“It has been the most amazing journey and we’ve seen miracles upon miracles,” says Theo Krynauw of Sparklekids, which has been part of the community of the Overstrand for eight years. Theo is beside himself with joy and gratitude at the latest ‘miracle’ that has befallen Sparklekids – the gift of a property in Northcliff by a donor who has requested to remain anonymous.
“Comes the problem, comes the person – with wings!” laughs Theo, who founded this unique upliftment and skills development initiative with his wife Angie in 2011. Focusing on mentoring children, helping them to identify their passion and guiding them in making sensible decisions that will help them to achieve their goals, this inspirational NPC now finally has a base from which to operate.
It all started when Theo and Angie approached the headmaster of Qhayiya Secondary School in Zwelihle with the aim to collectively educate, uplift, support and encourage children, many of whom are from dysfunctional and poverty-stricken families.
The vital ingredients to the success of this venture being devoted mentorship and training, as well as tireless fundraising, have produced far-reaching and life-changing results. “We at Sparklekids financially support young people with an ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ to get from a place of disadvantage to self-support in the shortest time possible,” says Theo.
“We identify young people with sparkle and awaken do-able and realistic dreams together. We then take hands with everyone who wants to be part of this wonderful process, providing mentorship, developing coping skills and creating opportunities toward further studies or jobs through internships.
“Eight years ago we started with two young people, who both went on to study engineering – chemical and civil. At present over 120 students have benefited from Sparklekids, with the support of generous donors who see the value in our work. Once we have mentored them through matric, we assist them with registration, enrolment, and getting up and running at universities and other accredited tertiary institutions.”
Theo was instrumental in the establishment of the Hermanus Varsity, along with William Ntebe and Prof John de Gruchy, who often refers to the Hermanus Varsity as ‘Sparklekids Two’. “The idea was born when we saw the immense need of students from our area to have access to a tertiary institution right here in Hermanus.
“Many of the students we have supported over the years have qualified already and are employed in their field of study. They all leave Hermanus, never to return. Unless we build up and welcome a value-driven, visible middle class in our town, we have no future at all. That is why we are thrilled and excited beyond words to see the Hermanus Varsity spread its wings and take off, making a huge difference in the lives of our young people. I have never seen anyone with hope in their hearts burn and destroy.”
The house in Northcliff will be used by Sparklekids and Hermanus Varsity towards their shared objectives, including tutoring, counselling, mentoring and the hosting of workshops. “It will also be used as accommodation for Dr Sindiwe Magona, who continues to invest so much of her valuable time, energy and enthusiasm in Sparklekids and the Hermanus Varsity,” says Theo.
Theo Krynauw can be contacted on 082 654 4924. For more information on Sparklekids, visit www.sparklekids.co.za