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The St James educational Trust, founded in 2001, strives to make a difference in the lives of children, showing the love of Christ to the underprivileged in the impoverished area of Mannenberg on the Cape Flats. This community has an exceptionally high level of unemployment and the resultant poverty leads to crime, gang-related violence, drug and alcohol dependence and abuse. The educational experience of learners at the two schools at which we are working falls far short of that of more affluent schools. Many newcomers to Grade 1 have not attended playschool or pre-school, cannot write, cannot tell red from blue, or have no concept of numbers. Some have never been to the beach, something that most of our children take for granted. Parent support is almost non-existent and educators are stretched.

The Trust has adapted its activities over the past decade as socio-economic conditions have changed, but remains committed to the following:

• feeding over 200 children daily by partnering with Protea Hotels

• reinforcing basic literacy and numeracy skills; 15 volunteers work with approximately 100 Grade R and Grade 1 learners each week

• facilitating educational excursions aligned to the curriculum for all Grades R–7 learners

• offering an after-school programme, which includes arts and crafts, ballroom dancing and chess, as an alternative to the streets and gang-related activity

• Bible clubs where the gospel reaches about 80 learners each week, with the help of SA Language Academy and Holy Trinity Church, Mitchells Plain Our programme is volunteer-based. We have been fortunate this year to have both local and international volunteers joining us.

The trustees are well known to the CESA community – Owen Johnson, the Founder of the Trust; Otto Stehlik of Protea Hotels; Bishop Frank Retief, retired Presiding Bishop of CESA; Dr Mervyn Eloff, Rector of St James Church Kenilworth.

We would love to expand our programme, which means that we will need more volunteers, more funds, more prayer. We welcome the support of our entire CESA family, both individuals and businesses. There is capacity for many more people to get involved, particularly in the after-school programme or by way of financial support. Day-today activities are managed by Glynda Herman, who can be contacted on 083 441 8077, 021 705 8124 or via the St James Church Kenilworth office on 021 671 7070; or follow us on Facebook for regular updates on what we are doing and how you can help.

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