One of the core tenets of the Creating Schools Programme is a wholistic approach to education. Instead of focusing solely on the school curriculum, the programme considers a whole range of factors that influence a child’s development, including the welfare of the broader community, the natural and built environment that children find themselves in, and an understanding of economic and environmental sustainability. In addition, the school provides support for the future development of the learners, looking at things like career choices, and where possible, financial aid for further studies.
Gugu Sigamla, who attended Seven Fountains Primary School, is the perfect example of how the support that the Creating Schools Programme offers can make a difference beyond the boundaries of the school walls. Through committed mentorship and assistance with living costs, Gugu has been able to continue her studies at UCT, transferring from Actuarial Science to Quantitative Management, which according to Gugu, is a “wonderful degree” that “offers a lot of opportunities for the workplace like Management Consulting Specialist, Risk Analyst, and Operation Research Analyst “. But perhaps more important than the fact that Gugu will likely have a successful business career, is that through her interaction with Creating Schools, Gugu now recognises the value of mentorship, and how important it is to help others:
“I have a passion to contribute back to the community. Since first year I have been able to help Matric students in my former high school during school vacations. Me and my friends from other Universities…. assist the students with difficult subjects like Maths, Science and Accounting. But, mostly we try by all means to motivate them towards succeeding and also help them in making informed decisions about their career choices. This year I participated in the career management workshops offered by the University so I can contribute more to the students. The participation led me to joining a reach out programme called, ‘Help a Learner Beyond School’. We will be given resources and other tools that we require in helping Grade 11 and Matric students in bettering career decisions. I have also been involved in other societies with the same goal to contribute back to the community, like SHAWCO and Dell Young Leaders. I took leadership as well this year; I am in the Residence committee as a Floor Representative”.
So while it is essential that South Africa has a strong and resilient education system, it is also vital that we try and inculcate an environment of compassion and community-mindedness so that we can help people to help each other, creating role models for future generations. We need more people like Gugu:
“One of my biggest dreams is that through my success I may reach the disadvantaged and assist them to make their own dreams to come true.”
Well done Gugu – you’re well on your way to making your dreams come true!
Photograph courtesy of Cape Chameleon.