Primary school gets first hall

2017-05-02 06:01
Kannemeyer Primary School in Grassy Park has officially opened its own hall.

Kannemeyer Primary School in Grassy Park has officially opened its own hall.

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For the learners of Kannemeyer Primary School in Grassy Park happiness is a new hall.

There was a celebration on Thursday 20 April when, for the first time in its 56-year history, the school officially opened its own hall.

The new Archway Foundation hall at the school has restored the learners’ dignity, says principal Ridwan Samodien.

“In my 36 years as a teacher and 16 as principal of this school, I have never taught at a school that had a hall,” quips Samodien.

“To have this hall is an affirmation that our children are worth so much more than to have to sit on the ground with no shelter in the cold or heat to have their assemblies, and no place to showcase their talents.”

Samodien adds that the hall has a special name.

“It has been dubbed the ‘Hall of Hearts’”, he says. “That is to celebrate the importance of its presence in the schoolyard and the love that it generates in the hearts of the staff and children.”

The R6m hall was funded jointly by the Archway Foundation, the provincial education department and the school’s own fund­raising efforts.

Kannemeyer Primary is one of 67 schools in Cape Town and as far afield as Knysna, that have received halls in the past 11 years through the Garden Cities Archway Foundation, established to redress one of the most obvious disadvantages suffered by over a million Cape schoolchildren.

Since the foundation was established, the number of halls needed has been reduced and the provincial education department has taken responsibility for half the cost of most of the halls built recently, each of them costing around R6m or more.

Samodien’s school was one of more than 600 remaining in the Western Cape that were built in a time when little thought was given to providing the broader facilities that teachers consider essential for a holistic education.

John Matthews, group CEO of Garden Cities, the local residential development company that owns the Archway Foundation, says the efforts to reduce the shocking shortfall of school halls is a mammoth task and has a long way to go.

“Although the number of halls handed over to schools has increased substantially, there are still over 600 needed,” he says.

“The foundation welcomes financial participation from other corporates who have social investment funds to help accelerate the work.”

V Organisations and companies that share the conviction that all Western Cape schools should have a hall can call John Matthews on 021 558 7181 to discuss joint ventures.

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