Building a better future

A variety of sandcastles decorated Hout Bays beach on Saturday March 9 for the annual sandcastle competition, which was organised by Valley Pre-Primary School to raise funds for educational bursaries for children from less privileged communities.

It was not a day for the beach as puffy grey clouds hovered over Hout Bay and the gusty wind swept through the bay, yet, families and supporting businesses came out in their numbers to build sandcastles and help raise funds for Valley Pre-Primary School on Saturday morning.

School secretary, Charmaine Bosch, said the annual event is run by the parents of the school to help raise funds for bursaries for underprivileged children from the Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg communities.

Event coordinator, Colitha Janse van Rensburg, and committee head, Annie Hanekom, ensured a smooth running of the 23rd annual sandcastle competition. 

Ms Janse van Rensburg, who has a five-year-old at the school currently in Grade R, said countless hours went into the planning of the event from getting permits from the City of Cape Town to organising the prizes and sponsorships.

“We started planning last year in October to establish a foundation so that the new parents who arrived this year just build on to getting the event done. As a parent you inherit all the portfolios that the school runs so every year new parents come in and you get involved from day one,” said Ms Janse van Rensburg.

When I started last year as a new parent, we had to pull the event together from scratch in four weeks, that’s when we decided we needed to start ahead and give a handover to the new parents. The weather was bad on Saturday, it was really windy and raining but the people still came out to support. I overheard one of the vendors say that this event has become bigger than the weather,” she said.

The funds raised will be used as bursaries for 10 new pupils who will also receive follow-up bursaries to attend Kronendal Primary School and Camps Bay High.

“The funds we have to raise is substantial. Last year we raised over R180 000 and this year we were looking to raise even more. We haven’t tallied up the final figures but I think we got close,” said said Ms Janse van Rensburg.

All the parents did an amazing job because there’s a thousand things that needs to get done for the permit… we need to get consent from the surrounding businesses, private residents, you need safety officers, local EMS, insurance and so much more when sending an application to the City of Cape Town,” she said.

Ms Bosch said the event always had a great response as the parents themselves raised the funds for the bursaries. Valley Pre-Primary was founded by a group of enthusiastic parents 51 years ago and has over 150 pupils.

“We are a foundation phase school, so children would attend Pre-Grade R and Grade R with us before moving to primary school. We’ll now have an interview process for issuing the bursaries and the parents need to show that they’ll be involved in the child’s education and the school events.

Some of the children who we accept don’t even speak English but they adapt every quickly. We also offer them language therapy, play therapy, gymnastics and a few other activities so that the children can reach their full potential,” said Ms Bosch.