1. Enhancing Enviro-ed

    The new CAPS curriculum is full of environmental matters that students are required to get the hang of. We help bring these topics to life through engaging classroom-based lessons, but also through experiential learning. Pearston’s learners have been given the chance to not only learn about birds, bugs, bees and beasts, but to also to spend time exploring the Plains of Camdeboo Private Nature Reserve, and on occasion, Mount Camdeboo Private Nature Reserve and Camdeboo National Park. We have also hosted the team of environmental educators from Bayworld Museum on a few occasions, who set up exhibits and carry out lessons for Pearston’s kids – wise and wonderful, great and small.

  2. Home-grower’s Association

    We have helped initiate an association of small farmers who grow vegetables in their own gardens for both home food security but also as a means to earn an income from their land. This group has named themselves ‘Isakhula’ (starting small). We have provided access to seeds and support, as well as a group saving’s scheme.

  3. Telematics

    Pearston’s schools experience the same, if not worse, chronic teacher shortages as other Eastern Cape schools do. This shortage over the last four years of Sophakama’s involvement in Pearston has been a key reason for the 94% matric passrate of 2011 to have plummeted to 24% in 2014. As such we have worked with the NBI to install Stellenbosch University’s satellite telematics system into Pearston Senior Secondary School so that there are daily Grade 10-12 lessons in six different subjects available to the learners. It’s our hope that access to high quality educators – albeit they in Stellenbosch – will help these children to successfully navigate their way through the system

  4. ECD Training

    We are currently assisting all of Pearston’s preschool practitioners and dedicated volunteers in obtaining their NQF Level 4 training to become ECD teachers, through Khululeka Community Education Development Centre

  5. School Food Gardens

    There are six schools in Pearston and as of 2013 there are now six school food gardens in Pearston too. We assisted our local schools in enclosing areas for gardening, and in the provision of seasonally appropriate seeds, as well as on-going support through the connection with Isakhula (home-growers’ association).

  6. Matric Superstars

    In this somewhat isolated town, often students do not know what steps need to be taken to ensure their place after school in a tertiary institution. We have been guiding the top Matric students through the process of applying for university, as well as helping them to source funding to persue their academic goals. In 2014 we were able to offer two full scholarships to two of Pearston’s Matric Superstars.

  7. Protective Behaviors

    Five local advocates of children’s rights have gone through Protective Bahaviours (WA) training. This training provides a toolkit for caregivers to protect children against unsafe situations, particuarly agaisnt sexual violence. The programme works best as a collaborative effort between schools, communities and parents and arose following a spate of offences which took place in our town in 2014.

  8. Preschool support

    With a team of excellent volunteers, we monitor and support three preschools in Pearston. We have partnered with the schools to build new playgrounds, upgrade old playgrounds, to build a new classroom at an overcrowded school, and to supply books and and other educational resources

  9. SciFest

    Each year the largest science festival in Africa is hosted in our province – the Eastern Cape. Each year, we select the top learners from Pearston Secondary School to attend 4 days of workshops, lecures, experiments and shows with some of the best scientific minds in the world. The SciFest provides an opportunity for learners to think out of the box about where they can go and what they can do with their lives. It exposes them to a host of careers they’ve potentially never dreamed of before and gives information on bursaries and scholarships to take these new ambitions foreward.

  10. Takalani Sesame

    Sophakama Community Partnership, through the Mai Family Foundation, has been an important part of Takalani Sesame’s (the South African version of the international children’s educational television programme, Sesame Street) outreach into the Eastern Cape. In 2014 we introduced the kits into our local schools.

  11. Holiday Programmes

    Noting the lack of recreational activities in town, Sophakama initiated a school holiday programme in December 2012. On the first day of the programme over 300 children showed up! Since then we have gained the support of a number of other local institutions to run programmes each and every holiday, from World Literacy events to the Pearston Amazing Race!

  12. WordWorks

    Wordworks, a Cape Town based organisation aims to “change lives through literacy”. The team there have developed a comprehensive and simple to use early literacy programme that includes assessment tools and then a step-by-step learning journey that takes learners and paired volunteers to a higher level of early literacy. The programme has been developed for Grade R – Grade 2’s. Sophakama has a team of three trained ECD practitioners who are rolling out this great initiative in our local Primary Schools.

  13. Music Lessons

    There’s no question that Pearston’s got talent – and one gentleman in town is making sure that this talent is developed – at least musical talent! Interested students at the town’s two primary schools can attend music lessons twice a week with a local musician who is teaching kids to read music as well as play the recorder.

  14. Eco-Clubs

    At each of the two local primary schools we have afternoon eco-clubs for scholars who have a passion for nature and the outdoors. Both clubs have created their own environmental pledges, which guide their weekly activities. These range from local anti-poaching campaigns to making sure classroom lights are switched off at the end of the day.

    Participating kids earn certificates of merit for each completed task and at the end of the year the top 12 children from each school are rewarded with a trip to a National Park.

  15. [email protected]

    For one reason or another, a number of children have been left out or pulled out of the formal education system. To counter the future effects that this will inevitably have on the lives of those children, Sophakama undertook research to identify non-schooling learners in Pearston. Older children (post grade 3) were referred to the Department of Social Development, and younger children became a part of our temporary [email protected] initiative. The programme lasted 4-5 months and offered basic numeracy and literacy lesson’s in the child’s own home in exchange for a committment from the parents to enroll their children into school at the start of the next academic year.