Ashley redefines his circumstance

South Africa has come a long way in trying to undo the effects of apartheid on our education system. We have just celebrated 20 years since the dawn of democracy yet disparities still persist and many remain excluded from the system. Many children and youth do not have access to education and live in dire conditions. Many who do have the privilege of getting access to education continue to be plagued by crime, poverty, and a lack of early childhood development support, hence the high drop out rates in our country.



A child’s early years are important for development and laying a foundation. Many studies have been conducted which prove that effective childhood development yields “academic achievement, behavior, educational progression and attainment, and labour market success,” in the later stages of one’s life.

At age 15, young Ashley Magutshwa has not allowed his circumstances define him. When he joined Sparrow Schools from the Ikageng Itireleng Ministry orphanage home, he had difficulties learning. Magutshwa and his sister were left stranded after the passing of their grandmother and were taken in by the orphanage home. He later found the perfect home in the Sparrow Foundation School. Through the multifaceted team of therapists from the Learner Support Unit offered by the school, Ashley has risen above his circumstance.



Eight years since joining the Sparrow Foundation, Magutshwa is now an active ballerino at the Johannesburg Theater. He is also a drama student at the National School of the Arts. He has featured in various plays including Cinderella and received numerous certificates. The 15 year old from Soweto now holds regular ballet classes for kids in his community on weekends.

The young ballerino dreams of travelling to the United States after matriculating to pursue his dancing career. He has ambitions of spreading his wings, venturing into business and having his own family one day. He is testament to the fact that it is not where you come from that will determine your success. It is what you do now that will determine where you go.

Aphiwe’s journey

Aphiwe Stungu

With 25 years of experience in the education and skills training field it is not hard to believe the great success stories that surface at Sparrow Schools.  Triumphant stories of individuals that have risen above their social circumstances and succeeded against their learning challenges. Amongst such stories is that of Aphiwe Stungu, a 19 year old female that enrolled into the Automotive Repair & Maintenance program. The Port Elizabeth born student thanks her uncle’s intervention for making her dream become a reality back in 2011 by insisting on the FET route. Young Aphiwe followed in her motor mechanic brother’s footsteps, “Seeing my brother fix anything made me fall in love with the Superwoman idea,” Aphiwe laughs.


It wasn’t long till Aphiwe made a name for herself, impressing the facilitators with her ‘doing things properly’ attitude. Being the only girl in the program didn’t faze her she says and nor did it make it easy. The hard working lady says there were no favours received for her female card, she had to toughen up and get used to the realities of her chosen field. The good reputation carried over to the workplace where she was placed and enrolled with one of our industry partners- Germiston Kia Motors, through Imperial’s four years apprenticeship program. With each level she passes she gets an increase in wage, a great incentive for her to do well and take her studies seriously.

Aphiwe with Motor Mechanic facilitator Mr Errol

Aphiwe with Motor Mechanic facilitator Mr Errol

Aphiwe completed her apprenticeship program and  hopes to specialize in Diagnostic Mechanics and, who knows, maybe work for Ferrari as well. Jurgen Krause, her mentor and supervisor in the workplace says her work ethic, determination and ability to dream beyond her reality will be rewarded. Seeing Aphiwe climb up the ladder is great motivation for the staff at Sparrow Schools who work tirelessly in making a difference in the youth and country. We can’t wait to hear more from this lady on the rise.

Source : Givengain

Foundation School launches Maths Enrichment Center

In 2014, the World Economic Forum global competitiveness report ranked South Africa at 144 for maths and science teaching out of 144 countries. The WEF’s report was later dismissed by various specialists as “preposterous” and flawed.

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It was found that the methods used to calculate the rankings were “Subjective, unscientific, unreliable and lack any form of technical credibility or cross national comparability.” However it is a well-known fact that South Africa’s education system is in crisis, especially in the maths and science categories. According to the Annual National Assessment results released in 2013, only 39% of grade six learners and 2% of grade nine learners scored more than 50% in mathematics.

Some of the root causes of this failing system stem from primary and the way that mathematics is taught in schools. The remedial Sparrow Foundation School is constantly finding new ways of evolving and finding new ways to improve education. On 4 May 2015, the Foundation School launched its newly built Maths Enrichment Center at the Foundation School in Melville.

Mr Basson giving a class to the General Electric team

Mr Basson giving a class to the General Electric team

The new center incorporates a Maths Enrichment program which aims to improve the levels of teaching and mathematical competence. It is equipped with superior teaching facilities and focused on the teaching of mathematics at grades 5, 6, and 7 levels.

The center was made possible through the generous funding by General Electric and the Sparrow Foundation UK. “We at General Electric are very proud to see this place and what we have done with it. I would like to encourage you go into the center, work hard, get people to help you and don’t be afraid. Maths is a foundation for you to be great one day,” says Solutions Consultant Manager of General Electric, Andre Bodenbarck at the launch.

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The program aims to break down the stereotypes associated with mathematics as a difficult subject. Keeping in mind that the Foundation School is a remedial school, the program has been specially designed for the learner with learning difficulties. “The one thing that our learners struggle with is understand the reasons why they do mathematics. The programs we have in the maths center allow them to think in that direction. The program is also designed to allow the learner to develop at their own pace. It is unlike in the classroom where all the learners are expected to all develop at the same pace,” says the new Foundation School Mathematics specialist, Vincent Edwards Basson.

Starting off as a qualified physiotherapist, Basson brings with him 27 years of teaching experience and 5 years working experience, working at district level with the Department of Education. He is also a mentor, coach and pastor.

5th Annual Spin-A-Thon


Sparrow Schools Educational Trust will host its fifth annual Spinathon fundraising event in partnership with Virgin Active at Milpark Virgin Active, Johannesburg.

The Spinathon which takes place on 23 May 2015 will feature the crews from 5 FM, Isibaya, DJ Monotone, Lection and many more. There will be eight one hour sessions starting from 7 am to 3 pm where Sparrow Schools invites companies, celebrities and individuals to spin and donate a R100 to our Educate a Child program (EAC).

Many of our learners are from places of safety, child headed households or disadvantaged homes where parents cannot afford the special education their children need. The EAC program assists us provide education and support to children and youth experiencing life and learning difficulties.


Further Details / Contact

Precious Mbele

011 482 1015

E-mail: email