Yumna Alexander: A Catalyst for Change in Lavender Hill and Beyond

Yumna Alexander: A Catalyst for Change in Lavender Hill and Beyond
Photo @ Facebook

After finishing her matric, Yumna Alexander pursued a Bachelor of Education degree. During her studies, she noticed many individuals at the Manenberg library struggling with using the library’s computers and crafting their CVs.

Yumna responded by initiating an information and communications technology (ICT) course at the library. As she continued her work, many of her students began asking how they could obtain their matric certificates. This spurred Yumna to take further action.

“I could see the hunger and the willingness. I could see that people really wanted to improve their education, but there was nothing happening in Manenberg.”

Motivated by the community’s eagerness to learn, Yumna decided to start a night school. After numerous emails to the Department of Education, she managed to secure their support.

Following meetings with government officials and completing the necessary registration, the school opened its doors at the Manenberg Leadership College in 2020, a year after Yumna first conceived the idea.

“I knew nothing would happen if I didn’t take the first step,” she says. “So that’s what I did.”

Since then, Yumna has expanded her initiative, opening three additional night schools. These schools operate at a minimal cost to the learners, charging only R15 per lesson or whatever amount they can afford.

When her first school began, it had three volunteer teachers who taught English, maths literacy, and geography.

Now, hundreds of parents from Lavender Hill are preparing to return to school as the Hopeful Leaders Night School is set to open next term.

The project, initiated by single mother and community activist Yumna Alexander, was launched in Manenberg in 2020. Its goal is to support parents who were unable to complete their matric due to socio-economic challenges.

In just four years, Alexander has expanded her project to six schools across various Cape Flats communities including Manenberg, Hanover Park, Bonteheuwel, Delft, and now Lavender Hill.

Although the night school has gained significant traction, the Lavender Hill community has presented unique challenges.

“Whenever you read the news about Lavender Hill, all you see is that someone was shot or a child was killed as the gang violence rages out of control. I thought a lot about Lavender Hill and we gauge what we see on our social media pages, so I got up and approached the principal of Lavender Hill High School about the initiative.”

The principal took the proposal to the School Governing Body, which approved the project. Enrolment will officially start in August.

Students must be at least 20 years old and have completed Grade 9 to enroll. The enrolment fee is R50, with classes costing just R15.

“We have volunteer teachers from Lavender Hill, Grassy Park, and Strandfontein who have signed up, so the cost of R15 only goes towards their fuel and printing costs for classes. We will be offering Maths Literacy, English, Afrikaans, Geography, History, and Religion Studies,” says Alexander.

Currently, the school has over 1200 students enrolled for the 2024 academic year, and preparations for the next exams are in full swing.

For further information, you can send a WhatsApp message to 073 903 7616.

What do you think?


Written by Layla Hadid

Layla Hadid is a passionate freelance journalist hailing from Midrand, known for her insightful coverage and compelling storytelling. With a keen eye for uncovering the stories that matter, Layla has made a name for herself in the journalism landscape of South Africa. Her work spans a variety of topics, from local community issues to broader, socially impactful stories that resonate with a diverse audience. Layla's dedication to truth and transparency has earned her respect and admiration among peers and readers alike.


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