Principal’s passion: turning lives around

2016-10-06 06:00
Martha Hutchinson (front) took over as principal at the Rainbow Centre in Kruisfontein from former principal Rosa Nel, on August 1. With her at the school’s edible garden are Sinothando Mzanywa, Jacques van Rooyen, Nealon Wabanie, Derk Oosterveld (teacher) and Reagon Gericke.                                    Photo: SUPPLIED

Martha Hutchinson (front) took over as principal at the Rainbow Centre in Kruisfontein from former principal Rosa Nel, on August 1. With her at the school’s edible garden are Sinothando Mzanywa, Jacques van Rooyen, Nealon Wabanie, Derk Oosterveld (teacher) and Reagon Gericke. Photo: SUPPLIED

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MARTHA HUTCHINSON is feeling very optimistic.

Two months after taking up one of the most challenging and important jobs in the Kouga, the new principal of the Rainbow Centre in Kruisfontein, Humansdorp, sees plenty of reasons for hope.

“My passion is to turn kids’ lives around,” says Hutchinson, who is the mother of five children. “If we can harness the energy, resilience and the determination that these children have, the progress we can make will be huge. I am prepared for and excited about the challenge.

“Rosa Nel, the former principal, has done an outstanding job as principal at the centre that caters for children with special needs - not only making my challenge so much ea- sier, but also leaving some big shoes to fill.”

Hutchinson, who relocated from Johannesburg to Humansdorp in 1998, took over as principal from Rosa Nel on August 1.

She is a qualified teacher and taught mathematics at Queen’s High School in Johannesburg before opening her own learning centre in Humansdorp. The centre closed down after 10 years in 2011, after assisting children who struggle to learn. In 2015 she was employed as an Inclusion Coach by the Gauteng Department of Education, mentoring principals and teachers in full service schools.

According to Hutchinson, she is humbled by the privilege to be at the head of the centre . “I have an amazing team behind me. The teachers are here out of love and passion, and the children who have a wide range of different capabilities are absolutely wonderful.”

According to Hutchinson, she will strive to give every student a sense of self-worth. “It is of vital importance to equip every student to make the most of every opportunity.

“A small number of students have the potential to function normally. It is my aim to give them all the assistance they need, to once again integrate them into main stream schooling.

“We have, furthermore, started a skills programme for students 18 and older. The skills include painting, cleaning and carpentry.

“We want to empower them to earn an income in the future and contribute positively to the community. Each one of them is worthy and has a precious role to fulfil in society, even though they have a difficult road ahead of them.”

Thus far her biggest challenge is to register the centre with the Department of Social Welfare as a day care centre in order for them to receive some funding. “To date it has been an endless struggle,” says Hutchinson.

  • The Rainbow Centre is funded by the Victory4All Projects and is home to 110 learners with special needs, such as physical and mental disabilities or learning difficulties.

The school curriculum includes arts and crafts, woodwork, needlework, art, drama, edible gardening and cooking. They also focus on the basic foundation of mathematics, language and life orientation.

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