This School Is Breaking The Cycle Of Poverty

We’ve been going on about it for weeks, but that’s how excited we are for Ian Russell’s The Other Side of the Telescope book launch. The book is special for many reasons but primary among them is the support it’s giving a very special organisation close to the author’s heart.

Ian Russell is donating all the royalties of the book to Christel House, a transformational non-profit school in Cape Town.

Ian Russell with a few students from the Christel House.

Ian Russell with a few students from the Christel House.

The Christel House was established in 2001 for students from grades R to Grade 12 coming from Cape Town’s most impoverished communities. We had a chat with Francois Louw, the Director of Fundraising & Marketing at Christel House about how this school is transforming young people’s lives.


Francois, how does Christel House South Africa break the cycle of poverty?

A special element to the school, is that we offer free scholarships to 750 students.

The scholars are supported for five years post-matric to assure further education and gainful employment. We break the cycle of poverty by offering no-fee scholarships to students from some of the poorest neighbourhoods.

Which communities does Christel House South Africa support?

Christel House South Africa (CHSA) currently serves twenty communities in Cape Town where unemployment, poverty, crime, gangsterism, domestic violence and drug abuse are rife. Communities include (among others): Langa, Philippi, Hanover Park, Manenberg and Delft.

What is the criteria for the students wishing to attend Christel House South Africa?

The main criterion for admission to Christel House is not evidence of talent; we believe our country has that in abundance – it is evidence of poverty, one measure of which is a maximum income of R1 500 per household member per month. Every applicant is accepted only after a home visit by our social workers, to not only ensure that we reach our poorest households, but also our most committed and supportive families. This ensures that we serve students with the greatest needs in our communities with the highest chance of success and ultimately positive socio-economic and systemic change.