On the 09th of September 2022, The Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation hosted its second biennial Thari Programme conference at Seemahale Secondary School in Botshabelo in the Free State.

The Thari Programme is a five-year pilot programme, implemented by the Foundation’s partner entity, Adopt-a-School, in Botshabelo in the Free State and Diepsloot in Gauteng, to address a range of social issues like domestic violence, neglect and substance abuse that impact learning outcomes.

The theme for this year’s conference is, ‘The impact of a multi-sectoral approach toward the protection of women and children against violence in our schools and communities.’

The Thari Programme rests on three pillars:

  • psychosocial support;
  • Safe Parks; and
  • multi-sectoral local community forums.

This year’s conference is hosted in partnership with the Department of Basic Education and the Free State Department of Education.

Speakers for the day include Ms Mmabatho Maboya, CEO of Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation, who provides an overview and the purpose of the Thari programme. Professor Roelf Reyneke of the University of the Free State who speaks to the findings, including challenges and learnings, of the five-year pilot. The MEC of the Free State Department of Education, Dr PHI Makgoe, who expresses the department’s commitment to care and support and to the continued partnership with the Thari Programme.

“Our experience in intervention programmes at schools has proven that there are several issues in our education system that hamper children’s ability to perform well in schools, including social issues such as domestic violence.  It is a major concern that the neglect and abuse of children is reported to be worsening,” says Maboya.

“We need to equip our schools with programmes like Thari to help protect those who are vulnerable to abuse and violence and to create a network of support to whom learners can be referred – both those who experience violence as victims, as well as those who act violently towards others,” adds Maboya

“The partnership between the department and stakeholders such as the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation is a clear demonstration that active participation by civil society will lead to us finding collective solutions to most of the challenges in the education sector,” says MEC Dr Makgoe.