Umsilinga Primary School is a school for 1200 children in rural KZN, in Ezinketheni, Pietermaritzburg. The school educates over 200 orphans from the area, and provides breakfast for all learners to ensure they are able to concentrate in class. The school has been hosted in extremely run down mobile classrooms for a number of years while a new school building is being built. The difficult conditions have not affected the headmistress and staff, who are committed to educating the children; their courage and resilience has been remarkable.

In partnership with the Community Chest of Pietermaritzburg through the Comrades Marathon, Unogwaja has funded books, back packs and various other items over the years. In 2017 we have partnered with them on the Generation@, which the Breakthrough Programme is currently being run at Umsilinga Primary.

As the foundational phase, The Breakthrough Programme will address personal values and a low-level leadership development programme that is facilitated by Peer-Educators who are trained by Community Chest. Principals and teachers are very much involved in the process by enhancing the school vision and strategy.

Community Chest have developed a powerful curriculum that has been endorsed by the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge. Literally hundreds of thousands of people from varied backgrounds have been influenced by the Community Chest methodology and approach.

The Breakthrough Programme is a 12-week course for young people between the ages of 12 and 15 years of age. The programme will be facilitated by youth oaches (peer-facilitators who are between the ages of 20-25 years of age). The reason for focusing on these age groups is as follows:

  • As much as 70% of schools are dysfunctional in some way or another;
  • About 50% of learners who start school never get to matric level;
  • Learners are extremely vulnerable at this age;
  • Role models are in short supply as these kids often come from dysfunctional homes;
  • It’s normally around now that these learners start “experimenting”;
  • Peer pressure is probably at its highest level around now;
  • Teachers are often too busy or are demotivated to be bothered with the learners;
  • There are very few initiatives aimed at learners in this age group;
  • Principals need as much help as possible;
  • “Prevention is better than cure”.

The strategy is clear and effective:

To develop the leadership necessary to re-frame the future of our nation through Education

This is achieved by engaging in four key interventions:

  1. Influencing learners in all schools with life-to-life communication, knowledge, experiential learning, personal mastery, transformational leadership, coaching and mentorship;
  2. Supporting leaders in education with excellent proprietary management and leadership development and up-skilling that shifts schools to excellent institutions of learning. Digital Infrastructure support and training to teachers. Dedicated Website for Educators and students;
  3. Creating collaborative partnerships that inspire and contribute to leadership development in education, business, civil society, politics and justice. Forming of learner community chests geared for community impact through Asset Mapping and Resource mobilization;
  4. Unlock resources from the private sector and apply them strategically to the complex process involved in developing transformational leadership.