The St James Educational Trust exists to address deficiencies in education and improve the quality and experience of each learner.
We are a Christian outreach organisation, determined to make a difference in the lives of our learners by supporting the existing structures at primary schools in Manenberg (on the Cape Flats.)
We are motivated by the Bible teaching found in James Chapter 2 which encourages us to look after the poor.
The Trust was born out of a desire to contribute toward a worthy cause in education. Owen Johnston, a member of St James Church in Kenilworth, together with the Rev. Frank Retief, established the Trust in 1999. At that time the main focus of the trust centred around feeding schemes in a few primary schools. After some years, the work of the Trust was expanded to include children’s camps, trauma counselling and social events for parents. A well known hotel group also came on board providing soup and bread to the schools and we were instrumental in furnishing air conditioned computer rooms at several schools in the area.
The changing socio economic conditions in the country, following the global financial crisis in 2008, led to a change of direction once again as unemployment and poverty continued to rise and funding became limited. More and more children were arriving at Grade 1 without any preschool education. Literacy and numeracy levels had dropped and learners and their parents were not able to contribute towards the cost of camps. As a result, the decision was taken to focus our efforts on literacy and numeracy support for entry level foundation phase learners and to replace the camps with daytime excursions which would include all learners from Grade R to Grade 7. The Trust has also been instrumental in reviving the libraries at the schools. An After School programme, intended to offer the learners an alternative to life on the streets and the lure of the gangs includes: arts and crafts, ball room dancing, children’s clubs and sport and periodic holiday clubs.
Our programmes are run primarily on a volunteer basis and we enjoy financial assistance from a number of partners across the city.