On the 16 June South Africa commemorates Youth Day and celebrates education, the country’s future leaders as well as the students that inspired a revolution nearly 40 years ago. In the spirit of developing the youth of South Africa, Tsogo Sun’s corporate social investment programme aims to have a long term effect and benefit on education and life skills through extra-curricular activities.
Tsogo Sun’s programmes have directly impacted 36 000 disadvantaged youngsters during 2014 thus far. The influence is implicitly generated through the groups sports, arts, chess, and learning academies in schools around the country.
The Tsogo Sun Moves For Life Chess Academy, focuses on using chess to improve maths and science results, has the highest intake with more than 19 000 primary school children benefitting from the programme. While the Sports Academy is impacting 2 818 children, with another 488 enrolled in the Arts Academy in schools around the Mayfair and Diepsloot area. This is in combination with the Learning Academy, which provides peer-driven leadership programmes, visits to the Apartheid Museum and bursaries, has reached a further 15 942 youngsters. There is currently a total of 352 schools and 1 152 teachers involved, with an additional 1 303 adults having been trained as facilitators in these programmes.
“All of our programmes are aligned with the combined vision of the departments of Education and Sports and Recreation to develop extra-curricular environments that promote healthy living and a life-long participation in sports and arts. Our Tsogo Sun academies use sports and arts as a medium to deliver life skills, leadership and healthy lifestyle information, while also reinforcing the importance of education to young people, ultimately aiming to nurture the children’s wellbeing,” says Shanda Paine, Group CSI Manager for Tsogo Sun.
Patience Maponyane, one of the teachers in Reshomile Primary School in Diepsloot near Fourways, where Tsogo Sun is running a visual arts, dance and drama programme, is enthusiastic about the positive difference the programme is making in the learners’ lives. “We started last year in February with 40 children in the programme, which is run in collaboration with the Gauteng Department of Education, and the children are doing very well. They are attending school more regularly, they are participating and enjoying themselves, and their self-confidence is growing all the time,” says Maponyane, who won the Educator Support Award at the Tsogo Sun Arts Academy’s year-end concert last year, which was judged by National Eisteddfod Association (NEA) adjudicators.
Bree Street Primary School is running both chess and the arts – dance and drama – through Tsogo Sun and educator Waheeda Mohamed states that it is making a dramatic difference in the children’s lives. Most of the children are from Soweto and would never have an opportunity to attend programmes like this without Tsogo Sun.
“It is so exciting for our school. The arts programme is expanding the children’s horizons, giving them a goal and a purpose in life, and giving them opportunities they would never normally have such as performing at the State Theatre and meeting celebrities. It is even making a difference to children with learning disabilities, giving them confidence and helping them to focus better.” Last year this school won the Best Overall Production Award – primary school group – in the Tsogo Sun Arts Academy’s year-end concert.
The Tsogo Sun chess programme, which is running across Grades 1 to 4 with about 400 children participating is another success story at the school with improvements in the children’s critical thinking abilities and their maths skills. “We are immensely grateful to Tsogo Sun for the resources, the facilitators, the investment in our children, the dedication, and the love and care that we see and experience every week. Our children’s futures are definitely better as a direct result of these programmes,” says Mohamed.