School days at Ikageng’s Thembalidnisi Primary School in Potchefstroom are a much happier affair following a project by the Dulux paint company and Colour Ikamva.
With the help of volunteers, the groups have gone about turning dull learning spaces into colourful and inspiring educational hubs through Dulux’s corporate social investment campaign, Let’s Colour Project. Colour Ikamva was created to aid Ikamva Youth in its attempts to help underprivileged schoolchildren. The NGO aims to provide high school pupils with the skills, knowledge, resources and networks needed for them to access quality tertiary education or employment once they complete their matric.
Dulux, a brand from global chemicals and paints company, Akzo Nobel, believes in the power of colour and the positive difference it brings to people’s lives. For this reason Dulux, through its global Let’s Colour Project, is on a mission to transform grey areas into inspirational spaces of creativity by giving new life to prominent buildings in various communities, with paint and colour.
“The Ikamva Youth model is based on a large and growing number of volunteers from tertiary institutions who give of their time to tutor and mentor grade nine, 10 and 11 pupils so that they too may further their education once they leave school,” explains Dulux’s communications manager, Bennum van Jaarsveld. “Many of the volunteers were themselves part of the Ikamva Youth programme and so it really is a culture of instilling responsibility through quality education, so that young people can pull themselves and each other out of the depths of poverty.”
Of this particular intervention, the beneficiaries are the 300-plus pupils who attend Ikageng’s Thembalidnisi School, none of whom are able to pay school fees. This lack of funding has led to the deterioration of many of the school’s facilities. These are the spaces that the Colour Ikamva partnership transformed during its visit on Thursday, 14 November.
Artist Ricky Lee Gordon from Colour Ikamva was in charge of creating murals and used images drawn by the schoolchildren as inspiration, to transform the designated spaces, marking the official launch of Colour Ikageng. Gordon believes that for the children to make the space their own, they must be included and be given the opportunity to make telling contributions to the rebirth of their learning and recreational areas.
The day included performances from crèche and Grade R pupils, who danced for the enjoyment of the crowd that had gathered. They were followed by the older children from the school, who serenaded the visitors with song.
It was followed by a messy display of artistry from the volunteers who had come to lend a hand as well as the schoolchildren, who seemed to thoroughly enjoy the tasks they were given. Gordon laid down the patterns, which were then filled with colour by the crew – and with every stroke of a paint brush, the transformation became more tangible.
“With this corporate social investment initiative, we give the community a new sense of pride in their surroundings,” says Van Jaarsveld. “The aim of our partnership with Colour Ikamva is to further this cause. While Ikamva Youth volunteers will be addressing the academic needs of the students, we’ll be taking care of their learning environment. By radically changing the appearance of their schools, we’ll be creating a space that reflects the pride and hope they need to flourish and meet their full potential… We believe that giving these young artists the platform to bring inspiring colours to their surroundings is a form of empowerment.”
Colour Ikamva’s next project will take place in Western Cape in 2014 and the organisation invites anybody who is willing to help via donations of goods or funding to contact it and find out how they can do so. Visit the get involved page on the Ikamva Youth website.