The community of Bonnievale has tackled the chronic shortage of high schools in their area head-on, raising millions of Rands and partnering with the provincial education department to build a new school.
The Jakes Gerwel Entrepreneurial School in Bonnievale is just R3.5 million away from fully funding their first phase. The school has enrolled Gr. 8 learners, appointed teachers and building work is on schedule for a January 2018 opening! The school funding trust appeals to the public to support this remarkable project to improve the futures of thousands of our most vulnerable kids.
The project is our community’s answer to a crisis that exists throughout South Africa. A chronic shortage of high schools spells a bleak future for thousands of disadvantaged kids in rural areas. These kids would have had to travel to neighbouring towns for high school, making them much more likely to drop out altogether.
The people of Bonnievale tackled the crisis head-on, joining hands across racial and socio-economic divides and setting out to raise R55 million to build their own school. In the process, they created a partnership with the provincial Department of Education that is hailed as ‘the answer for South Africa’.
The hearts of the people from Bonnievale received the vision and formed a team to pursue the vision to heal a total community by creating the Jakes Gerwel Entrepreneurial School, a modern two-stream technical school with cutting edge e-learning facilities with a master plan for 1200 learners. Prof Jakes Gerwel was a resilient mediator and peacemaker and the wonderful unity of this team of different backgrounds would have made him proud. Although diverse the common denominator in them all is a positive transformative spirit to heal South Africa from community level, from its roots.
“Most learners from Bonnievale come from under-resourced backgrounds, fatherless homes and broken family structures. Secure character is what made Prof Jakes Gerwel a world changer behind the scenes and apt role model. In this school our first priority is to invest in the character of the learners. We do not only want to broaden their vision. We want to broaden their shoulders too,” says engineer Curran Kuhn, a trustee of the JGE Funding Trust.
The team believed this vision was not only to accommodate the numbers of the poor. The vision is for a high school of excellence in a 12-hectare spacious campus-like atmosphere. The facilities will be top-class, the leadership inspirational and the education of the highest quality. The school will help heal a total community from a legacy and lifestyle of brokenness and lacking self-worth.
Support from the Education Department
The JGE Funding Trust collaborated with the Western Cape Education Department. The Departmentfunds 40% of the establishment cost and finances most educators. This left R55 million to raise from the community and private sector. The three trustees set out to not only raise the funds, but also to manage the building project and to commit to help govern the school in the long run. The list of practically impossibilities was long, including an ambitious timeline of less than two years before the school had to be operational. In faith the team took up the challenge.
“Vision sparks hope. Positivity is infectious. Sacrifice is inspirational. When we lead with a can-do attitude and show our commitment by personal sacrifice others will follow,” says trustee Philip Jonker. Jonker is the owner and wine maker of Weltevrede Estate.
In awe-inspiring harmony, the whole community worked together to change their future. So by the end of June 2017 the team had raised more than R39 million. The projects received mainly local contributions and free or discounted professional services.
How you can help
“The Jakes Gerwel Entrepreneurial School is currently being constructed and an amazing vision is swiftly becoming a reality. The doors of JGE open in January 2018. We are about to see what we believe. Amongst the many initial comments of ‘But this can’t be done’ and ‘Impossible’ and ‘You are crazy’, we have yet to meet the person who has not received this vision with great positivity. In retrospect, all the seemingly impossible factors will simply give depth to this beautiful story of hope.”
Support the project by making a donations into the following account. Donations are fully tax deductible and count 100% towards Socio Economic Development under BEE regulations. Supporting documentation can be provided.
JGE Funding Trust
ABSA Bank Cheque account
Account number 40-8996-9306
Branch code 632005
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