Christel House South Africa, a non-profit school that offers no-fee scholarships to students from some of Cape Town’s poorest neighborhoods, encourages its students to dream big, think creatively and to be resourceful from a young age. The school’s unique character-based and career-focused programme, which starts in Grade RR, focuses on preparing students for the future world of work and encouraging an entrepreneurial mindset.
One student, Timia L, a Grade 7 student from Manenberg runs a baking business with her grandmother when she is not attending school or participating in after school activities. Her grandmother started selling the biscuits in boxes to members of the community. Through Timia’s keen observation skills and an entrepreneurial mindset, she came up with the idea to sell the biscuits individually. She knew that community members would love the sweet treats and that they would be able to afford the cost of individual biscuits, especially during the pandemic. Her newfound customers bought the biscuits and her business started thriving. Timia says that her grandmother taught her how to bake the biscuits and the two have dreams of opening their own bakery. “I hope to be able to travel one day and I’m saving money to visit London. The business is doing well and my grandparents were even able to buy a second hand car recently,” says the Grade 7 student.
During the pandemic, Ziah F., a Grade 11 student from Kewtown, Athlone, started a small barbershop business called “Fresher than Before”. Ziah initially joined a hairdressing project run by Intercoiffure at Christel House SA where he acquired his hair cutting skills. He started offering free haircuts but as his skill improved and once he was able to purchase equipment, he started charging for haircuts. Well known Cape Town barber, Craig Kok, mentored Ziah and showed him what it takes to be a barber. Ziah says, “I have a strong passion for entrepreneurship and my greatest goal is to create more employment in my area. I hope to expand my small business throughout Cape Town and as an aspiring businessman, one of my dreams is to make a positive impact in the community and give back.”
Christel House SA supports its students for 19 years (Grade RR to Grade 12 and five years post matric) through character-based and career-focused education. Key aspects of Christel House’s model include poverty mitigation services in the form of daily transport to school and back, professional health care, nutritious meals, psychosocial counselling, family assistance and college and careers planning and support.