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Kleinskool Initiative – Gqeberha

This post is a long time coming! But I’m glad to make a comeback by featuring a worthy topic: the importance of education. Kleinskool Initiative is an organisation based in Gqeberha/Nelson Mandela Bay/Port Elizabeth. Their goal is to help ensure that young people living in the Kleinskool area are able to complete their schooling. The organisation was started back in the 80s by Boet and Annatjie Walker. The current CEO Tersia Muston, took over the reins in recent years and has had to face quite a few challenges already (including the COVID-19 pandemic).

Tersia was gracious enough to make some time to sit down with me and tell me more about the work the organisation to help uplift this struggling community. They help the people of Kleinskool in quite a few ways, including providing meals for the community. But they also perform the very important function of linking scholars who need to complete their schooling with people who are able to offer financial support.

Now I don’t have any children, but I know that school fees can be very steep. However, in our conversation I come to learn that there are various sponsorship options available. There honestly is something that would suit most budgets. While it is true that school fees can be hefty, some of the schools in Kleinskool charge as little as R150 for the year!

I was pretty amazed by that number. Sadly, even though it doesn’t seem like a high number compared to other school fees, many community members still can’t afford it. And, more importantly, going to school requires so much more than just school fees. These young people also need stationery, textbooks, taxi fare and food.

Kleinskool an area of Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth)

Sponsors choose how to support

Kleinskool Initiative plays a pivotal role in helping the community children complete their schooling. They send each prospective sponsor a formal proposal giving you more information on the person you would be supporting. They also break down all of the other costs associated with this young person’s school year. It’s up to the sponsor to decide how much they are able to contribute to this incredible cause.

However, their impact on the community does not end there. This organisation also helps some of the jobseekers in the community to find work. Again, just like paying for someone’s school fees is not enough, finding someone a job is also not enough. Although it is a great help, people need more than just a job to become successful and marketable employees.

We all know that in order to do well at your job you need appropriate clothing to wear to work. You also need to be able to get to and from the office. Kleinskool Initiative sets these young people up with work clothes and assists with taxi fare for the first month. Their Facebook page features some of these incredible success stories.

This was something I hadn’t really thought of before, but after our discussion it made perfect sense. Pretty much everyone I know (including myself) needed a little bit of extra support during that first month of a new job! That first pay day can never come soon enough! It’s important that people don’t give up on a job that will provide them with longer term security because they urgently need funds in the present.

One of my favourite things about my conversation with Tersia was learning more about what got her started in this line of work. As a young person she used to visit Kleinskool with the Walkers. She got to know the community and saw the value of the work being done there. For me this highlighted again how important it is to share your good work with others. Who knows what path Tersia’s career would have taken if she hadn’t learned about Kleinskool Initiative at a young age?

How to help

For those looking to support this amazing organisation you can find more information by visiting their website, or by reaching out to them via Facebook. Tersia would love to share some more information and sponsorship opportunities to anyone looking to offer their support! The organisation also issues Section 18A certificates to all their sponsors. Listen to the full episode here.