The Need

education for underserved communities, south africaEvery child has the challenge of learning what they need to know about the world around them.

Even for those in quality schools, absorbing and remembering what is needed can be a big challenge.

But imagine struggling to get to school, only to find your teacher absent without a substitute. Often. Or being taught every day by a completely unqualified teacher.

You face challenges at home, too. Your one bedroom shack has a dirt floor and no table. Your (probably single) mother can't help you - she dropped out, too. She will often be working long hours to make ends meet.

You don't have access to books or the internet to help you.

Yet you still have to reach certain standards to pass the grade.

The math and science education in South Africa continually ranks in the bottom 5% of education systems worldwide.

Sadly, if the basics are missed, and they often are, most may never catch up. This leads to failing and dropping out, perpetuating the cycle of poverty.

Durbanville Community Church in South Africa is pastored by ITMI's Mark Parris. Out of this congregation has emerged a movement to reach and serve those in the Stone Hill township outside Durbanville.

ITMI's Charl van Wyk has been heavily involved as a leader and advocate.

Stone Hill, South Africa, Charl van Wyk, Poverty

Stone Hill settlement, outside Cape Town, South Africa.

Stone Hill, South Africa, Charl van Wyk, Sports, Poverty

Run down shacks like this one are what most of the residents call home. Doing homework here adds an extra element of challenge.

After their years of interaction with the youth of the township, Mark and his church have identified breaking the negative cycle of poor education as a key opportunity to effect significant change in underdeveloped communities in the Western Cape, South Africa.

As the ministry has grown and relationships were built, they have been able to provide many positive things for the youth of this settlement, including activities, crafts and sports-training and coaching.

Recently, they raised funds to build a clinic and an Early Childhood Development Center, which will be complete by the end of 2017.

Stone Hill, South Africa, Charl van Wyk, youth

Stone Hill girls with their crafts.

Stone Hill, South Africa, Charl van Wyk, Sports

The Stone Hill wrestling team surprised everyone by winning the championship!

However, without some academic intervention, these youth will be unemployable due to their lack of basic skills. To break the cycle of poverty, they need to pass their exams. To do that, they need help overcoming the incredible odds that are stacked against them.


ITMI's Cindi Parris is leading an initiative by Durbanville Community Church and the Josiah Trust (a fund set up to benefit Stone Hill) to launch "school in a box" in Stone Hill.

Durbanville Community Church would like to set up a tutoring centre in Durbanville that can be used for Stone Hill and another underprivileged community nearby, Morning Star.

The center will provide an innovative way for underprivileged children to learn the basics of Mathematics, English and other subjects in order to pass their year level.

We would like to purchase "School in a Box" set for the tutoring center. For just under $7,000 USD, the center will have the entire school curriculum from grade 1- 12 using video lessons, examples to practise and quizzes which are personally monitored for each child.

"School in a Box" includes 25 tablets which connect via a wireless router.

Stone Hill tutoring center, South Africa

School in a Box comes with tablets and a full curriculum for grades 1-12. 

In other communities where this system has been used, the students’ grades have improved dramatically, allowing them to pass their respective year levels and eventually be able to study after school.

The clinic and Early Childhood Development Center will provide a facility where an individual from the community can run an after-care center that can also provide tutoring every day.

The one-time cost of the school in a box is $6702.37 USD.

This includes the curriculum, initial licensing fee, 25 tablets, accessories, set up and training of volunteers.

On-going costs include a monthly technical support fee and a yearly license fee totaling $311.50 USD.

Stone Hill, South Africa, Cindi Parris

ITMI's Cindi Parris tutoring a youth from Stone Hill, South Africa.

Cindi and some others have been offering tutoring every Saturday morning, and they've already seen marked improvements on the grades of those they are working with. 

The school in a box tutoring center will expand the reach beyond the number of volunteers, and give more students the opportunity to daily learn what they need to grasp in order to pass their grade levels.

Stone Hill, South Africa

A youth receives help with homework from a volunteer tutor. 


  • Expand the existing ministry in Stone Hill, South Africa by embodying the Good News. 
  • Break the cycle of poverty in Stone Hill, South Africa by improving the education of the youth. 
  • Multiply the reach of the Good News by replicating the project in addition underprivileged communities in South Africa.  


  • Prayer for the relationships being built in Stone Hill through tutoring. 
  • One-time funding for the initial start-up cost of $6702.37 USD.
  • On-going gifts covering the $311.50 USD monthly fee. 

Who’s Involved


  • ITMI's Mark and Cindi Parris initiating, overseeing and serving as tutors for the project. 
  • Josiah Trust, a fund established for the benefit of Stone Hill.
  • Durbanville Community Church, pastored by Mark Parris and to which many of those who minister in Stone Hill belong. 
  • ITMI's Charl van Wyk is a leader in and advocate for the ministry in Stone Hill. 

Latest News

Project Joseph Impact: On-the-Ground Workers’ Perspective

Olga, Stone Hill, South Africa

Olga and Cozmore share what they’ve seen as on-the-ground workers doing Project Joseph outreaches. They share the short and long-term impact of your Project Joseph gifts.

The Novelty of Building Blocks and Puzzles

When 11th grader, Rea, handed in his report, the teacher blurted, “This is not your project! You’ve never done anything like this before!” Rea hadn’t cheated, but his spirits weren’t dampened…

A Simple and Cost-effective Solution to a Complex Problem

South Africa, Charl van Wyk, Stone Hill, Mark Parris

Yonela pressed her fingertips into the corners of her eyes. She ran them across her dark eyebrows and shook her head in fatigue and frustration. From the front of the South African high school classroom, her algebra teacher was explaining a complicated concept in Afrikaans, Yonela’s third language. At home, Yonela speaks Xhosa and English.  Yonela was desperately trying…

Dear Team: Dream Big, Ask Boldly

Charl van Wyk, Steve Evers,

This might be a small thing, but it tickled me. I should have known better when ITMI’s Charl van Wyk asked me how many thumb drives we had. Charl doesn’t look at things like most people. He…