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Salvazione Christian School joins ISASA

| March 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

Salvazione Christian School, located in Johannesburg, was started by Adele Talbot in 1991, says current principal Mandy Bailey.

During the dying years of apartheid, the school moved around a lot. In 1998, it was housed in the Mayfair Baptist Church hall. This is when The Ridge School1 first became involved in our project. Volunteers from The Ridge implemented programmes to help the learners and tried to reorganise the school and improve conditions, which had become untenable. About four years ago, The Ridge, Auckland Park Preparatory School2 (APPS) and St Katharine’s School3 held a fundraiser and were able to purchase a school building for us. At last, through our three partners, we had enough space to house the learners, and each grade had a classroom of their own.”

The school’s aim has always been to offer cost-effective, quality education to the children from the Slovo Park informal settlement4 and surrounding areas such as Brixton, Crosby, Langlaagte, Soweto and Roodepoort.

Low fees, high support

“The learners pay R100 per month for school fees and learners who cannot afford the fees are able to apply for fee exemption. Our three schools have an Adopt-a-Learner programme through which needy learners are sponsored,” says Bailey, who is only too pleased to talk about other worthy individuals and groups that enable Salvazione to thrive. “Our annual government subsidy is not much, and we could not survive were it not for the generous work undertaken by organisations like the Link that runs a literacy and maths programme for our foundation phase learners. With assistance, we have opened a library, and our art programme enables the learners to develop their creative talents.”

Seizing every opportunity

Salvazione has a well-developed and supported music programme. Learners have the opportunity to play the marimba, violin and recorder. The school has a feeding programme and learners are fed daily. TOMS shoes5 makes regular shoe donations to the school, and its three partner schools regularly donate equipment and resources to Salvazione. While 35 students per class may sound like a lot, each one gets chance to succeed at, for example, Robotics, sponsored by the University of South Africa (Unisa).6 The learners also participate in the Phendulani Quiz,7 the Battle of the Books and Story Skirmish,8 and this year had a group of learners who participated in the Lead SA Mzansi Spelling Bee.9

“Salvazione receives not only sponsorship, but also hands-on support from a variety of sources that help us build self-esteem and collegiality,” says Bailey. ‘Movie Night’ at The Ridge School has become a well-supported annual event that raises money for Salvazione. The four partner schools also get together at The Ridge every year for ‘Fireside Tales’, an event that celebrates local culture. “And every year near Heritage Day,10 Salvazione is hosted by APPS for a day of song, dance and sharing.”

ISASA support vital

Recently, the network of support was widened again when Salvazione joined ISASA in 2014. Bailey is proud and grateful to be part of the ‘family’. “ISASA has been very supportive and we value the assistance, workshops and talks they offer.”

Finding a reason every day to go on

Principals like Bailey are community heroes, but they’re human. She admits: “I have been the principal of Salvazione for almost three years, and I find the position both challenging and rewarding. The biggest challenge is the financial sustainability of the school.”

However, her core mission still makes her smile. “The rewards far outnumber the challenges, and every day I am grateful for the kindness and generosity of people and companies. It is humbling to receive the generous and selfless gifts from corporates and individuals which enable our learners to receive a solid education. The volunteers are a dedicated group of people who unselfishly give of their time and talents every week to assist the learners. They do more than just teach the learners; they form relationships with the learners, which is touching.

“I find a reason every day to say thank you to at least one person for their love and kindness, and every day I have at least one reason to be grateful and glad to be the principal of such a special school.”

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Category: Autumn 2015

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