December 2017

Dear Supporters,

As always, thank you so much for your continued support. Many of you have been helping fund our homework school in the Cape Town suburb of Guguletu since its foundation in 1999. During this time, well over a thousand children have benefited from the support they have received at the school, in many cases as much emotional support as educational.

The people who laid the foundations for the school’s success are the teachers we have been supporting for more than 18 years. We owe them an immense debt of gratitude - especially those who have worked the longest.

Some, inevitably, have moved on to other challenges and others have retired. Sadly, our chef, Tshabalala, recently died. She was a wonderful cook and was often to be seen joking and jiving with the children. A replacement has been found, however, and the school remains fully staffed. Our local trustee Jo McClellan tells us that our new principal, Alicia Miki Tschevu, is proving a wonderful addition to the team.

Alicia reports, however, that the homework school’s main challenge is motivating its children. This is exacerbated in the case of children attending low performing local schools, which often do not set homework. Rainbow’s teachers are trying to encourage a greater focus on schoolwork, and are making some progress.

This has been particularly encouraging in the case of children with learning difficulties. An example is a girl who attends a local school with classes of over 50, where she had been falling far behind in all her subjects. She is beginning to make good progress since joining the Rainbow homework school. ‘I feel sad at school because I am very slow’ she says, ‘but I am very happy when I am at Rainbow because I understand what is happening.’

Another child with obstacles to learning is starting to catch up with his schoolwork. The break-through occurred when he gained the confidence to ask our teachers when he did not understand something and by encouraging him to speak up he has been helped to become more responsible for his own learning and is now achieving better marks at his day school. We funded an outing during the August school holidays to a local aquarium, where ninety children learned about sea life and environmental issues. Alicia reports proudly that the children’s behaviour was excellent and they had fun.

We continue to be very grateful to those supporters whose regular bankers’ orders provide such stability to our funding. As we know from experience, however, many of you like to make one-off donations. These will be particularly welcome this year as we have promised every teacher two weeks pay as a Christmas bonus. One-off gifts are, of course, always welcome whenever they arrive – even, dare I say, as bequests. Or why not make us your charity for birthday and anniversary presents?

Our programme for 2018 begins with our seasonal lunch, this year scheduled for Thursday, January 11. Space is limited, so please book as soon as possible. See details below or phone or email me.

Also firmly in the diary is a repeat of our celebration on behalf of the Rainbow Fund on Mandela Day, July 18. This marks the hundredth anniversary of Madiba’s birth. Many people will be excited to learn that we are also in discussion with the Yehudi Menuhin School for another concert during autumn 2018.

Thanks and warm Christmas greetings!

Judy Wright