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Special and Basic Need Projects


In addition to our support of technology and literacy we are committed to helping our partner schools meet their learners’ basic needs while improving the overall quality of the educational experience. We match every dollar we spend on technology with support for these special projects. Our goal is to nurture the whole student and help our partner schools improve the quality of the educational experience. Special projects that support basic and extracurricular needs are essential to meeting that goal. Basic needs include security and safety, water and sanitation, infrastructure and grounds, and much more. We also introduce extracurricular activities that help learners build initiative and character. These include the President’s Award, Chess Club, Drama Club, Music Club, and the bi-annual Sifunda Kunye Sports Tournament.

St. Matthew’s High School was our first partner school and we began that partnership in 2008, implementing many campus improvement projects while simultaneously implementing the computer labs and other technology. As we have added more partners, our list of special projects has grown. We categorize them into campus improvement and activities-based projects. Check out some of our planned, on-going, and past projects below to see what we have done and where we are going. There are always opportunities to get involved in our current projects so feel free to reach out to us if you are interested in learning more.

Ongoing & Planned Projects

Capital Projects

St Matthews Literacy Center Repairs

Schools Involved: St Matthews High School

Date Completed: In progress as of May 2018

Total Investment: R 12,000

Description: There was a serious need to have some repairs done to the building. The centre was renovated by Sifunda Kunye a few years ago. This was to provide the learners with a safe fun place to conduct any form of literacy and drama clubs. The building is very old, although renovated well. Some cracks did come to surface. This project is still under way.

Impact: This will improve the safety of the space, so that our learners can use the centre and not have to worry.

Internet Access at St Matthews

Schools Involved: St Matthews High School


Date Completed: 29 October 2018

Total Investment: R 120 000($8,345 USD)

Description: St Matthews’s student will have access to WIFI across their entire campus, thank you to a project embarked on by Sifunda Kunye Project. Learners will now be able to access WIFI from anywhere at St Matthews High School. Thank you to Mr Andrew Summers Funder and Director of Sifunda Kunye. The planning and implementation of this project done by Mr Zander Hampson, Program manager from Sifunda Kunye, and Wesley from St Andrews College for configurations. This will be life changing for the entire learner, teacher faculty at St Matthews High School. See the full scope of this project.

Date Completed: 2018

Total Investment: The Total cost to install our own internet tower was R30,000. The satellite internet cost R5000 per month, we have reduced this cost to R800 per month for much faster internet.

Description: Since there was no coverage in the Keiskamahoek area, St Matthews was forced to go with satellite coverage, which is very expensive and unreliable. There was no internet provider able to provide us with coverage, the nearest tower was 80km away, and unfortunately we could not connect to this tower as it was behind a mountain – line of site is needed. Many companies told us that it is impossible to get coverage in this area.

After many years, looking into all kinds of options, we went for the drastic solution. We hiked up the mountains, until we could see the tower 80km away. Since this was land off the School campus. We got permission from the local Chief to use his land, and he granted us permission to plant a pole. He also informed the community and told us he will protect the investment.

Toise High School is situated around a large central courtyard. The courtyard was unpaved and learners would track dirt, mud, and debris into the classrooms on a regular basis. This was especially problematic in the computer labs. The area was almost impassable when it rained. We paved the courtyard and installed essential drainage ditches and drains in order to keep the area clear of mud and water.

We installed a 6m pole in the ground, which is surrounded by a fence. We then installed a solar panel and a battery in a locked box to provide power to the equipment. We installed a satellite, router and a sector onto the pole. We were then able to connect to the tower. Finally, we installed a receiver at the School and spread routers around the School property, this all picks up the signal from out tower. In short, we built our own internet tower. We are now able to provide the entire Keiskamahoek Mission with internet.

Impact: Our previous speeds were less than 1mbps, we are now connecting at 10mbps. The Wifi covers the entire School campus. We have plans to expand the WIFI to the Hostels and Teacher Houses. We have an average of 700 people connecting to our WIFI at School on any given day. The WIFI has improved the lives of so many learners and teachers.

Our WIFI was setup with a hotspot connection, this runs through our server and firewall. We have blocked certain sites and put download limits on for each user. The WIFI also gets switched off after 10pm.

We have plans to expand the WIFI to the entire Campus, Both the Hostels, teacher Houses, Literacy Centre and more. This is a massive area to cover, which will need lots of equipment. We are looking at a cost of roughly R50,000. We currently do not have the funds to proceed with this project.

Toise High School Toilet Overhaul

Status: Awaiting Funding

Description: Toise High School was founded in 1981 with close to 300 students.  In 2016 their enrollment is over 650.  The only toilets available to the students and 26 teachers are 3 blocks of long-drop toilets (about 18 stalls total), which were installed in 1981 and have not been emptied or repaired since.  The only water available on campus comes from rain water tanks and is delivered through a single spigot, making proper hand washing and sanitation impossible. The situation is so unpleasant that many students practice open urination and defecation to avoid the toilets.  Sifunda Kunye has embarked on the planning phase of a project to install blocks of flush toilets at the school.  This will be one of the largest and most expensive special projects we have sponsored to date.  However, it is also one of the most necessary.

Cost: After receiving several quotes from local contractors, the project will cost about R1,000,000 ($63,000 USD)

Timeline: As soon as funds are available

Activity Based Projects

President’s Award

Schools Involved: St. Matthew’s High School, Xolani High School, Richard Varha High School, Toise High School, Good Shepherd Primary School

Description: The President’s Award for Youth Empowerment is a division of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. It was instituted over 30 years ago in South Africa by Nelson Mandela. Currently there are over 15,000 active participants. The President’s Award is a character building program that challenges participants between the ages of 14 and 24 to reach the Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels of the program by completing positive, team-building and empowering activities. Activities fall into five categories: Service, Skills, Physical Recreation, Adventurous Journey, and Residential Projects. Participants who complete the levels earn the pride and recognition of their club as well as an important award to include on their university and employment applications.

Impact: Sifunda Kunye encourages its partner schools to involve as many students as possible in the President’s Award. This year we have over 50 learners registered. The Award boasts incredible results, including improved educational attainment, improved employability, improved health and well-being, reduction of violence, gender equality and empowerment of women, and increased participation in civic life. We see an impact first-hand in many of our learners. Read more about the President’s Award’s global impact.

Total Investment: The annual cost for Award, which is almost entirely funded by Sifunda Kunye, excluding a few small fees charged to the students so that they gain ownership of their involvement, amounts to between R84,000 and R100,000 ($5,000 and $6,000 USD), depending on the number of learners registered. Because this program is growing each year it requires continued and reliable donor support.


Student Clubs: Debate Club, Interact Club, Chess Club

Schools Involved: St. Matthew’s High School, Xolani High School, Toise High School

Total Investment: Sifunda Kunye commits between R30,000 and R50,000 ($2,000 USD – $3,000 USD) in support of our clubs each year. This figure varies depending on the number of learners invoved.

Description: Each year Sifunda Kunye supports several clubs at our partner schools. Clubs are led by the Sifunda Kunye facilitators and include Debate Club, Chess Club, and Interact Club. We sponsor the purchase of equipment, tournament costs, including travel to away competitions and meets, resources and materials, and even individual learners who wish to participate in certain events above and beyond what the individual club is doing.

Impact: Over 100 learners participate in Sifunda Kunye-led clubs at their schools. Many of these kids work hard to develop initiative and often become leaders in their schools. Most of these kids are also top learners at their schools.


Sifunda Kunye Sports Days

Schools Involved: St. Matthew’s High School, Xolani High School, Richard Varha High School, Toise High School, Good Shepherd Primary School

Total Investment: It costs us R60,000 ($3,600 USD) each year to host these events. This includes equipment, catering, facility rentals, transportation, officials, and prizes.

Description: Each year Sifunda Kunye sponsors two Sports Days for all of our partner schools. Over 450 learners participate in the competitions and their families, teachers, and school administrators come out to watch. We choose three sports to focus on each day and run round-robin tournaments for each sport. Winners are awarded small prizes and we cater lunch for the attendees.

Impact: The Sports Days are one of the most popular activities at the Sifunda Kunye partner schools, impacting 500+ learners each year. Not only do they provide an opportunity for the learners to engage in healthy activities and competition, they also allow learners to meet and form friendships with one another across the different schools. Meeting learners from different schools and villages and playing together is a unique opportunity and a wonderful example of our commitment to fostering strong communities.

Matric Revision Camps

Schools Involved: Richard Varha High School, Toise High School, Xolani High School and Hendrik Kanise Combined School

Total Investment: Sifunda Kunye spends between R100,000 and R150,000 ($6,000 – $9,000 USD) annually to support the matric camps, in 2019 the investment was R400, 000 ($27464.40)

Description: In order to qualify for a National Senior Certificate (the equivalent of a high school diploma), grade 12 learners must pass the National Senior Certificate Exam, held at the end of the final school term each October – December. The exams are the cause of much stress and frantic revision at most schools. Often, a school’s level of quality is judged by their matric scores from the previous years.

Many grade 12 learners require extra help preparing for these exams and the several of the Sifunda Kunye partner schools have stepped in to help their learners succeed. The matric revision camps are usually between 6 and 8 weeks long. Learners and teachers eat and sleep at the school during in order to cram as many extra classes as possible into the exam period. Sifunda supports these immense efforts by sponsoring the catering and purchase of mattresses for the schools, allowing the learners to stay on-site. Costs vary year to year but the effort is crucial to the success of our grade 12 learners. Learn more about the matric exams and about what the pass rates indicate.

Impact: This project usually impacts over 400 learners across the various schools. The results that these camps have produced over the past three years has been remarkable. At Richard Varha, the pass rate increased from 73.2% in 2012 to 99.1% in 2019. Other schools usually experience a similar boost in their pass rates and many schools have also seen the quality of the pass rates improve.

Read more about our camps

Designate your gift to one of Sifunda Kunye’s special projects

Completed Projects

Campus Improvements

Water and Sanitation Project

Status: Fully Funded

Description: Installation of JoJo water tanks at Hendrik Kanise Combined school. This project was fully funded by Sifunda Kunye.

Cost: The total cost for the project was R21,000 (about $1249 USD).

Timeline: Completed 2020.

Literacy Center Fencing

Status: Fully Funded

Description: Fencing was completed at the SK Literacy Centre at St Matthews. The fencing project was fully funded by Sifunda Kunye.

Cost: The total cost for the project was R12,000 (about $851 USD).

Timeline: Completed 2019.

Literacy Center Toilet Renovation

Status: Fully Funded

Description: The renovated Literacy Centre has been open since August 2015 and has provided a clean and inspiring space for the hundreds of young learners who attend weekly book, reading, and writing clubs.  However, the space is not equipped with running water or working toilets so the children and volunteers do not have a sanitary facility to use during clubs.  Sifunda Kunye is planning a renovation of an old toilet block adjacent to the Literacy Centre.

Cost: The total cost for the project was R24,000 (about $1700 USD).

Timeline: Completed June 2017. View the before and after photos.

Richard Varha Pre-Fab Classroom Air-Conditioning

Status: Fully Funded

Description: Richard Varha’s student population has grown exponentially over the past few years causing a shortage of classrooms and large class sizes. In order to accommodate the influx of students the school utilizes temporary classroom space inside prefab buildings. These buildings are not climate controlled and are extremely hot and uncomfortable for the learners and teachers, so much so that they are often not used, causing even more space issues. Sifunda Kunye is funding and installing air conditioning units in each of the five prefab buildings.

Cost: R78,000 ($4,800 USD)

Timeline: Completed April 2016

Hendrik Kanise Combined School Computer Lab

Status: Completed

Description: One of the most exciting experiences for everyone at Sifunda Kunye is when we bring on a new partner school and begin constructing the computer lab.  In 2015, we identified Hendrik Kanise Combined School in Alicedale (outside of Grahamstown) as our newest partner.  The new lab was completed at the beginning of May and the school held a beautiful Grand Opening Ceremony.  The new double lab includes 52 work stations with laptops, two projectors, two screens, internet access, a server, all of the appropriate software, along with CAMI Maths and English, and all of the necessary security.

Cost: The total cost of the project was R950,000 (about $66,000 USD)

Support This Project: The lab is complete but will have operation costs that require more support.  See before and after photos of the lab.

Xolani High School Sleeping Bags

Status: Fully Funded

Description: Xolani requested our assistance in purchasing sleeping bags and camping mats for their 100 Grade 12 learners to use during their annual Matric Revision Camp this year.  The learners spend 7 weeks living at the school and sleeping on classroom floors throughout the duration of the camp, which aims to better prepare them for the National Senior Certificate Exams.  In the past, learners have shared sleeping bags and blankets brought from home because the school was unable to provide them.  Many learners are unable to afford to supply their own sleeping materials and so the sleeping conditions are often cold, uncomfortable, and not conducive to a good learning environment.  Sifunda Kunye has partnered with Seagull Industries (AfriTrail and OZTrail brands) to provide sleeping bags and camping mats for each Grade 12 learner.  The best part is that the learners will be warm and the school will be able to use this equipment for all future matric camps!  Learn more about Xolani’s matric revision camp. Learn more about AfriTrail and OZTrail brand products.

Cost: Sifunda Kunye provided R27000 (about $1800 USD) and Seagull Industries provided the rest.

Paving and Drainage of the Toise Courtyard

Schools Involved: Toise High School

Date Completed: August 2014

Total Investment: R460,000 ($44,000 USD)

Description: Toise High School is situated around a large central courtyard. The courtyard was unpaved and learners would track dirt, mud, and debris into the classrooms on a regular basis. This was especially problematic in the computer labs. The area was almost impassable when it rained. We paved the courtyard and installed essential drainage ditches and drains in order to keep the area clear of mud and water.

Impact: The courtyard improves the appearance of the entire school and is a true point of pride for the administration and learners. The 650+ learners and teachers and the school infrastructure is impacted daily by the beautification of the courtyard and its improved functionality.

View more photos of the Toise Paving and Drainage Project.

Literacy Project’s New Literacy Centre

Schools Involved: St. Matthew’s High School

Date Completed: August 2015

Total Investment: R250,000 ($22,000 USD)

Description: The Sifunda Kunye Literacy Centre, once an abandoned and neglected classroom block from the old part of campus, was renovated into a beautiful resource room for all of the Literacy Project’s activities, including the popular Saturday morning book clubs.

The entire renovation took three months to complete.  The centre now houses a small primary-level reading library filled with isiXhosa and English books, a reading corner, and a larger multi-purpose room used for drama and music. Students, teachers, and staff now enjoy the space regularly.   We continue adding resources and improvements to the building.

Impact: The building hosts all of our Literacy Project activities which impact over 200 learners from around the local community every week. The new centre has given the children a clean and safe space that they look forward to coming to each week. Learn more about the Sifunda Kunye Literacy Project’s activities and outreach.

View before and after photos of the Literacy Center.

Teacher Housing Village Renovation

Schools Involved: St. Matthew’s High School

Date Completed: October 2009

Total Investment: R1,000,000+ ($100,000+)

Description: A small housing development called Elyuolweni sits next to the St. Matthew’s campus and had long been abandoned and neglected. The houses were vandalized and the area was full of trash. The windows and doors were broken or missing; the roofs leaked; animals had taken up residence in many of the structures; and the grounds were overgrown with vegetation. Sifunda Kunye undertook a large renovation of the entire development in 2009. Each house was repaired and electricity and running water was restored. The finished houses are used for two purposes. First, to house learners during the hostel renovations scheduled which were finally completed in 2016. Second, for current and future use by teachers so they can live on campus and be more involved with the students after school hours.

Now that the hostel renovations are complete, the houses are scheduled to be repaired again this August in order to accommodate the teachers who wish to relocate to campus at the end of the school year.

Impact: The renovation of the Elyuolweni housing village has had one of the greatest impacts on the St. Matthew’s community because it made the girls hostel renovations possible. Between 280 and 320 high school girls live in two large boarding hostels across from St. Matthew’s. Before these were renovated they had no hot running water, no indoor toilets, and many structural problems that made them unsafe for the girls. The girls were able to move into the Elyuolweni village for nearly two years while their hostels were renovated. The houses were a key influence in convincing the parties involved to fund and begin the overdue hostel renovations.

Paved Path from Campus to Dormitories

Schools Involved: St. Matthew’s High School

Date Completed: May 2009

Total Investment: R81,000 ($8,000 USD)

Description: Sifunda Kunye sponsored the installation of a paved walkway through campus to the girls boarding hostels in order beautify the campus and also to keep the classrooms and hostels cleaner by preventing the learners from tracking through mud to move between both locations.

Impact: The paved pathway also led to a paved driveway and parking pad at the school, offering a clean and safe walkway for the learners while also giving the school pride in the new professional appearance of their entry.

Book Room Shelving and Reorganization

Schools Involved: St. Matthew’s High School

Date Completed: March 2008

Total Investment: R16,500 ($1650 USD)

Description: The book storage room cleanup was one of the first Sifunda Kunye initiatives. While it may seem small in comparison to some of our other projects, it had a major impact on the school. Learners and the Sifunda Kunye project manager spent several days cleaning and reorganizing the book room. Over two truck-loads of rubbish were removed from the room. New shelves were ordered to accommodate all the books for the school. After reorganizing the room, a new book ordering policy was instituted. Resources had been wasted in the past because the process of ordering books has not been monitored and teachers were not aware of what books the school owned and which books were missing. This caused learners to suffer from a lack of books for years when they were buried in the storage room the entire time.

Impact: By setting a positive example on the importance of organization and caring for the school’s property, this project had a lasting impact on the learners and teachers at St. Matthew’s. The school instantly had access to hundreds more textbooks and now have a system to track the books and keep things organized in the future.

Chapel Renovation

Schools Involved: St. Matthew’s High School

Date Completed: June 2009

Total Investment: R31,000 ($3,100 USD)

Description: St. Matthew’s sits on a large campus that is home to over 60 buildings, many of them unused and in terrible disrepair. In 2009 Sifunda Kunye converted an old vacant chapel on campus into a clean and quite study hall for the learners to use after school. We cleared the interior of rubbish and broken furniture, repaired the roof, installed concrete flooring, and installed curtains, desks, chairs, and lighting.

Impact: The room now comfortably holds 24 learners at a time and allows for rotating study halls. The learners were amazed to see one of the derelict buildings transformed into a useful and desirable space. The process of tearing down or converting more of the campus buildings is something Sifunda Kunye plans to continue over the next several years.

Gate Reconstruction and Security

Schools Involved: St. Matthew’s High School

Date Completed: March 2009

Total Investment: R19,000 ($1,900 USD)

Description: St. Matthew’s, like most of our schools, is located in an extremely rural area. Cows, goats, and other animals roam the surrounding hills and school grounds, impeding the growth of vegetation on campus as well as becoming aggressive toward people if cornered. Security is also a concern as theft and other crime is common in the area. The security gate closed off the main campus to the livestock, allowing the grounds to be better maintained and to remain free of animal droppings. Additionally, it offers the learners and students an extra measure of personal security while on campus.

Impact: The security gate closed off the main campus to the livestock, allowing the grounds to be better maintained and to remain free of animal droppings. Additionally, it offers the learners and students an extra measure of personal security while on campus. The gate remains a point of pride for the school.

Classroom Refurbishments and Computer Labs

Schools Involved: St. Matthew’s High School, Toise High School, Richard Varha High School, Xolani High School, Good Shepherd Primary School, ZK Matthew’s High School (former partner school)

Date Completed: Between 2008 and 2015

Total Investment: Each lab costs between R700,000 and R800,000 ($40,000 USD and $50,000 USD) for the initial set-up. The annual cost to keep a lab functioning (not including staff salaries) is between R120,000 and R192,000. Sifunda Kunye makes this commitment to each of our partner schools annually.

Description: Usually the largest undertaking at each of Sifunda Kunye’s partner schools is the construction of the computer lab. The school designates a classroom or multi-purpose space that we then remodel to fit the requirements of the space and school. Although each lab is customized to the preferences and needs of the school, all of the labs are equipped with the following: between 40 and 50 computers and workstations (desktops or laptops), Microsoft Office Suite programs on each computer, CAMI Educational Software licenses, desks, chairs, and other necessary furnishings, white boards, one ceiling-mounted projectors and screens, printers and printing supplies, air conditioning, necessary electrical outlets, a server, a safe in which to keep the mobile technology, internet access, ongoing IT support, a facilitator and adequate security – cameras, window cages, reinforced door locks, etc.

Impact: With student bodies totaling over 3500 total learners, the impact of the computer labs is widespread. Each of these learners are exposed to computer literacy, extra maths and English support, and all of the resources and research tools that the internet affords.

Learn more about the Sifunda Kunye computer labs!

Additional Projects Funded by Sifunda Kunye

Learners at Good Shepherd at snack time

The refurbished library at St. Matthew’s

  • Home Economics Room Improvements and organization at St. Matthew’s
  • Sifunda Kunye supports the salaries of one campus security guard, one ground’s keeper, and one girl’s hostel matron at St. Matthew’s.
  • Sifunda Kunye purchased a school van for St. Matthew’s to use to transport learners to and from activities and tournaments
  • Window repair and replacement at Toise
  • Sifunda Kunye has supported Toise, Richard Varha, and Xolani with the purchase of new desks and other classroom furniture
  • Sifunda Kunye often sponsors our partner schools and individual learners in certain endeavors, including hosting and/or attending science fairs, mathematics competitions, poetry and writing competitions, and many other academically enriching activities.

Sifunda Kunye’s Contributions to Date

Full-Time Initiatives

Learners from Xolani celebrate at the end of a President’s Award Adventurous Journey hike

Learn more about our partners and the full-time initiatives we support below.

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