Crestway High School's Outdoor stage gets a facelift as part of the School Holiday Programme

Two of the youth leaders proudly showcasing one of the huge collages made during the holiday programme
New World Foundation hosts a School holiday programme at Crestway
Let’s face it: the June 3-week school holidays can be a nightmare for parents and school children on the Cape Flats. Once the euphoria is over that there is finally a break from the classrooms, reality sets in. There is far too much free time and way too few wholesome recreational facilities and activities to keep our children occupied.
This is what makes bridge builders like Zain and his volunteer Youth leader team from the Lavender Hill-based NGO, New World Foundation, such a critical social lever. Zain, a youth worker is dynamite. I met Zain when he organized the first art exhibition in Lavender Hill last year.  Here at Crestway High school, Zain and his 25-strong youth leaders from Crestway, Sibelius and Lavender Hill High school and German Student volunteers, hosted a 2-week holiday programme for learners in the Steenberg area.
Day 1, 01 July: the programme kicks off…
My first visit was on 1 July, 2013, when the holiday programme commenced. Zain, a soft-spoken, Andy Capp cladded young man, explained why Crestway was chosen as the venue.
“Currently I facilitate a Youth Leadership programme with students from this school and Sibelius High school at New World Foundation premises in Lavender Hill. We decided to run our programme at Crestway to serve multiple purposes. By hosting the holiday programme here, the youth leaders will have opportunities to exercise their newly-acquired leadership skills in a non-threatening environment, we would be able to provide structured recreation for younger learners and beautify an area at the school as part of this programme.”
Top: the outdoor stage looking bland.
Bottom: transformed stage with Crestway Motto. Stars and spirals capture the  energy 
Fabulous stuff! After this chat, Mr Schippers escorted me to the rooms to see the dance and drama activities. Mr Schippers is the chairperson of Crestway High School’s Governing Body, but he was the security officer during this period. In the ‘kitchen, I met Mrs Mansoer, also a serving school governor at another school, Levana Primary. Mrs Mansoer explained that she has a child at Sibelius High and that she had volunteered to be the cook during the holiday programme.
Dance class above. Bottom left: Lunch time sees the Cook, Mrs Mansoer and  the drama group.
Bottom Right:  softball academy learner is oblivious of all while she ponders the focus of her artwork.
Mrs Mansoer reminded me that she would let me know when my guided walk through Lavender Hill will take place. You see, Mrs Mansoer is the ‘official’ tour guide of all German volunteer students- hosted by New World Foundation. These students spend some of their time at Levana Primary. At the end of their volunteer service at Levana, Mrs Mansoer takes these young people on a guided tour to all the landmarks in Lavender Hill – the Senior’s home, the educare centre, the centre for abused children and women and so forth. I was of course, invited to participate in such a tour on one occasion, because according to Mrs Mansoer, you have not experienced Lavender Hill if you have not done this tour!
Day 1 and the artistic creations are finding expression on these pages.

So, having greeted all and having seen all the activities, I bid them goodbye and promise to return on the last day again.
Day 10: 12 July- the finale
Today I visited Crestway again, the final day of the programme. Unfortunately I had missed the drama production but I was just in time to attend the certificate ceremony where all the attendees and the volunteers were affirmed. The air was filled with whoops and applause – sheer enjoyment.
Top: participants and parents receive their certifictes.
Bottom: the team of volunteers being cheered on by their groups.
Zain and his leadership team spent roughly 60 quality hours with the participants. 60 Hours are 2,5 days - just slightly longer than a weekend in real terms. In 2,5 days, Zain and his team had successfully produced and staged a dance and drama production, had enabled all the learners to design and craft an artwork which they could take home and they had gifted Crestway High School with a painted mural on the school’s outdoor stage. These are the physical, tangible achievements. When the children broke into a spontaneous rendition of “We are the children, we are the future”, during our photo shoot on the transformed stage, I had a glimpse of the spiritual and emotional richness that the group gained as well. How magnificent is this!
Left: Zain with his team of volunteers and all the learners who participated in the  holiday programme.

There is absolutely no doubt that human agency knows no bounds when we create the spaces for people to flourish.

Other beneficiaries of the school holiday programme
There are going to be friends who will hear about the participants' fantastic June holidays and there will be many a primary school teacher who will hear interesting stories either during the oral or writing sessions at school now when the new term starts.

And, I wonder what the Crestway family of teachers and learners are going to say when they hear the stories of "The Day young people poured in their love and energies to create a masterpiece for them"...
Before and After scenes. Even the heavens have applied fabulous brushstrokes to complete the scene in the  picture below.


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