RC OF SEA POINT ROTA PROJECT – ILITHA PRE-SCHOOL, KHAYELITSHA
Reach Out To Africa (ROTA) is a Rotary concept born three years ago following the UN’s determination that Africa in the modern world is the continent most in need in the focus areas of child mortality, clean water, sanitation, health, disease, hunger, food security, and education.
It is in education that Rotary clubs and individual Rotarians on three
continents banded together to make a dream come true in the shantytown of
Khayelitsha among the sand dunes of the Cape Flats near Cape Town.
A need brought to the attention of the Rotary Club of Sea Point by Ambassadorial Scholar, Tasha Reijke Epstein, some five years ago when she set out to help a desperately poor pre-school operating out of a single roomed, rudimentary classroom, where Christina scratched together material that most pre-school teachers would throw out as unsuitable, and turned to helping the children with a huge amount of dedication and love, and with little else.
Sea Point Rotary has been supplying educational material during the intervening years, but when ROTA appeared the club started to cast an eye on international possibilities. The first club to show interest was the Rotary Club of Peach Tree, which joined in one of the last successful Matching Grants before the worldwide economic melt-down. This helped with equipment and educational aids but did nothing for the small 4.5 m2 classroom now housing over 80 children.
Then, reacting to a ROTA appeal, five clubs from South Korea, a visiting GSE team from D5500, Arizona, and individuals and local charity, JDI-Teach2Fish, joined together under the leadership of the RC of Sea Point to rectify the situation. On Tuesday 20 April 2010, in the presence of four Korean Rotarians, who had flown out specifically for the occasion, two new classrooms, at a cost of R220,000 were dedicated at a happy and exciting ceremony.
The future of the children passing through Christine’s hands suddenly looked much brighter and the new school provides a focal point for quality education where none existed before.