2018-06-12 06:01
Some of the learners and students with founders Brian and Melanie Vandayar at the Jorvan Community Outreach Centre in Woodlands.PHOTO: Samantha Lee

Some of the learners and students with founders Brian and Melanie Vandayar at the Jorvan Community Outreach Centre in Woodlands.PHOTO: Samantha Lee

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Cultivating a culture of hard work is one of the key focuses of an education programme based in

The Jorvan Community Outreach Centre was founded by husband and wife team Brian and Melanie Vandayar.

Melanie, a teacher, started a project at Cedar High School where she mentored hard working and promising children who were struggling to have that reflect in their grades.The project called Dare to Stand Out was then extended to their home in the form of an after school initiative­.

“Aunty Melanie opened up her home for students to come and study before exam times but it was becoming too crowded,” says peer counsellor and student Celine Solomons who has been with the project since its inception.

With it being crowded, with as many as 12 students staying over at the home at a time, the Vandayar’s knew they needed to expand the initiative.

And when Melanie won a local teaching competition, the opportunity to do so presented itself.The prize was meant to be a trip Canada but was converted to a monetary prize following a few
complications. With a home available near their house, the Vandayars rallied to raise enough money to purchase the home and the Jorvan Student Centre was opened in 2013.

“Uncle Brian is a tour guide and he would bring clients here and they would help sponsor. Every year a group of dutch students visit and donate things to the Centre,” says Anastacia Arendse, a Grade 12 learner and participant at the centre.

The centre is fully equipped with study areas, a library and bedrooms.

“Most of the children here are from single mother households and we have permanent students who live here,” says

Melanie says this has assisted students develop a healthy relationship to studying as they are inspired by their peers to study, sometimes into the early hours of the morning. “The children go home on weekends but during exam times there is a lockdown,” says Melanie.

She left teaching to raise their daughter, Jordan, but returned and revived the project. “I was a teacher since 1988 and left in 2015 for around six years because our daughter was in primary school at the time and we felt she needed someone at home all the time to support her. I also felt maybe I was not meant to be a teacher but went back in 2011,” says Melanie.

“Too much emphasis is placed on only two groups at school – the ones that overachieve and the ones who are always in trouble. The other children, always in school, working hard and quiet in class but are struggling in a test, those are the ones who slip through the cracks. That was the motivation behind this.”

V Continued on page 3.


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