“Educating the underprivileged in rural communities is something dear to me” Says Dennis Lamberti. “When I heard about the Sijonga-Phambili project in Hout Bay I simply had to get involved. I have visited Hout Bay on a number of occasions and seen first-hand how the informal settlements have grown. There is a desperate need in the area and education is a key element in addressing this need.”
In September 1995 the Western Cape Department of Education established an Adult Education Centre night school in the Hout Bay area called Sijonga-Phambili. It was the first step in establishing a fully functional learning centre for the community.
Centre Manager / Principal, Mr Malcolm Coppin, says: “Sijonga-Phambili Community Learning Centre is an official institution of the Western Cape Education Department, but is an exception to the rule, and possibly unique in having its own (non-Government) premises.” The land on which the Centre has been built belongs to the City of Cape Town with whom a lease agreement has been signed.
The main aims and objectives of the Centre are to provide academic and skills-based courses for youths and adults, quality education and a relevant job-targeted curriculum, providing all students with sufficient physical and educational resources and a safe and accessible venue for learning.
Academic classes range from Basic Literacy and Numeracy (ABET Level 1) through to Senior Certificate (Grade 12), with training material supplied by Media Works.
General skills training courses offered include Computer Literacy and sewing, but additional practical courses in appliance repair, furniture restoration and entrepreneurship are being planned for the future.
As Media Works, we invested R50 000 in the Centre. We donated workbooks and teachers’ guides, in both hard-copy and electronic format, for all Literacy and Numeracy courses from AET Level 1 up to Level 4. We also sponsored self-paced multimedia computer programmes for each course. We also gave the centre a licence to photocopy our material.
We continue to supply further training and updated manuals with additional Learning Areas being added in at the upper levels. We have also given Sijonga-Phambili access to our suite of Work Readiness courses.
“We are free to use Media Works’ ABET training material up to level 3, but unfortunately have to use the Department of Education’s ABET level 4 material as it is regulation. The level 4 training material is however of much poorer quality than Media Works’ training material and we would rather have Media Works’ ABET level 4 training material to replace the current level 4 material,” says Malcolm.
“To see a community being uplifted because of our investment is what drives us at Media Works” adds Dennis. “We try to surround ourselves with like-minded people and those who come to work for us and do not fit the mould either change or leave. In our business we must believe in what we do if we are to make a difference.”