R1,5 Million Infrastructure Development Gives Under-resourced Cape Town School A Major Boost

The battle to sustain a high standard of academic results in the face of inadequate infrastructure at a significantly under-resourced Athlone, Cape Town, school received a major boost recently with the construction of a R1,5 million multi-purpose hall.

Following an Al-Azhar Institute of Cape Town appeal for infrastructural assistance as a means of maintaining its sound educational record and quality of academic results in the face of spiralling financial concerns, the South African Muslim Charitable Trust (SAMCT) stepped into the breach.

Speaking at the recent official hand-over of the new facility, SAMCT representative, Mr Faried Boltman, said: “It is a tragic reality that we are a quarter of a century into true democracy in South Africa and yet so many educational institutions remain significantly under-resourced. The effect of this can and does stunt the quality of education, unfairly setting back still further the growth and development of historically disadvantaged learners.”

 

He maintained that appropriate school infrastructure formed the backbone of education.

“It is the buildings and equipment which provide an environment conducive for effective teaching by educators and learning by those in their charge,” he said.

Stressing that a sound education provided the country’s youth with the foundation for life and a springboard from which to reach their true potential and lead successful lives, Mr Boltman added: “That in 21st century South Africa so many youngsters still can’t enjoy the same start to life as their more fortunate counterparts is simply appalling. It is a remarkable fact that the Al-Azhar Institute of Cape Town has, during its 25-year history fought valiantly to overcome a plethora of challenges, obstacles and barriers to provide the best possible education and opportunities for its learners. The absolute dedication shown by the Principal and staff in avoiding becoming mired in educational mediocrity speaks volumes and is evidenced by its high standard of quality academic results, in spite of its circumstances.”

“Just imagine its results if the school enjoyed the infrastructure which many other schools in the Western Cape take for granted! Unfortunately, this is simply not the case and, as a consequence, sustaining such good academic results is becoming an increasingly difficult challenge for all concerned,” he added.

There is wide recognition that Government is unable to meet the vast educational deficiencies which exist across the country.

Mr Boltman maintained: “To its credit – and in such knowledge – the Al-Azhar Institute of Cape Town has instituted a range of fund-raising initiatives designed to bring about the improvements necessary to provide an environment conducive to effective education. A major and, therefore, extremely costly project on the school’s development agenda was a multi-purpose hall, a venue capable of hosting a wide variety of education-related activities and able to accommodate the body of the school, as and when necessary. The vision behind this bold goal was the need to work towards providing facilities to best foster the ideals of a school of excellence.”

He described the school as having resilience, refusing to buckle under financial pressure and a school which had laboured to itself raise funds in a concerted bid to ensure that its learners could benefit from quality education.

The SAMCT was created in 2008, the result of a partnership between Old Mutual Unit Trusts and Al Baraka Bank for the creation, marketing and distribution of a suite of Shariah Funds. This partnership ensures that the SAMCT is the beneficiary of these Shariah-compliant funds in order to provide funding, services and other resources for the improvement of the lives of the vulnerable, deprived and disadvantaged. In this respect, the organisation has been singularly successful in delivering sizeable assistance solutions throughout South Africa – irrespective of race or religion – and continues to work to support needy organisations in the fields of health, social development, poverty alleviation and education.

“It was the school’s lofty goals and sheer determination to realise its ambition that led the SAMCT to intervene here at the Al-Azhar Institute of Cape Town, providing R1,5 million for the construction of the school’s new multi-purpose hall facility,” Mr Boltman said.

He was confident that the new infrastructure would provide for improved learning opportunities, becoming a catalyst for the initiation of a wide range of activities calculated to contribute meaningfully to the development of the school’s learners and staff.

“It is the hope of my organisation that the advent of this new multi-purpose facility will open the door to a whole range of new and exciting educational uses going forward,” he concluded.

 

For more information about SAMCT or
its Al-Azhar Institute of Cape Town multi-purpose hall donation, please contact:

Rasheeda Motala

Social Responsibility Officer Tel: 084 506 2280
Email: samct@samct.co.za

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