Focus on iThemba – Growing Hearts and Minds
“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” – Nelson Mandela
Alleviating poverty within a nation relies on key socio-economic partnerships between government, the private sector and society. Danie van den Heever, Executive Chairman of Dancor Properties, has been instrumental in creating paths to action this in KwaZulu-Natal.
Through faith, a strong calling to make a difference, and the support of key donors, Danie and his wife Judy established the accredited public benefit (18A), non-profit organisation Focus on iThemba in 2003. iThemba means ‘hope’ in isiZulu and through incredible teamwork, passion and the kindness of the human spirit, this ‘place of hope’ has benefited many.
Located on the iThemba Campus in Hillcrest KwaZulu-Natal, Focus on iThemba is a B-BBEE compliant, public benefit (18a) NPO with a vision to ‘Grow Hearts and Minds’. Rooted in the belief that every child has potential, this dynamic organisation aims to create meaningful and lasting change by investing in children through quality education.
Today, the NPO focuses on facilitating quality Early Childhood Development to its ten partner Pre-Schools in the Valley of 1000 Hills through power collaborations with accredited training, education and nutrition organisations. Focus on iThemba also facilitates a private scholarship programme where boys and girls from underprivileged communities are selected to attend Waterfall Schools from Grade 000.
iThemba Educare Programme:
This programme supports the significance of Early Childhood Development and partners with ten Pre-Schools in the Valley of 1000 Hills to facilitate quality educare to more than 650 children between the ages of 0 and 5 years (the most fundamental years for crucial brain development). The programme’s effectiveness and efficiency is enhanced by its partnerships with education, training and nutrition experts, as well as the expertise of a full-time ECD monitor who ensures on-going support, training and mentorship to the principals and teachers.
iThemba Scholars Programme:
This private scholarship programme currently accommodates 13 scholars ranging from Grades 000 to 7. The programme aims to accept two additional scholars every year and support their educational journeys right up to Grade 12. Waterfall Schools – encompassing Waterfall Pre-Primary, Waterfall Preparatory and Waterfall College – are members of the Independent Schools Association of South Africa (ISASA) and offer quality, affordable education that promotes the holistic growth and development of children.
2016 marked a significant turning point for Focus on iThemba with the opening of Waterfall Pre-Primary on the iThemba Campus. Shortly afterwards in January 2017, Waterfall Preparatory School was established and welcomed learners from Grade R to Grade 3 and in 2018, their facilities expanded to accommodate learners from Grades 4 to 7. Today, the iThemba Campus offers the benefit of an educational pathway, right from 12 months at Waterfall Pre-Primary to Grade 12 at Waterfall College and most recently, the addition of a Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Centre.
Waterfall Schools is part of the greater sustainability programme for the longevity of Focus on iThemba, as the occupation of these classroom buildings results in on-going funding being raised for the NPO.
All of Focus on iThemba’s finances are externally audited, and in 2020 the NPO received an unqualified audit from Baker Tilly Morrison Murray. Donations received are tax deductible and with being B-BBEE compliant, they can assist organisations looking to score points In Socio-Economic Development (SED) and Enterprise Development (ED) with up-to-date certificates.