Elcap After-school Centre Setting The Pace In Education

21 Dec 2016 08:30am
By Rhonie //Garoëb
(Nampa Features Service)
MARIENTAL, 20 DEC (NAMPA) – A heartening atmosphere greets one on entering the Evangelical Lutheran Aids Programme (ELCAP) After-School Centre in Mariental.
In one corner, learners casually flip over the pages of their textbooks with their eyes fixed on the reading material in front of them. On the other end, two teachers assist other learners with mathematics exercises.
This is the result of what initially started as a contact class to assist learners with basic mathematics and reading in 1994.
The after-school centre is the realisation of a dream and vision shared by two educators, who were spurred on by their passion and love for teaching.
Retired teacher Margaretha Apollus, 63, and 58-year-old Anna Maria Lebe, who is still an active teacher, run the centre which offers children much-needed help with reading and mathematics tutorials.
They assist 21 children – nine girls and 12 boys - aged between seven and 12 years from Mondays to Thursdays.
Lebe started the tutorials after four parents approached her to help their children with reading and mathematics in her living room at home.
“I saw it fit to help them as most kids struggle to read at school and do basic mathematics,” Lebe said.
With this conviction, Lebe approached Apollus to assist her.
“We are not charging for our services, but the parents decided to give N.dollars 100 as a token of appreciation each month,” Lebe noted.
The current location of the centre was initially used as a Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centre (VCT), but remained unoccupied after the New Start Centre closed shop in 2010.
“My living room got small as more parents wanted me to help their kids. I really wanted to help these kids and was more motivated than ever and to my luck the proposal to the ELCAP to use the building was approved along with soup kitchen equipment,” Lebe said.
The proposal to ELCAP for assistance in opening the centre was finally approved in 2013, which gave birth to the centre.
Apollus echoed Lebe’s sentiments on the need to assist learners and the calling to give back to her community despite having retired as a teacher.
Apollus had been teaching passionately for 33 years.
“No child will be able to answer a question if they can’t read and understand the question,” she said, adding that the only way to help them comprehend what they read is to offer them more reading classes.
The two teachers have a long-term plan: they want to help improve the pass rate of the Hardap Region and making it amongst the regions with best performing schools countrywide.
Amanda Isaacks, a working mother of two, told this agency the centre came at the right time and she is grateful to the two teachers.
“After I enrolled my son last year, I saw him become confident and concentrate more in class because he now understands most things,” she said.
Another working mother, Elvi Kamati, also complimented the teachers for their hard work.
“I believe with more people like them in Hardap, the regional pass rate will improve”, Kamati noted.
ELCAP Coordinator and Dean of Windhoek Circuit of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Republic of Namibia, Abraham ||Kheibeb said the church has a social responsibility towards the community and also plays a pivotal role in the advancement of education in the country.
“We as a Christian organisation has a responsibility towards nation building and helping the government to improve education for all,” said ||Kheibeb when asked why he assisted the teachers.
He further said since both of them are teachers it was easy to start with the centre.
Mariental has three primary schools, one junior secondary school and one high school run by government, and one private high school.