Give your HELPing hand this year

Are the New Year’s resolutions you’ve set yourself a distant memory? Instead of feeling guilty about a resolution that did not go as well as anticipated, rather set yourself one or two specific, achievable and realistic goals for the year. Award-winning non-profit organisation, Homework Enrichment Life Skills Programme (HELP), challenges Capetonians to put volunteering at the top of their goals list for the year.

HELP provides afterschool educational support in English, Mathematics and Afrikaans to Primary School learners in Retreat, Muizenberg and Heathfield. Anna-Marie Kaars-Sijpesteijn, Founder and CEO of HELP says, “The main aim of HELP is to ensure that every learner we work with receives the best possible educational opportunities. We encourage children to constantly grow and to enjoy new challenges.”

The New Year brings many exciting developments for HELP as they are expanding and in need of like-minded individuals to give the gift of an education to disadvantaged young learners, who are eager to learn, achieve and excel.

“Most of the children we work with come from destitute communities who don’t receive the much needed educational support from their parents or guardians. The volunteers at HELP have taken it upon themselves to lend a hand with after-school activities, homework and life skills development,” says Kaars-Sijpesteijn.

HELP calls on all Capetonians who are able to assist these bright, young minds and potential leaders for the next generation, with their time, funds or resources. Volunteers do not need any academic qualifications, but a firm understanding of English, compassion, patience and commitment are a must. The classes are small and intimate so that the children can receive the best possible assistance.

One of HELP’s longest serving volunteers, Charlene Coosner, says that volunteers can expect a tremendous sense of fulfilment when giving their time to the learners. “In the process of giving back as a volunteer, you are given back tenfold with the huge amount of appreciation and love from the children,” adds Coosner.

“The more volunteers we have, the more learners we can assist so that they can reach their dreams. There is no set timetable for volunteers, even if they are available for one afternoon a week it will make the world of difference,” concludes Kaars-Sjipesteijn.

HELP is a non-profit organisation that runs daily afterschool programmes, an AMV (Ambition, Motivation and Vision) Club and Holiday Club. Jan and Anna-Marie Kaars-Sijpesteijn won the 2014 Inyathelo Philanthropy Award for Support in Education in recognition of HELP.

Volunteers do not have to enter informal settlements. Assistance would be most welcome on Mondays to Thursdays from 14:00 to 16:30. If you would like to support HELP either through funding or volunteering, please contact them on 073 271 7806. For more information on HELP, visit Join their Facebook page at

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Give your HELPing hand this year