What we’ve learn

2010: Why after-school programs.

4 in every 10 kids that enter school in Grade 1 dropout by Grade 12 because they hit challenges so hard and so numerous that they lose their hope and are forced out of the system. Education is the way out of poverty, it is the way into hope. But first you have to make it through the system.

2011: The value of a safe space.

Safety, belonging, identity. This is what changes the life of a child. It is the people in an after-school program space that make a child feel seen, that make them hope, that make them believe. These people make the difference. Before you could teach you had to create a space of safety, a space of trust.

2012: One heart. Many minds.

Our decision was to work with people whose values aligned with ours. That meant a lot of things but primarily it meant we worked with people, not for them. Building true collaboration requires communion, not membership. We weren’t a service that people signed up for, we were a movement that worked together. Our aligned values and vision for our communities shaped our collaborations and meant others were easily invited to share in the knowledge and resources that we had access to.

2013: Oversharing is under-rated.

Once people understand that redistribution is in their own hands, it is amazing the kinds of resources that we could harness.

2014: “Starting” a network.

The bottom 80% of after-school programs don’t get government money and aren’t known to corporate funders. Thousands of children were in their care, and they were changing lives without essential support. We were going to do anything we could to make that easier.

2015: Connecting the dots.

Every day we see the power of like-minded people working together. If your dream is equal education for everyone, we want to meet you and we want to introduce you to some of the most incredible people who are experts in that field. Joining forces with people who believe in what you believe is how you get things done.

2016: Give us your stuff.

Any good Robin Hood should know who has excess and what that excess can do for others. By knowing who to talk to for stationery, study guides, library books; we could easily gather vital components for a student’s academic journey. Knowing what people have to give makes it a lot easier to ask them for it.

2017: Not just what you have, also what you know.

Educational capital refers to the education you have that can be shared with others to build skills or knowledge. Educational capital never depletes when given, it only grows. Knowing what education capital you have helps you help others.

2018: Grow. Steady. Not ready?

We weren’t prepared for the number of people doing this work. We will never doubt that people do extraordinary things in this country. We will never doubt that committed hearts can change lives. And we will never doubt that even the smallest amount of support can make a difference.

2019: Making a mountain out of a molehill.

How do you meet the needs of a network of 200 programs? You get a whole lot of other people involved. Outliers had to be a movement. It had to be numerous people, places and organisations coming together. By encouraging everyone we knew, and then everyone they knew, we built up connections around the city.

2020: Mass mobilising a city.

What was your 2020 like? No doubt there was a time you felt hopeless. But there was also a time you felt like you needed to do something. That’s humanity. Our greatest moments have always been when we have chosen to reach out to someone else. That’s what our 2020 was like. Having spun webs of connectivity around Cape Town we were uniquely positioned to be a movement of positive action throughout the city by simply giving people a chance to do something.

2021: Curriculum recovery.

With so much in-class teaching time lost last year, many learners progressed despite learning gaps in their 2020 grade-specific content. This puts these learners at a higher risk of school dropout. After-school programs are ideally placed to help learners remain engaged in learning. As a community, our focus became curriculum recovery for all our learners and tutors were trained to assess learning gaps and support catch-up and revision.

CurrRE training