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  • Writer's pictureRuth First Trust

A Home of Opportunities

Kevin Tait, Christina Notununu, Shirley Molobi, Sybil Bhagwan and Robyn Hill

at the Opening of Somerset House 

This month we attended a special occasion marking the grand opening of Somerset House, not just a boarding facility but a haven designed to nurture the minds, hearts, and spirits of the extraordinary young women who will call it home. The Ruth First Jeppe Memorial Trust, in keeping with its mission, decided to assist Jeppe High School for Girls with embarking on this venture, to not merely open doors; but to unlock the potential within each and every one of the learners that will walk through those doors.

Mr. Kevin Tait, former Trust Manager and current Trust Ambassador, shared the history of boarding facilities at the Jeppe schools, as well as the growing need within the community for Jeppe Girls to add boarding facilities to their offering. The founding Vice-Chairperson of the Ruth First Jeppe Memorial Trust, Mrs. Christina Notununu, who is herself a former Jeppe parent, Governor and current Director in the Office of the Deputy Director General of the Gauteng Department of Education, expressed her ongoing commitment to providing disadvantaged girls with high quality education and shared her joy at being involved in the process that has enabled this bold step forward for the school.

Robyn Hill, current Manager of the Trust, explained that while Somerset House will be a home to learners from all walks of life, from the Ruth First Jeppe Memorial Trust’s perspective, it is crucial to acknowledge the transformative impact that boarding facilities can have on the lives of students whose home circumstances present challenges to their ability to thrive and reach their full potential. In the last five years, several of the Trust’s own scholarship recipients have benefitted from private boarding facilities and these have served as powerful testimonials to the positive difference these environments can make. Consider the learner who comes from a remote area, where access to quality education is limited. Somerset House will become not just a place to sleep and study but a gateway to opportunities previously beyond their reach.

Additionally, there are learners who face social and/or economic challenges that impact their ability to focus on their studies at home. Somerset House will become a haven, removing the burden of financial stress or leaving behind a home that, for various reasons, may not provide the stability and support needed for academic success. By opening our doors to these learners, we are offering more than just shelter; we are providing a second home – a home that understands, supports, and empowers. A home that allows these young women to immerse themselves in their academic and extramural pursuits without the distraction of daily hardships. The Ruth First Jeppe Memorial Trust hopes that Somerset House can be a place where dreams are nurtured and potential is unlocked. Where these young women will experience personal growth, develop resilience, and acquire life skills that extend far beyond their time within these walls.

As Jeppe High School for Girls embarks on this exciting journey, we at the Ruth First Jeppe Memorial Trust are grateful to have been in a position where we could be a catalyst for positive change in the lives of hopefully thousands of Jeppe Girls to come.

To the remarkable young women who will call this boarding house home, may you find here not just a refuge, but a launchpad for your dreams. May your stories be woven into the rich tapestry of success and legacy of Jeppe High School for Girls and the Ruth First Jeppe Memorial Trust.

Robyn Hill

Manager: Ruth First Jeppe Memorial Trust

Should you wish to make a donation, payment is accepted by SnapScan or eft to Absa, Eastgate, Branch code 632005, Account number 4076706321. Many thanks.

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