SHAWCO, the Students’ Health and Welfare Centres Organisation, is turning 75 and has kicked off fundraising efforts with an end goal of R75 million. The funds raised will be invested and utilised to ensure that the organisation continues to provide primary healthcare services, education, after-school safe spaces, and skills development to thousands upon thousands of children, youth and the community at large.
SHAWCO, is a student volunteer, non-profit community outreach organisation that is based at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Its mission is to improve the quality of life of individuals in under-resourced communities in the Cape metropolitan area.
“Andrew Kinnear, who graduated from UCT in the 1940s, founded SHAWCO after his ambulance route exposed him to the entrenched poverty in many Cape Town communities.”
The non-profit organisation is divided into two main service sectors: SHAWCO Health and SHAWCO Education.
SHAWCO Health relies on volunteer doctors, medical and allied health science students in all years of study to deliver primary healthcare in under-resourced communities. It coordinates six clinics per week either from permanent health facilities or from SHAWCO Health’s three, fully equipped mobile clinics. These clinics often serve as the only port-of-call for community members who work during the day, or who cannot make the trip to neighbouring hospitals.
SHAWCO Education has 11 student-run projects operating from SHAWCO sites in Khayelitsha, Kensington, Manenberg and Nyanga, as well as from partner schools in the Nyanga and Mitchells Plein communities. Volunteers are transported to and from the centres where they engage with learners through a structured curriculum. Foundation phase and junior projects focus on literacy and numeracy whereas intermediate and senior projects focus on English, Maths, Physical Science, Accounting and Life Skills.
SHAWCO SHINE and Saturday School
The SHAWCO SHINE project helps learners from grade 10 to 12 with tuition in mathematics, accounting, physical sciences, English home language and life sciences. The aim is to create a healthy competitive environment among the partnering schools where learners want to achieve academically. The SHINE project generates revenue from parents who pay for the tutoring of their children. That revenue is then used to subsidise SHAWCO’s Saturday School programme, which provides the same tuition to students from disadvantaged communities.
It is projects like these, which are helping to build communities and offering children and youth an opportunity to attain a solid education, that will benefit most from SHAWCO’s fundraising efforts.
SHAWCO’s director Gavin Joachims, says, “SHAWCO is the University of Cape Town making an impact in our communities and changing lives. SHAWCO calls on our UCT community to take the lead and give! And to everyone wanting to make a lasting impact we ask you: Please give R75 rand, and add your own zeroes! Let’s ensure that SHAWCO continues to contribute to healthy, thriving communities. Thank you for your support!”
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The Students' Health and Welfare Centres Organisation (SHAWCO) runs various health and education programmes. Approximately 2 000 UCT students are involved.
The community partnership and social entrepreneurship programmes, that address inequality, are managed by 32 full-time and 5 part-time professional staff.
Operating in the Western and Eastern Cape, the health programme provides primary healthcare to 5 000 adults and children (annually) close to their homes, with fully equipped mobile clinics.
The education programme gives academic support and homework assistance to 1 300 learners weekly with structured education projects that help improve the academic ability of learners.