Situated at the foot of Table Mountains, beneath the well-known cable car lies Seven Steps Academy for the Deaf. This incredible school is one-of-a-kind in the Western Cape and supports children who are Deaf or hard of hearing.
With the help of individual donors, Breadline Africa was able to contribute to a much-needed prefabricated creative arts classroom at the school. The classroom will be used for creative arts and therapy, which plays an important role in the learning process of Deaf and hard of hearing learners.
Many learners enrolled in the school come from underprivileged backgrounds and have lost their hearing due to genetic disorders, illness, and in some cases, neglect. For many, hearing loss was only identified in the first few years of school. The Seven Steps Academy accommodates 104 children, ranging from pre-grade R to grade 12. The school is distinctive in that the chosen method for teaching is the oral-aural method, which helps to open up more opportunities for students who have the potential to learn to speak. It is also the only oral aural hearing-impaired school in the Western Cape that goes up to matric.
In spite of the warm weather, the little ones were ready to entertain. The juniors were adorable, welcoming the guests in song with so much confidence. The grade 7 learners each selected their favourite quotation or poem, and among them were quotations by Nelson Mandela and Kahlil Gilbran.
The academy’s Ms Marina Paioni mentioned that the school has had challenges along the way, especially when it moved from Hout Bay to the City Bowl. Although the new space is appropriate and easily accessible, outdoor space is limited, so the staff wanted to create a creative art therapy space, where children could express themselves when words sometimes failed.
Along came Breadline Africa, with their funders and they have overwhelmed us with the generosity and love that they have shown us. They have created this beautiful, unique space for us to do our art therapy and its been an incredible journey working with you. You have support, assisted and guided us through the process. We are incredibly grateful.”
For the past 28 years, Breadline Africa has been working with children from disadvantaged communities, providing critical infrastructure, learning resources and running feeding programmes. “Equality in education is a big motivation for us to support schools like The Seven Steps Academy,” said Breadline Africa Director, Marion Wagner.
“Contributing to this functional space will support the school’s curriculum and will open up doors to a better future for these children.”
“We as educators are so appreciative of this opportunity to unlock our learners creative potential and give them another medium to express themselves,” said Lee Ann Kannemeyer, Principal of Seven Steps Academy. “We are in the process of trying to raise additional funding to purchase another mobile classroom to be used as a language enrichment centre for our ECD children.”
Thank you to everyone who helped make this project a reality.