Story of Hope: From Farm Worker to Qualified TeacherJuly 13, 2021
Rozanne Appollis grew up in the notorious Malva Street in Kylemore, a town outside Stellenbosch, flanked by the Simonsberg and Drakenstein mountains.
Malva Street is known for its vices, a dangerous place where children are exposed to neglect, drugs and violence. Despite these challenges, Rozanne endured and matriculated, unlike many of her friends, who dropped out of school.
She was resolved to do something good with her life and to be an example to others in her community. Especially in Malva Street, where today she is known as “Juffrou”, and proudly so.
Making the Most of Opportunities
After struggling as a seasonal farm worker in a neighbouring vineyard, Rozanne was desperate to find another job. After praying and waiting patiently, she eventually landed a cooking and cleaning job at one of Valcare’s member organisations, Aitsa! Aftercare.
Little did she know that this was just the start of much bigger things to come.
Rozanne’s vibrant personality and passion for children quickly led to greater responsibilities in the classrooms. After assisting in the foundational grade classes, she decided to take the big step and study towards becoming a teacher.
“If you want to achieve something in life, only you can make it happen. I believe there is something out there for everyone. It’s your choice to grab it, or to lose it,” says Rozanne.
Top Performing Student
In 2019 she enrolled at the Edubuild Institute in Paarl and graduated second in her class, obtaining her NQF Level 4 diploma in Early Childhood Development. She has since also enrolled for the Level 5 diploma which is a more specialised higher education and training qualification in the ECD sector.
But Rozanne remains determined.
“After NQF 5, I want to enrol for a B. Ed degree and qualify to work in primary schools. Aitsa! is dreaming of opening a youth centre for kids in grades 8-12. That’s where I’m heading one day, working with older kids.”
More Than Just Employers
In addition to covering half of Rozanne’s study expenses, Aitsa! Aftercare also provides moral support and encouragement on a personal level. Especially when she had to attend classes on Saturdays for almost two years.
As a mother of two young children, Rozanne can go to work with peace of mind. Not only are her kids enrolled as day students at Aitsa! Aftercare, their fees are also sponsored by the centre.
A Place of Growth
The colourful aftercare centre has eight class rooms, a computer room, a library, and two extramural learning spaces.
They currently have 250 kids in the junior phase, and they start a new class with 35 kids every year. Parents pay a minimal fee per month, which covers lunch and snacks, activities and educational programmes.
“We have a wonderful code of honour based on the letters that make up the word AITSA. The letter A stands for ‘Aanbidding’ (worship), I is for ‘Integriteit’ (integrity), T is for ‘Toewyding’ (dedication), S is for ‘Spanwerk’ (teamwork) and A is for ‘Allerbeste’ (very best).
There is a sense of dignity and a level of excellence that can be clearly witnessed at the centre.
A Passion for Children
Rozanne not only focuses on supporting the children with educational support, but sees it as her role to be a guide and mentor too.
“The kids come to me with all their problems,” she says. “I urge them to come and speak to me if something bad is happening at home, so we can do something about it. We are here to help them flourish and create great futures for them,” says Rozanne.
“To be involved with Aitsa! is just one, big blessing. I can go so much further now. I know, for sure, the sky is the limit.”
Aitsa! Aftercare Centre in Kylemore is one of our Education Support organisations. They provide a safe, stimulating environment for children and offer learning and life skills programmes.
Words by Marzahn Botha. Photographs by Marzahn Botha and supplied by Aitsa! Aftercare.