Living Vicariously As A Peripatetic Shutterbug

{ More musings from the Cantankerous Old Mule }

Helping turn children’s dreams into reality

Over the years my mother has held several jobs, the latest being as fundraiser for an NGO called the Enlighten Education Trust in Hermanus, an hour and a half out of Cape Town. While I was visiting her last week she asked if I would take some photos at a few of the trust’s projects.

Hermanus, which originally went by the name Hermanuspietersfontein, is a sleepy seaside town famous for whale-watching. It is also home to a beautiful old railway station (that has never had railway tracks) dating back to the early 1900s, it boasts South Africa’s national geomagnetic research facility and one of the highest concentrations of retired people in the country (or so it seems.)

Enlighten Education Trust was started in 2002 to “improve the quality of teaching, learning and life in the Overstrand.” It reaches into mainly-disadvantaged communities within a 50km radius of Hermanus, “upskilling” teachers and providing direct services to children to enhance their intellectual, physical and emotional development. They are currently running 17 projects in 22 schools and 30 Early Childhood Development centres in the region.

In the week that I spent at Enlighten’s premises I saw children coming from far and wide – often on foot – to use their library, do pottery and art, play at the centre’s toy library, practice music and learn practically about robotics in the computer lab. And then I got to visit several of the schools and preschools too, where I saw the trust’s foundation phase enrichment programme in operation, recorder lessons to a whole class, and a marimba band practicing.

I love the fact that, as our government bickers about racism and apartheid and power, an organisation in the backwaters of the Western Cape is just going about enriching children’s lives. Here people of all races work together as if it’s the most natural thing. This is the South Africa I love.

I have heard people complaining that NGOs will often stage photos in order to manipulate people into giving money for a good cause. The amazing thing is that none of these were staged – they were all just me hanging about and snapping away as people did what they do week in and week out. Obviously all of this does cost money. If you would like to get involved financially, or by donating books, music instruments, toys or Lego robotics, I know they would appreciate it.

You can get their contact details (and read more about them) on their website:

And without further ado, here are some photos. I took around 250 for them. Luckily for you I whittled that down to only 28! (Click on the pics to see them bigger.)


4 comments on “Helping turn children’s dreams into reality

  1. madasue
    January 27, 2016

    Thank you for reminding us there is always hope, and beauty, no matter what politicians are doing.

  2. There_Lot
    January 27, 2016

    A few nights ago I sat in a restaurant in a quaint little “dorpie” not far away from Hermanus. The people at the table next to me was chatting away on most expats favourite topic…how it was definitely now 3 minutes before midnight in SA (for reals this time) and that is the reason for their visit…to sell a property that they owned in Franschhoek. Moments like that always make me long to share real-life SA with them so that they too can see the beauty of it all that is there if all you are looking for is not exchange rates, unions and polical views…hopefully they will stumble upon blog-posts like this one someday…
    (Postscript: In their defense, I think they were originally from the UK and got citizenship in SA and moved back to the UK).

  3. Tish
    January 28, 2016

    What a challenge and inspiration to the rest of us.

  4. Magriet Peter
    February 3, 2016

    Very Nice Robin. Thanks to you for making a difference as well.
    Travel safely

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on January 27, 2016 by in Real Life, South Africa and tagged , , , , , , , .
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