New mobile classrooms provide permanent space for foundation

LifeMatters Foundation celebrated the grand opening of dedicated literacy, numeracy and counselling mobile classrooms at Westlake Primary School last week.

“Eighty percent of Grade 4 children in South Africa are unable to read in any language,” said LifeMatters Foundation executive director, Alnere Turck, at the opening.

She said the NPO, based in Meadowridge, understands the education crisis the country faces and that is why they are working in more than six under-resourced schools in the southern suburbs on a regular basis.

In 2012 they moved into Westlake and assessed Grade 2 and 3 pupils to identify those who are struggling. These children were then provided with literacy and numeracy intervention programmes.

Because of increasing pupil numbers the school could no longer give LifeMatters space to run their programmes.

“The literacy programme has also moved eight times since 2012 due to building and space constraints and our counselling programme was operating out of a broom cupboard in the school library,” said Ms Turck.

Truworths came to the rescue and sponsored three Kwikspace modular classrooms for literacy, numeracy and counselling, for the exclusive use of LifeMatters at Westlake.

LifeMatters also provides counselling, the Shine Literacy Intervention Programme, a Grade 7 camp and a teenage awareness programme. Last year, a new numeracy intervention programme called Fun with Numbers was added as a response to the need for numeracy support.

LifeMatters is served by volunteers from the community who spend an hour or so each week during term time providing one-on-one literacy and numeracy support to help pupils reach the necessary standard required to confidently continue in to Grade 4 and beyond.

They also provide professional counselling for those who are at risk and require emotional support.

“For older pupils, ages 10 to 13, we provide counselling, life skills and mentorship to support them with the challenges experienced in their communities where drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy, gangsterism and high school dropout rates dominate everyday life,” said Ms Turck.

Westlake Primary principal Landie Diamond said the results of LifeMatters involvement at the school has started to show. “In the 2018 provincial systemic assessments the school did exceptionally well, especially in Grade 6 where English was second and maths was fourth in the circuit,” she said.

The school has its challenges with about 13 home languages which made it difficult for them and so they settled on English as the language of instruction.

“The relationship that learners have with the volunteers helps boost their self confidence. They get love and attention and this has a positive impact on their behavior. Destroying illiteracy is adding value to the life of the child, the school and society,” said Ms Diamond.

LifeMatters need volunteers in the literacy and numeracy programmes. Visit www.lifemattersfoundation.org, call 021 712 0383, or email admin@lifemattersfoundation.org