Read Lila’s account below.

My name is Lila Azorin and I am 4th year student Social Worker at the University of Cape Town. For my 3rd and 4th year field practicum I was lucky enough to be placed at Sullivan Primary School. The heart and soul of Sullivan has been fostered by Mr Moore, an outstanding principal, is evident in the excellence of its teaching staff, which spills over onto every other staff members. This shines through the learners who have impeccable manners, showing respect to every single person that walks past them in the passages. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that this school attracts the amount of dedicated volunteers that it does. My experience of having the honour to do my practical work at Sullivan will stay warmly and strongly with me forever.

As part of my 3rd and 4th year practical I was required to undertake 2 different community projects within Sullivan Primary, along with facilitating a small group. For all I decided to focus on basing my interventions around education.

For my 3rd year community project I partnered with the Life Matters Foundation, a faith-based NPO offering services to the greater Constantiaberg region. One of their biggest programmes is that of literacy. They have several literacy centres in various primary schools in the Cape Flats and Westlake areas. These centres offer literacy support to Grade 2 and 3 children who are struggling at their Grade level. They play games, they learn to read and write, and they are read to.

This is such a necessary intervention, as it has been shown that in areas such the Cape Flats were child maltreatment and neglect is rife, the children tend to suffer for behavioural and cognitive deficits. Furthermore, for many of these children there first language is not English (which is the language the children are educated in) and they are entering into Grade 1 with no prior formal education. The strain on teachers is already insurmountable, and to focus on those struggling means to take away from those flourishing.

After a few months of planning and preparation I was able to put together several fundraising projects and I realized to the opening of the Sullivan Life Matters Foundation Literacy Centre. It is currently a fully functional centre that aims to address children who are falling behind in class primarily due to language barriers and effects the of maltreatment and neglect. The centre is fully driven by volunteers who simply require a love for children so I urge you to come along, have a look, and get involved… man cannot survive without the community of others.