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Posted : 09 February 2012

School on a ‘mission’

 Category: News

Tremaine van Aardt

THE Missionvale Care Centre has been expanding minds, hearts and hope across Missionvale for the past 23 years, and now, thanks to an Irish aid foundation and local business contributions totalling R3-million, the centre has finally been given the opportunity to expand.
The Missionvale Care Centre Academy (MCCA) currently educates 165 children from Grade R to Grade 3 but by 2015 it become a fully fledged primary school, providing education up to Grade 7 for an additional 90 pupils.
With no government assistance and school fees only being R20 a month, the academy, which follows the government curriculum, relies heavily on donations to fund everything from teachers’ salaries to providing school uniforms.
The school opened its doors in 2005, although caregivers from the clinic have been providing education to poverty stricken children since 1988.
Missionvale Care Centre marketing manager Linda van Oudhuesden said the extension was necessary for the children’s progression to continue.
“After completing Grade 3 our children would go to government schools. We found this was not ideal, and we feel our initial investment in the child is lost.
“We will incorporate the principles of an academy into our curriculum and hope our focus will reach beyond the academy by preparing the child for the world outside of Missionvale,” she said.
The foundation for the extension was laid in December last year and building started in January.
Thanks to a team of 82 volunteers, 41 Irish and 41 locals, the academy will have an additional two blocks with three classrooms each and a separate ablution facility. The project is expected to be completed by the end of March.
Each year the centre will add one grade, which will accommodate no more than 30 pupils to ensure each child receives the attention they deserve as is standard practice with the classes now.
Their selection criteria works on a first come first serve basis.
MCCA principal Russell Viljoen believes in what he calls the three “Hs”.
“Head, heart and hands is the way we educate here. Through targeting the head we provide the necessary education for progression.
“By reaching the heart we ensure the education produces positive results. And through the hands we are able to implement the skills required to start this process of change,” he said.
Van Oudheusden said the project had sparked new life in the staff members at the centre.
“It fills us all with hope for a better and brighter future for the children of Missionvale. And we know we will continue seeing many successes in the years to come!” she said.Founder of the Missionvale Care Centre, Sister Ethel Normoyle, went into the area in 1988, eager to share the gospel message of love and compassion with the residents.
Eventually with the help of a local trust, business contributions and financial backing from her friends and family in Ireland, sister Ethel developed the centre.
Its purpose is to provide essential health, social and spiritual services and develop a sense of pride and ownership.


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