This article was originally published in the June 2015 edition of ITMI Monthly.
Chantal Romashoe moved to Stone Hill in January. As an 11th grader, starting in the middle of the year, her obstacles to graduation were formidable.
School is already a challenge for most in the informal settlement outside Cape Town, South Africa.
It’s the lack of little things that pile up and create a barrier to graduation that becomes insurmountable to all but a precious few.
A staggering 60% of students who start 1st grade don’t finish school in South Africa. Without education, the poverty cycle is passed from one generation to the next with compounding interest.
Students’ parents work long hours, so many are expected to watch younger siblings. Families live in one room shacks that don’t lend themselves to productive studying.
Few have tables or chairs. Paper, calculators and uniforms are hard to come by. In the urgency of surviving the school day, finding food and washing their clothes, school gets buried.
In the urgency of surviving the school day, finding food and washing their clothes, school gets buried.
Chantal knew she was in over her head when she was exposed to economics and accounting concepts for the first time in her life. It wasn’t even being taught in her own language. “Who will help me with this math?” she wondered.
As a mid-year transfer to an under-resourced, over-burdened school, Chantal wasn’t even given text books.
That’s when someone told her ITMI’s Cindy Parris had arranged tutoring sessions at the ministry facility ITMI helped our partners construct in Stone Hill.
Cindy tutoring a Stone Hill learner.
Stone Hill ministry facility.
Cindy saw how poverty was being perpetuated as student after student dropped out of school.
She added tutoring to the many ways our partners in South Africa are reaching Stone Hill with the Good News of Jesus Christ, but the need was greater than she could provide.
With ITMI’s help, Cindy raised funds to purchase an innovative set of electronic tablets complete with accessories and curriculum.
Cindy Parris with her school-in-a-box electronic tablets.
There are 52 learners in grades 8-12, including Chantal, who use the tablets. They come for 2 hour sessions after school and on Saturday mornings.
At first, Chantal was overwhelmed. But when she returned to school the next day, she found she understood her lessons!
Chantal even began to enjoy the content. Now, her goal is to become an accountant. She’ll have to study hard and pursue that dream with tenacity, as the odds are not on her side. But if she does, she’ll be in a position to provide for her family and be generous to others.
ITMI supporters, your contributions to this elegant solution to an enormous systemic problem has reversed injustice, provided hope and changed the course of 52 families’ lives!
There are still a few opportunities for those who haven’t yet gotten involved to make a big difference.
Three times a week, Cindy hauls 30 chairs from their church in Durbanville to the tutoring site in Stone Hill. It would really help if the tutoring center had its own chairs.
They can get them for $8.18/chair. The tutoring center also needs $400/month for curriculum licensing and internet data.
Thanks for partnering with us to fight poverty and injustice in Stone Hill!
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics, (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 4 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.