High School Education
High school students in Masiphumelele are often faced with challenges such as poverty and a lack of equal access to opportunities, information and resources to education. This results in the pass rate often being lower than many more affluent fee paying schools. Youth in Masiphumelele often feel disillusioned, with few prospects to be able to study further at a higher institution of learning, or even working towards a well-informed career choice.
At Masicorp we have different programmes which are aimed at assisting the learners with skills development, providing information and resources that help guide their career choices and improve their academic results. We are hoping that these programmes will help the youth to get better opportunities to help them make better choices and break the circle of the poverty that affects their every day lives. We are trying to help these youth reach their full potential, and enabling them to become better skilled, well informed with a supportive structure to improve their academic performance.
Helping the youth to perform better academically and giving them practical skills can help the community of Masiphumelele to slowly move away from the challenges that they face. A skilled and educated youth could mean an increased employment rate within the community. Broader prospects in higher education are also possible when they are provided with guidance, mentorship and information.
Masicorp has partnered with The Sewing Café to provide a basic free sewing course to high school students from Masiphumelele High School. The skills taught during this course offer teens a possible future chance at employment and financial independence.
The students attend this course after school twice a day for 6 months. It is held between 15H00 and 16H30PM every Monday and Tuesday with up to 10 students attending the course. The students are first introduced to the sewing machine and how to operate it. When the students are comfortable with using the machine, they are then taught how to make basic items such as bags, pencil bags and pillowcases.
Masicorp and The Sewing Café have also invited speakers to engage the students in various topics relevant to the challenges they find themselves dealing with daily. Our trainers are Masi residents themselves, who give the students opportunity for expression and support, in a mentorship role by someone who understands the reality of living in Masiphumelele. This sewing course has become a safe space for teens who very often find themselves with little to do after school hours – often a risk for this age group who are vulnerable to negative influences.
One of our most inspiring and successful students has been Someleze Jabe who did the Sewing Course with us early last year. Someleze found his passion for sewing and worked hard to perfect the craft of designing bags. Someleze has used his sewing skills to open his own business which he named Jabeson. This year he had the honor of designing bags for Rainbow Creche, a local Creche in Masiphumelele. Someleze has inspired many other students to take up the course and to proudly pursue their passion for Sewing.
Last year Masicorp started a pilot art programme for young girls in Masiphumelele, collaborating with UK fine artist Sandy Curry. This Saturday morning Art Club has a group of at least 18 girls attending weekly workshops on the grounds of Masicorp’s Chasmay Educare. The programme was born out of a need to reach teen girls from this community who are particularly vulnerable to issues such as gender-based violence, teen pregnancy, unemployment and limited future prospects due to finances and family responsibilities. We needed to build confidence and self-esteem to empower and uplift these girls to rise above the difficulties they face each day. These workshops aim to help girls in Masiphumelele find a way to creatively express themselves, as well as instilling fundamental life skills and boosting their confidence.
The club is facilitated by Sandy Curry, assisted by an art therapist from the community, Yandiswa Mazwane of Masiphumelele Creative Hub. The two women mentor these girls and tackle various themes allowing the girls to create works of art that relate to the everyday challenges they find themselves living within a township such as Masiphumelele.
Using art as a motivational tool, the programme encourages the girls to tell their stories and challenges through art, allowing them to gain confidence and self-esteem. The programme also tackles stigma and taboo subjects, such as the cultural silence around sexual health and reproduction. The aim is to allow these girls to mentor each other through peer engagement and group activities, so that they may gain the understanding that girls and women have a voice and a right to education.
In 2016, Masi High School’s matric pass rate plummeted to 48%, the second-lowest in the Western Cape. This, along with the fact that nearly a third of the youth in Masi are not in employment, education or training, leaves the learners of Masi High School in an incredibly vulnerable position where the odds are stacked against them in terms of breaking the cycle of poverty and successfully entering the economy.
Our Pathways programme was launched in 2019 and kicked off with a Pathways Careers Indaba held at Masi High School. This was then followed by a series of workshops for grade 12 learners.
The objective of the Pathways Career Indaba and Matric Workshops that have been held has been to address the issues of youth unemployment head-on by exposing the learners from Masi High to a variety of work, career and study pathways available to them as well as empowering them to make informed choices and take appropriate action.
The successful Pathways Career Indaba event invited a variety of vendors ranging from NGOs offering skills-based training which requires no matric to vocational training programmes and private companies and individuals showcasing careers that students may know nothing or little about. This broadened the knowledge of the students and opened up their options about the career opportunities available to them.
The workshops are called Pathway Conversations, and these sessions focus on different career themes so that the students are guided by topics that interest them most, which may lead to a successful and sustainable career. Last year the themes were:
- Information Technology (Coding),
- Environment, Conservation and Sustainability
- Fishing and Maritime studies
The sessions are interactive, allowing the students to engage with the institutions and companies that showcase skills and career opportunities. This gives the students a platform to ask questions and get the right answers about the careers that are of interest to them. The institutions and companies also leave information such as pamphlets and their prospectus so that the students can get an opportunity to learn more about them and contact them after they leave.
Last year we had the pleasure of inviting companies, NPOs and institutions such as SANParks (South African National Parks), WeThinkCode, Angels Training and Resource Centre, Green Matter, Youth Capital, Gradesmatch, The Sozo Foundation, loveLife, Living Hope, False bay College, University of Cape Town, and the University of Western Cape. We thank all the speakers and exhibitors who come to showcase the skills, resources and courses to the learners of Masiphumelele High School. This information has the power to guide the learners in choosing a realistic and sustainable career and academic paths that they can work towards.
Masicorp has identified science, and particularly mathematics, as the subject areas where pupils at Masiphumelele High School struggle the most. Through our university bursary programme, we have gained much valuable experience and we have learned to focus our support on maths and the sciences. Poor grades are the norm and severely restrict high school students’ prospects for further education and a career.
In an attempt to improve the situation, we have initiated a series of additional mathematics classes at weekends. ‘High Hopes’ classes are delivered by an experienced mathematics tutor from Fish Hoek High School. The experience of the staff from the high performing local school not only helps the students but has also inspired teachers from Masiphumelele High School to use new learning materials and techniques to teach their learners. Despite being held on Saturday mornings the classes have been remarkably popular and Masicorp has seen improvements in the mathematics and science grades of high school students looking to move on to higher education or technical training.
Every Thursday after school 50 Grade 12 learners travel from Masiphumelele High School to attend a Maths workshop at Fish Hoek High School. More than 30 Fish Hoek learners also attend the workshop. Four volunteer teachers from Fish Hoek and Masiphumelele lead this cooperative approach. Learners from Ocean View, Simon’s Town a number of other schools have also attended. Read more about the programme here.