A project started in a backyard in Tafelsig to help children with their school work is now working with 200 high school drop-outs and unemployed people who want to finish their schooling.
It was in 2003 that Beverley Moffert, 57, first decided to start the initiative which was registered as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in 2018.
Now, through Aspire Community Academy (ACA), she is running a programme through which people can work toward getting their adult basic education and training (ABET) certification.
But there is so much demand for her services, which continued throughout lockdown, that she has moved into space offered to her by the Anglican Church as well as Tafelsig High School.
Ms Moffert is not a teacher, has enlisted the help of qualified teachers from schools such as West End Primary, Tafelsig High and Bishops Diocesan College who all volunteer their time to the project.
“There are so many drop-outs and unemployed people in my area. I needed to do something and wanted to help my community,” said Ms Moffert.
“Our people are sitting on corners and we need to put them back into school. I went from street-to-street, inviting everyone to come. It doesn’t matter what you go through, having an education is important. We can’t sit down and do nothing, we must help,” she said.
The organisation has also networked with colleges and universities, to help the students find tertiary education placements or jobs.
“Ons is moeg van swaar kry. We must do this now so that the next generation can see they don’t need to struggle,” said Ms Moffert, who funds the project herself.
Bronagh Hammond, WCED spokesperson said the Western Cape Education Department supported all efforts to assist students through the ABET programme.
Student Na-ilah Petersen said as her friends left the programme one by one, it became more difficult for her.
“I felt alone but I had to continue. I passed three subjects, I never thought this was possible. Life happened to me when I was younger and going back to school now was the best thing I could do for myself,” she said.
Shihaam Brown said the night school had helped her attract new job offers. Without a matric certificate, she said, she had battled to find work even through she had some experience. “I’m extremely grateful for the wonderful opportunity Beverley has given me.”
Tafelsig High School teacher Edward Thuynsma, who volunteers at the NGO, said he had joined from the onset as a teacher and as a consultant.
“I like helping people and I have been working in Tafelsig my whole life as a teacher. It is definitely needed as (pupils are dropping out) at an alarming rate, especially during this pandemic,” he said.
“I wish we could help more people and those who have the resources such as books, and material to make our learning better, to come forward and lend a helping hand,” said Mr Thuynsma.
Ms Moffert is still in need of proper desks, chairs, printers, white boards, chalk boards, stationary and other materials. For more information or to help, contact Ms Moffert at 064 258 3955.