Origins of the Sponsorship Program
The original iThemba vision was for a place where community-living could become a reality included the desire to have a school, so that the children in the area did not have to be sent away to boarding school, as was the custom of many local farming families.
The school began as a home-schooling initiative on one of the farms, where a private tutor taught a number of children from the families who were a part of the initial planning of the vision. As the children sat in their classroom in the summer heat, little Nolinki Blandile, one of the children of the local farm workers, would sit on the steps and listen to the lessons taking place inside. Nolinki’s longing to learn, even from an open doorway, earned her the attention of the tutor, who would take her and some of the other farm children on a Friday afternoon to teach them English. Eventually visiting Americans learned of little Nolinki, and said that they would like to sponsor her school fees, so that she could become an "official" part of the classroom.
The iThemba Sponsorship Program began from these humble roots, and in 2009 when the students grew too many for their little farm classroom, and moved to their new venue at the local sports club in town, and later, to Orange Grove Farm, there were a handful among them who were sponsored – the sons and daughters of local South Africans living below the poverty line.
Sponsor a Child
The sponsorship program allows a donor family to choose the child that they would like to sponsor from the many that we have on our waiting list. The model that we offer is personal and intimate, with a family taking a journey with the child that they aid, in what we view as a long-term commitment. The children write a quarterly letter to their sponsor family, with their news, and this gets sent together with their report cards and a newsletter of the events and happenings of the term.
Sponsorship can include only school fees, or also boarding (hostel) fees, according to the individual sponsor’s wishes and the need of the child. Every cent of money donated is allocated only to the child concerned, and any additional funding can be used for expenses such as extramural activities, medical expenses, clothing, toiletries, stationary and outings of the school.
As of July 2015, the generous donors affiliated within the iThemba Sponsorship Program currently sponsor 45 of our 90 children at Orange Grove Schools. These children are being offered an education far superior to anything being offered in our government education system, which is currently in a serious crisis. Many of them have parents who are not able to read and write. Our children are being offered opportunities that will have a significant impact not only on their own lives, but also on the lives of their families and of their communities. Their future has become one of hope, and of freedom from an otherwise despairing cycle of poverty.
If you would like to sponsor a child, please get in touch.