Meet the women behind the success of the English Hub
In 2012, the English Hub was opened at Ukhanyo Primary School with the aim to transfer skills to the teachers which they could then apply in their own classrooms. Katherine Smith and Lulama Mpongo are the two women running the Hub and the ones responsible for growing it to the programme it is today.
Katherine Smith (English Hub project leader)
Katherine is passionate about developing young children through education and was naturally drawn to Masicorp because working within the organization has given her the platform to serve the community and do what she loves. “Our first year of Grade 3’s are now in Grade 5 and many are still invested in the English Hub. I love to see how they have grown and developed”. This year, some of Katherine’s Grade 5’s were so inspired by the books they read at the Hub, they created a comic book of their own and plan to create a series around it. To her, this is a measure of the impact that her work has on the school.
Katherine is proudest of starting the English Hub lending library where learners borrow books at break time and take them home. She is always thrilled by the increasing number of children that use the library. Seeing the learners continue to grow because of their own drive is very rewarding to Katherine.
The teachers and learners can sometimes be heard singing the songs taught at the English lab in the classroom and Katherine is overjoyed knowing that the skills and resources she shares with the teachers are all put into good use even when she’s not present in the classroom. “I want to become better in my current role. I want to keep learning and try new ways to improve the way we do things. We work in a challenging environment, so learning to adapt is also something that I need to improve on.” Katherine says. She also hopes that Masicorp will continue to grow and become better known in the local and wider community for its support of the people of Masiphumelele.
Lulama Mpongo (English Hub Assistant)
Lulama (affectionately known as ‘Dolly’) enjoys nothing more than seeing the happy faces of the children as they arrive at the English Hub. Lulama believes that being able to learn English boosts their confidence and opens up many opportunities for their future – a future that Dolly cares deeply about.
Dolly was inspired by Masicorp after hearing about the wonderful work the organization was doing in the community. She has been with the organization since 2017 and is proudest of the fact that the English Hub has provided a safe learning space for the learners. “My key highlight was the completion of the English Hub renovation in 2017. It was wonderful to be part of making the space into a safe and happy place for the kids” Dolly proudly notes. Another highlight for her has been to see the changes in the children who have been coming to the English Hub since the beginning. The learners have been with the lab for a long time and they value it enough to keep learning and practicing outside the Hub.
To Dolly, it is important that she continues to receive training and gain more experience because she enjoys being part of the team that is changing the lives of the learners.
Thank you to Katherine and Dolly for all they do for Ukhanyo Primary School and the community of Masiphumelele. Their dedication and passion for empowering these children through education and reading, as well as working with the teachers, is what makes this programme so important to us.
ENGLISH HUB IN NUMBERS
6 teachers and 261 learners in Grade 3 visit the English Hub each day, as well as 40 Grade 4’s who attend an after school Art Club. 40 Grade 5’s & 6’s take part in the after school English and movie clubs, and the library is open to nearly 200 Grade 7’s.