The literacy course by NGO Mellon Educate at the Kuyasa and Ummangaliso primary schools in Khayelitsha has changed the lives of young father Banele Matiso and his one-year-old son.
He was one of the 38 parents who graduated yesterday at Kuyasa Primary following their completion of the eight-week course.
The literacy course facilitated by foundation phase and early childhood development NGO Wordworks, in partnership with Mellon Educate, was aimed at parents with children aged four to seven. It supports informal early learning at home.
Matiso, as one of only two fathers involved with the programme, was excited after completing the course.
“I did not know what to expect when the principal called us in and told us about it, but I have been motivated and empowered by it.
"More importantly, it has brought me closer to my son, who has learnt so much. But for him it’s playing, so we both enjoyed the process,” he said.
After completing Grade 12 Matiso had not been able to afford tertiary education but said he was now considering teaching.
Nono Gxumisa, 32, said with what she has learnt she will be able to help her nine-year-old daughter and her sister’s child, and possibly even some of the children in her community.
Mellon Educate works closely with the Western Cape Education Department, said its director, Ken Kingston, and the programme at Kuyasa and Ummangaliso primary schools was part of the educational side of the organisation at five non-fee paying schools.
Kingston said the NGO had been involved in the country in building infrastructure in poorer communities since 2003, building about 25 000 houses and also classrooms, toilets and libraries at both schools.
Their organisation found there was a further need to help with a foundation phase in younger children and with empowering parents from the communities around the schools, Kingston said.
The organisation’s senior education specialist, Alison van Breda, said the next phase of the programme would be to see how the children were faring in school, and the long-term goal of bringing parents, children and schools closer together.