Pupils use business skills to support good causes

The Micklefield Grade 6 class hold up posters showing which organisations they supported this year.

Pupils at an all-girls school in Rondebosch have been learning to use businesses skills for the good of their community, thanks to a social entrepreneurship project.

The school’s 26 Grade 6 pupils have been getting a feel for the real world by using what they have learnt to raise money for 12 non-profit organisations across Cape Town.

“The girls are taught various skills throughout the year and gain an incredible amount of insight and understanding of how to communicate professionally and develop an entrepreneurial mindset,” says Keshma Patel, the Grade 6 teacher who oversees the project.

“Most importantly, the project teaches each learner how to work with vulnerable people in challenging situations.”

Entrepreneurship is taught at Micklefield from Grade 4 till Grade 7 and focuses on a different skill each year.

“In Grade 4, the focus is on a school market day, which teaches the basics of needing capital to start a small business and making a profit or loss. In Grade 5, the focus is on finding entrepreneurial opportunities. In Grade 6 and 7, the skills gained in the previous years are combined, and the girls are required to start a small business while, at the same time, they are introduced to the world outside Micklefield life – the ‘real’ world.”

The Grade 6 class raised R62 000 for various organisations this year.

The project stresses that it is not only about the money raised but rather about learning how to give back to the community, Ms Patel says.

“The biggest lesson that we can teach our girls through this project is about the privilege we all have and how it is our responsibility to make a difference in the lives of those that are vulnerable, which includes caring for animals and protecting and preserving our beautiful surroundings.

“It is also important for them to learn that giving back is hard work and is done with the expectation of not getting anything in return.”

Tania Bailey, the events manager for Waves for Change, a non-profit organisation providing free surf lessons and therapy to disadvantaged children, says they received R11 000 from the project.

“We will be using our funds received for children’s surf sessions. The R11 000 raised through the project means we can now sponsor 100 sessions for children.”

She says the project was conducted so professionally by the pupils that when she received an email, she didn’t realise it was coming from Grade 6 pupils.

The Scarborough Environmental Group received R2850 from the project.

“It will be going towards our Turtle Project,“ says Hannah Hopper, the organisation’s head of education. ”The Turtle Project is a division within the Scarborough Environmental Group that I started. It is a sustainability education programme for children and teenagers.”

She adds: “It was inspiring to see the young girls take initiative and use their innovative skills to raise money for a cause of their choice.

“This project empowers these girls to realise that they can do something to make the world a better place.”