Joined forces open new Hangberg pre-primary

Education MEC Debbie Schafer and Public Works MEC Donald Grant were among the invited guests at the official opening of Hangberg Pre-Primary School, on Friday January 20.

The school for 120 pre-school children opened its doors in October last year.

In 2015, the Hangberg Educational Trust (HET) entered into a joint venture with Sentinel Primary School, and with the support of government departments, Sentinel’s school governing body and principal Claudene Overmeyer, contractors and many funders and supporters, the school was established.

Some funds were raised by NGOs while the rest came from the Rotary Club.

During construction, the school, which at the time accommodated 60 children, ran out of two classrooms at Sentinel Primary School.

Now the school has four new classrooms, two Grade 0 ones for children aged 4 to 5 and two – one English and one Afrikaans – Grade R ones for children aged five to six, as well as an aftercare facility.

At the launch, Jikeleza’s Marimba band provided light entertainment while guests toured the new school.

After a short talk by Mark Allen, chairman
of Hangberg Educational Trust, Mr Grant handed over the ribbon-cutting scissors to Rotarians.

Ian Pursch, Werner Schuster and Friedrich Schaefer represented Rotarian clubs from Cape Town and Germany and everyone else who helped to make the new eco-friendly building a reality.

Ms Schafer said the education department had limited funding and community collaboration and public-private partnerships were needed to make initiatives such as the one started in Hangberg a reality.

“The impact of the new school is tangible as seen through the school attendance rate, parents’ engagement at meetings and a good pay rate of the R300 monthly school fees,” said Marquerithe Schreuder, of the Hangberg Educational Trust.

“The community benefits from employment opportunities. For example, all of the eight teaching staff members are from the com-
munity, barring one teacher from Mitchell’s Plain.

“As the building was designed with an amphitheatre, the premises can be used for open-air events by the new school and Sentinel Primary School. Further, excess solar electricity generated by the new building’s OneSolar panels are provided back to the primary school which leads to reduced electricity costs.”

Most importantly, she said, the children were excited to come to school.

Tania Gray, a founding member of Hangberg Educational Trust, said: “It not only takes a village to raise a child, it sometimes takes the world.”

* Hout Bay residents can support the school by volunteering for its Wordworks early literacy programme, which is reaching just under 150 Grade R pupils, or by joining the “Support-a- child” initiative. Contact the trust at
hangbergeducationaltrust@gmail.com or call Tania Gray at 082 491 5626 for more information.