Lufthansa’s aid group creating prospects for disadvantaged children in South Africa

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After more than five years of intensive persuasion and planning, the brand-new Primary School of the help alliance project iThemba was opened today in Capricorn near Cape Town. From now on 105 children can be taught in three classes. After completion of all construction stages, 700 disadvantaged girls and boys will receive a high-quality education and the chance at having a better future. The socially and economically disadvantaged suburb of the South African tourist metropolis is still home to more than 2,500 children without a place in schools.

help alliance bears the construction costs of more than one million euros. It is the largest project of the Lufthansa Group’s aid organisation. Susanne French, help alliance project manager for iThemba and Lufthansa Purser, has worked endlessly over the past few years to get this project up and running. The primary school has been approved by the South African Ministry of Education and is recognised and financed by the state. The provincial government provides the land and the operational costs are borne by the Western Cape Education Department.

help alliance patron Vivian Spohr, in the presence of Glen van Harte, Director Metro South District of the Western Cape Education Department, and her husband Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, opened the Primary School. “We are very pleased to be able to offer so many deserving children here in the township a first-class education. It is a dream come true not only for the many people who have worked tirelessly for the project, but the children and families who will be impacted by the education provided. The girls and boys attending iThemba now have a new opportunity to achieve their dreams,” says Mrs. Spohr.

For more than ten years now, help alliance has been involved with the children in the township and has been supporting the iThemba Pre-School since then. Currently, 85 children between the ages of three and six are being cared for here. In addition to qualified English lessons, they are taught social skills, which often fall by the wayside in the whirlpool of poverty and violence. A close cooperation with families and the community creates trust and acceptance.

With the construction of the iThemba Primary School, help alliance is now taking the next step and significantly expanding its commitment with a clear focus on the Sustainable Development Goal “Quality Education” of the United Nations Agenda 2030.

However, there is more to come: “We have just completed phase one,” explains help alliance project manager Susanne French. “Our goal is to build a community college for the whole family, because we have a holistic approach. The project is building towards offering evening classes and sports for young people. It is precisely this age group that is particularly at risk. We want and must show young people an alternative lifestyle to gang violence, drugs and alcohol. For this we need many more donations, of course.”

About help alliance

help alliance is the aid organization of the Lufthansa Group. As an internationally operating company and part of the German and international community, it assumes responsibility for current social challenges beyond its actual business activities.

Founded in 1999 by 13 Lufthansa employees, the non-profit limited liability company currently bundles around 35 projects worldwide under its roof, which are intended to provide young people in particular with access to education and enable them to lead a self-determined life. Around 10,000 people benefit directly from the support of the help alliance. The projects are financed exclusively by donations.

In addition to the focus on education, it promotes entrepreneurship. In recent years, around 140 projects have been supported. All project content is based on the strict standards of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.