Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were growing up? All the hopes and dreams you had when you were asked that question as a child? The options were endless… perhaps you wanted to be a doctor, an artist, a pilot or even a magician. Believing that we can be and do anything when we grow up gives a child the power to dream about their future. Nelson Mandela once said that Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world. Unfortunately, for many children around the globe education remains out of reach. Children no matter where they come from or where they live, dream about their futures and no child should ever have to limit their ambition due to a lack of access to education.
Every year the EF English Live management team has a global meet up in a selected location around the world. This year, a group of fortunate EF English Live colleagues met up in South Africa and had the opportunity to visit the Imibala trust in the heart of Cape Town in order to learn more about the organisation and meet the inspiring volunteers and children currently enrolled. The children who are a part of the trust have grown up under hard circumstances in townships surroundings Cape Town and are selected from schools in these areas.
Giving a child the sense of belonging with a school uniform
Although attending elementary education in many countries is free, there are often fees and costs connected to this. Parents must pay for uniforms, transportation and school supplies, which for some can be an impossible task. By not having the means to pay for these, the children may eventually stop attending school. Imibala is making moves to tackle this issue working with children coming from an underprivileged background.
An important part of the work that Imibala does, is to provide the children with uniforms and school supplies if their parents are unable to pay for it. Noeki Gous, the COO of Imibala explained the importance of having a clean and well-fitted school uniform. She emphasized that the trust is not only investing in a child’s future, but also enabling the children to gain more confidence, take responsibility and give them a sense of belonging.
“When a child is sent to school in an old and worn out school uniform it can make the child feel that they don’t belong to the community. At Imibala it all starts with a school uniform. A uniform sets great things into motion: children’s self-esteem is raised, their attendance improves, and they work harder feeling that they fit in and belong at school. Seeing a child put on a new school uniform creates the biggest smiles at Imibala.“
Spending the day at the Imibala trust
For EF English Live, education is at our core. Similarly, the Imibala Trust continuously strives to break down educational barriers and create opportunities for young people in Cape Town. We spent a day at Imibala learning about the different programmes and meeting the children currently enrolled.
“Communication and language open up so many opportunities to so many people. Whether it’s about getting a promotion or a new job, or creating an opportunity to improve your life in other ways, education is such an important enabler. When we found out about the amazing work that the Imibala Trust were doing in Cape Town, we were all hugely keen to take the chance to get involved and lend our support.
I’m in such a lucky position to be able to bring a team of people together and – en masse – try to make a difference. Seeing our management team go to work, painting buildings, creating playgrounds, and – crucially – engaging with the kids, supporting the Imibala trust was a truly magical experience. While our time in Cape Town was limited, we all hope our ongoing support of the work that the trust is doing will last for years, and the memories, forever.”
Nick Barnett, President of EF English Live.
Making a difference to children’s present and future lives
The trust also provides children with the opportunity to learn English and Maths, take part in creative classes and improve their computer literacy. Skills which are not emphasized in their own schools. The after-school programmes at Imibala enable the children to develop their individual ability and build confidence. These courses make a measurable difference to children’s present and future lives, which resonates greatly with our mission at EF English Live.
“The smiles and excitement the creative and performing arts department brings to the children when they arrive for their lessons in art, music and drama is priceless. Creative classes are so important for children at a young age and it helps them to explore their physical, emotional, and mental capabilities. We want to support all forms of creative arts and our mission is to give the children a happier childhood.“
Noeki Gous, shares with us.
Opening up the world through education
For Noeki it is an incredible privilege to be a part of the organisation and to be making a difference in the children’s lives. Imibala is the epitome of warmth and compassion, with a child’s happy face being the humbling reward. The future looks bright for the children who are part of the Imibala Trust and with the hard work of the dedicated volunteers they can begin to see their own potential. A new uniform or being able to express their creative skills is what gives the children the power to dream for a better future and gives them the confidence to pursue an education.
For English Live, education is close to our hearts and being able to create great opportunities with language learning and education is at the end of the day all that really matters, to open the world through education.