The Phumelela Programme

The Phumelela Programme, which commenced in 2011, was created through a collaborative effort between Holy Rosary High School and Ekurhuleni Primary School (situated within the informal settlement of Dikatole in Germiston).


‘Phumelela’ – meaning ‘succeed’ in Zulu – was chosen as an appropriate name to describe the aim of the programme. In consultation with the principal of Ekurhuleni Primary School, Holy Rosary School invited the top thirty Grade 7 pupils of 2010 to participate in the programme in 2011.  A further 21 Grade 8 pupils joined the year after, and in January 2015 the first group of Grade 8 pupils reached Grade 12. Phumelela now has 110 pupils. They attend high school at various schools in Germiston.

The programme aims to:
  • academically enrich pupils from this informal settlement – first in English and Mathematics, and from Grade 10 –  in other subjects like Life Sciences, Geography, Physical Sciences and  Accounting;

  • give pupils life skills that are not taught in the general academic curricula, such as learning to swim, painting, crafts, communication skills and acting, playing of marimbas and drums, singing, basic first aid, self-defence and various  sports;

  • grow general knowledge and enrich the pupils’ worldview;

  • create opportunities to experience different people, places and environments through outings to the theatre, bird park, television studios, museums and airports;

  • enrich these students’ lives as holistically as possible and in the process, help grow their self-confidence and self-belief;

  • instil values, based on respect for oneself and for others.


Over the years, we have become aware of the deteriorating circumstances of the already difficult conditions in which many pupils live. More and more they are being orphaned and are part of child-headed households. More pupils’ parents are without work and life on the whole is getting much more difficult. To this end we now collect food parcels, clothing and some essential toiletries. We also assist where we can with some medical requirements or small emergencies.

Holy Rosary School - Phumelela Programme
Holy Rosary School - Phumelela Programme
Holy Rosary School - Phumelela Programme

How it is funded:

For the first four years the project was funded from the money raised by the Holy Rosary Debutantes. However, as the pupil numbers have grown and the Saturday School is almost at its capacity, additional funding is being sought. A separate trust, The Holy Rosary Outreach Trust, has been formed and operates as a completely separate entity to the school, to meet various funding criteria. This is a registered Public Benefit Organisation (PBO number 930051105), registered with SARS, and therefore we are able to issue Section 18A certificates where required.

2017 Matrics:

We are enormously proud of our Phumelela Matrics, who all passed, 75% with Bachelor Degree passes.


Our past Headboy, Papi, shared his excitement with us: 

"My results were: English 67%, Sepedi (First Additional Language) 71%, Mathematics 63%, Life Orientation 85%, Geography 69%, Life Sciences 78%, and Physical Sciences 69%. I managed to obtain admission to a Bachelor’s Degree. I have been accepted to study at the South African Airforce. I am so grateful to the Phumelela Programme for helping and supporting me to achieve my goals, even in my darkest hours when I was homeless and without food. This opportunity will most certainly change my life, and I hope to pay it forward."

To get involved, albeit through volunteering of your time/expertise, or to sponsor the programme in a variety of ways, please contact our Marketing & Foundation Manager. 

Account Name:        The Holy Rosary Outreach Trust

Bank:                         Nedbank

Branch Code:           198765

Account number:     1089417527

Swift Code:             FIRNZAJJ962

The results so far:

We are now in the fortunate position of being able to track the pupils’ progress from Grade 8 to Grade 12, and to determine where we can improve or change things in order to maximise our impact. Academically, we monitor progress and stumbling blocks through tests, projects and examinations, as well as a mid-year and end of year report. Another area where we can see academic benefits is in the pupils’ school marks – with most of them improving in English and Maths and in later grades in other subjects like Biology, Geography and Accountancy.


However, the most remarkable difference we are able to observe is in the psyche and emotions of our pupils. We see their growth in self-esteem, confidence, skills, motivation levels and overall general knowledge. The increase in their ‘worldliness’ – comes from the excursions they go on and life enrichment sessions which give these pupils insight and experience of the world outside of their everyday environment in the informal settlements.  


Their ability and confidence to communicate, both in the classroom and on stage, develops exponentially over the five years. This is most evident during their annual concert where many pupils ‘come alive’ on stage in dancing, singing, acting and speaking. Their public speaking is extremely impressive and after a year or two, many are confident, articulate and powerful speakers. These are the times that they can truly escape their difficult circumstances and for a few moments show their magnificent inner core of raw talent, passion and potential.


For the teachers, staff, Holy Rosary Sisters, sponsors and pupils involved in the Phumelela Programme, this is an enormously emotional event – it is here that we are reminded of the incredible God-given talents of these young people, and the massive potential that is just waiting to be nurtured, grown and supported. Almost as significant as the impact on our Phumelela pupils’ lives, is the impact on our Holy Rosary girls. They learn so much about fellow human beings living in situations so different from their own, and their struggles as well as their incredible gifts. Our girls never walk away from this experience without a great deal of learning, humility and gratitude in their hearts. Our staff too, reap great personal rewards, including the satisfaction of making a significant difference to so many young lives.

"Your acts of kindness really mean a lot to us. No words can ever be enough to show our gratitude. We appreciate your help towards brightening our futures and we hope you can continue showing love to others." - Nthabaleng


Holy Rosary School - Phumelela Programme