SANZAF makes things possible at Vrygrond school

Abdul Hakeem Sydow, head of the distribution department of the SA National Zakah Fund, Western Cape, Merle De Jong Carlse, acting principal of Jo’s School and Raihana Baroochie, Sanzaf caseworker.

Jo’s School in Vrygrond received a certificate to mark the SA National Zakah Fund’s (SANZAF) partnership with the school, on Saturday October 10.

Hawa Tayob, chairperson of Jo’s School and the director of the Montessori Early Learning Foundation (MELF) that supports and manages Jo’s School, said Sanzaf has come on board as a partner in 2019. “They support the school with funds of R100 000 per year (R25 000 per quarter). The funds are utilised for staff salaries and educational equipment and supplies.

“Jo’s School has 58 children. 48 children are between the ages of 3 and 6 years and enrolled in the Montessori 3 to 6 programme. 10 children are enrolled in the toddler ( ages 1/12 to-3 programme )

“In January 2020, the school launched the toddler (1/12 to 3 programme).” said Ms Tayob.

The school recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.

“It is partners like Sanzaf that make it possible for Jo’s School to exist in townships. Jo’s School is a beacon of hope for the community and children of Vrygrond. It is a school of excellence, where the children are provided with a safe haven, a place where they can just be – a place where they receive meals, comfort and a quality educational experience. Parents can freely leave their children and go to work, in the capable hands of the Jo’s School staff,” said Ms Tayob.

Since 2018, the children have been receiving extramural classes like art and computer lessons.

“Through exposure to concrete Montessori materials, children at Jo’s School are prepared for many concepts and skills required for future learning. These include reading, writing and maths. Some of the children embark on reading before they leave the school for Grade 1.

“Our aim is to give the children a head start and support them in their development in every way.”

Ms Tayob said through the Montessori philosophy, they support each child from where they are to where they lead them.

“The Montessori approach is ideal in that together with its didactic materials, it enables each child to strengthen and grow in areas that they need for their own development. Each child can work at his/her own pace in a safe, beautiful environment with an adult for three years. The children join Jo’s at age 3 and leave when they are 6 years to enter Grade 1.“

She said Jo’s School is a “safety net” for many of the children of Vrygrond, where poverty, abuse, HIV and unemployment levels are high.

Shafiek Barendse, Sanzaf regional manager, said they identified the need in Vrygrond and surrounds after doing a survey. “We also have feeding schemes in areas such as Capricorn, Lavender Hill and surrounds.”

However, he said funding was a challenge during lockdown and they had to work harder to provide food for the kids at home. For more about Sanzaf, log on to