Four afternoons a week, nine teachers and a librarian help up to 140 children with their homework and other educational needs. The school started when it was recognised that many children in Guguletu have nowhere to do their homework and no one to help them with it.
The Rainbow Centre is a serious educational facility. Its head, Ms Thadiwa Sopazi (pictured), is a very experienced teacher. Her work includes helping her staff upgrade their skills in the new South African curriculum and methodology. She and her colleagues put great emphasis on building confidence through individual attention. Pupils attending the Rainbow Centre are often praised at their daytime schools for the progress they have made.
The Rainbow Centre is a boon to working parents, who know that their children's homework is being done in a safe environment. This is even more true for unemployed parents with few facilities at home who may themselves be barely literate.
Not long after the foundation of the Centre it was realised that many of the children arrived hungry. Indeed, some had had no food all day. The Rainbow Fund now pays for meals every homework day. These are cooked by a group of women who call themselves Mapathisane, which means working together. The Mapathisane also cook for local children without family support: some orphans, some neglected, and some living with HIV. Many eat only on the days when the Centre is open.