In 2003, a dream came to fruition when Hillcrest residents Danie and Judy van den Heever’s aspirations to facilitate significant change for the youth in the Valley of 1000 Hills area were realised.
Through faith, a strong calling to make a difference and the support of key donors, they established the accredited public benefit (18A), non-profit organisation Focus on iThemba. iThemba means “hope” in isiZulu and through incredible teamwork, passion and the kindness of the human spirit this “place of hope” has benefited many.
The main pillars where the Focus on iThemba team aim to make a difference are: iThemba Community, iThemba Scholars, iThemba Campus, iThemba Homes and iThemba Friends & Donors.
Over the years and observing the need in the community, the direction of the NPO has shifted to shining a light more to education. Today the vision is to “Grow Hearts and Minds” by investing in children through quality education, resulting in life-altering positive change. Located on an inspiring 41-acres of land, known as the iThemba Campus, this is where Waterfall Schools has taken root.
Three of the board members who steer Focus on iThemba also sit on the Waterfall Schools Board to ensure the overlapping philosophies of investing and prioritising growth through education are kept in focus. The Waterfall Schools group is part of the greater sustainability programme for the longevity of Focus on iThemba and the two pillars where the two work closely together are the iThemba Scholars Programme and iThemba Community initiatives.
The dynamic iThemba Scholars programme offers scholarships for 100% tuition at Waterfall Schools to selected pupils from the Pre-Schools with which Focus on iThemba partners. As of 2018 and through the support of forwarding-thinking donors, eight children have benefited from the programme. In 2019, two additional scholarships will be offered from Pre-Primary level through to Grade 12. The Fund collectively aims to support two new children annually. In addition, four iThemba foster children are benefiting from an excellent education at the Prep and College.
Focus on iThemba believes in the power of Early Childhood Development (ECD) as more and more research highlights the significance of the first six years of a child’s life in terms of crucial brain development. The team currently works alongside eight Pre-Schools in the Valley of 1000 Hills and Molweni areas to ensure tomorrow’s generation gets the best start today. In 2019, another two Pre-Schools will join the programme. In embracing kindness and caring values, Waterfall Schools aims to support these Pre-Schools through age-appropriate donations along with mentorship initiatives.