As Kitty began to reflect on the problems she saw around her – poverty, unemployment, lack of skills, illiteracy and broken families – she began to see a vision of a community that would act in the opposite spirit. A dream was born.
A community of country-living friends homeschool their children together, dreaming of starting a school one day.
By the end of 2006, these families were homeschooling their children together on Kitty and Kevin’s farm, using a Biblically-based curriculum, ACE. The school was officially registered, with only 10 students, and functioned from the farm garage.
By the end of 2007, the little classroom was bursting with children, which led to the local sports club in town to being rented as the new premises early the following year. OGS also started their first official girls’ boarding house this year.
God sovereignly and miraculously moved during this year to enable the acquisition of 1000 hectares of land, about 5km outside of Tarkastad. Orange Grove Farm was a promise fulfilled.
The school moved out to Orange Grove Farm, with 24 students and 1 classroom.
iThemba Trust was officially registered as a non-profit organisation, under the Jernigan Foundation.
iThemba Trust functioned as the umbrella body that would give the vision authenticity, accountability and would administer the finances for all projects to take place on the farm.
iThemba received its first donation, enabling the development of the Pre-School building.
Construction and developments continued as the vision came to life. Orange Grove Farm was becoming a home and a safe haven for students. In 2010, there were 35 pupils attending Orange Grove Schools.
This was also the year the school released its first graduate, launching the alumni community.
Today Orange Grove School is a thriving, busy, dynamic school comprising of learners across all school years. The school now has two beautiful tennis courts, seven classrooms, a media room, a staff room and meeting area, ablution blocks, a library, and science and art laboratory, and there is always more in the development pipeline.
In addition, thanks to other generous donors in the sponsorship program who contribute monthly over years of faithful giving, many of our learners have all their educational and hostel needs provided for. These children are often the only members of their family who can read, and their lives are being changed by the education they are receiving – the ripple effect of which is going to catalyse change in their communities in the long term.
As the iThemba Trust witnessed the exponential growth of its first baby project, the school, God began moving other people from different places in South Africa to Tarkastad to champion further projects first envisioned in those early years, as the original vision of hope and community living began to unfold.
Our story is their storyTESTIMONIES FROM ALUMNI
“For me, it’s the people I got to walk that time of my life with. Some of them still involved in my journey today. It’s hard to describe, but it’s family. And it’s stayed with me.
Farmer, Eastern Cape, South Africa
“Dyslexia and ADHD prevented me from learning in a traditional school setting. There is nothing traditional about OGS. I should have been labeled as a ‘problem child’, but instead they made space for the very best to come out of me.”
Youth & Young Adults Pastor, Walmer Methodist Church
“It’s hard to put into words how Orange Grove impacted me. It was more than a school, it became family, and has set me up to pursue my dreams today.”
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