and Brenda Williams– all “stalwarts” of the Hout Bay area community.

The  happy students  in the photo are Amy Braaf (studying BEd at Varsity College), Ncedo Jako (graduated as a Radiographer with accommodation sponsored by Morton & Partners and now employed by them), Azola Nyuka (studying Public Management at Cape Peninsula University of Technology [CPUT]), Siphe Xhaso (studying Agriculture at CPUT Wellington); Pozisa Nqenga (studying Marine Science at CPUT); moving on after basic studies is Aphendule Sixishe (to study IT at University of the Western Cape [UWC]) ; Andrea Mitchell (studying Human Resources at CPUT) and also Lungile Nohuza (studying Retail Business Management at CPUT).

Thought:    Isn’t that the most wonderful picture of fulfillment you could ever see?

Thank you Rotary Hout Bay.

THE BOARD 2016/2017
President: Hans Kuhn; President elect: Joelle Searle; Past President: Peter Dutton; Secretary: Alison Rice; Treasurers: Colin Sutherland & Denise Hopkins;
Club Services: Harriet Purser; Vocational/Educational: Keith Bull; International: Colin Sutherland; Community Services: Peter Dutton; Youth Services: Christine Paterson
Membership & Development: Strategic Committee;  Public Relations: Christine Paterson; Foundation: Don Peters