*The Cape Flats is a vast area around Cape Town where physical and sexual violence, substance abuse, domestic conflict, poverty and inequality threaten the lives and futures of children.
We believe that God loves every child on the Cape Flats. Each one matters, each one is valuable, each one was made to live life to the full.
They may walk a difficult road, but so did some of the greatest people in history. By overcoming their challenges they can become men and women of deep character and compassion. And the world needs more people like that, doesn’t it?
Every child needs a place where they know they belong. Only when they feel safe can they engage fully in learning, playing and growing. We are creating a community tailored to the physical, emotional, spiritual and cognitive needs of Cape Flats children.
Our small classes, committed teachers and a holistic, long term approach to childhood development are all part of this strategy.
To give shape to our convictions and community, we started Trinity Children’s Centre – an integrated early childhood development centre and independent primary school in Mitchell’s Plain. Here children enjoy thoughtful, innovative education that aims for transformed lives, not just good test scores.
Starting from one preschool class in 2012, we have been adding a new grade every year, so that we can grow to Grade 7 by 2021. That adds up to 10 years or 2000 school days invested in every child!
Through our Sponsor a Child programme you can begin a journey with a child and see how he or she learns and grows over time. We believe that making a long term difference is not about what you do, but what you enable others to do. So we’re not looking for heroes – we’ve already found them. We’re looking for sidekicks who will help these young heroes to their future.
Q: How many children are in TCC?
A: We currently have 120 learners from Grade RR – Grade 6. That’s 15 per class and one class per grade. In 2021 we will expand to 135 learners when we add Grade 7.
Q: Do the children live at TCC?
A: No, they live with their parents or guardians and attend TCC during normal school terms. We see education as a partnership between the school, the children and their families.
Q: Do the families pay to attend?
A: Yes, we charge a small fee – roughly 10% of the actual cost of running the school. This helps us ensure that we are working with families who are committed to their children’s education. We also allow volunteering in lieu of fees for unemployed parents.
Q: Where does the rest of the funding come from?
A: The majority of our funding comes from individuals and businesses in Cape Town, though we also have some donors in the UK, US and Germany. Our Sponsor a Child programme provides our core monthly income and ad hoc donations cover most of our capital costs. We receive no government funding.
Q: Are donations tax deductible?
A: Yes, we are a registered Public Benefit Organisation and can issue Section 18A tax certificates to South African individuals and businesses. US donors can get tax receipts directly from our US partner, Faith & Learning International. UK donors can Gift Aid their donations via our UK partner, ECLISA. See our Donate Page for more information.
Q: What challenges do you face?
A: Resources – To reach Grade 7 in 2021, we have been adding a new grade every year since we started in 2012. This means we are always looking for the next salary and classroom and other resources.
Childhood risk factors – Not every child is exposed to every risk, but in general Mitchell’s Plain is a very hard place to be a child. Factors include high rates of physical and sexual violence, lack of resources and choices, limited access to basic services and opportunities and an inherited inequality in levels of health, income and education.
Q: Where do you get your staff/teachers from? Are they qualified?
A: Many are local to the Cape Flats, and some are parents of children in the school. Others commute from further afield because of their heart for Cape Flats children. Our class teachers are all qualified, but we also have a number of assistant teachers who are studying part time while working at TCC.
Q: Where do you get learners?
A: There is enormous demand and we have had a waiting list since the week we started back in 2012. Families can apply at the school during the annual application window. The majority of our learners live within walking distance of the school, though a handful live further away.
Q: Do you have other branches, either locally or overseas?
A: We belong to several networks and share learning with other organisations, but we do not have any other branches. That’s because our vision is to make a deep, sustained investment in the children we have so that they can go on to be tomorrow’s heroes. We think of ourselves as sidekicks – our job isn’t to save the world, it’s to enable the children to become the heroes they are meant to be.
Q: What do you mean by ‘Christian school’?
A: Motivation: God’s love for children and for working through people that others forget is what motivated us to start TCC.
Integrity & transparency: We recognise that everyone has beliefs and values and that SA has a rich history of honouring diversity. We think that living with integrity in a diverse society does not mean not having values or not acting consistently with them, but rather means being clear and transparent about one’s values and how they are lived out, while being respectful to others.
Curriculum: The majority of our curriculum is composed of widely-accepted academic knowledge (such as reading, writing and arithmetic), taught from a Christian perspective. Our curriculum also includes some distinct Christian teaching, such as theology and Christian ethics, which is not graded or included in learners’ academic records.
Open enrolment: our admissions policy does not discriminate on the basis of creed – learners of any faith are welcomed and are not required to become Christians to enter or remain at the school. However, learners are expected to abide by our code of conduct and other policies, which are rooted in a Christian frame of values.