By Karen Watkins
They came with big dreams of I buying a new car or going on a Caribbean holiday. They brought precious family heirlooms - a ring, paintings, a teaspoon, ceramics and a set of silverware. Some left with dashed dreams, not enough to buy a shopping trolley or a ticket to Stellenbosch. But they had fun and everyone was happy.
On Sunday September 19, the Great Cellar at the Alphen Hotel was the venue for a fundraiser along the lines of the popular BBC Antique Roadshow. Hosted by Stephan Welz and Co, staff evaluated antiques and collectables, at a small price, as part of local non-profit organisation Homework Enrichment Life Skills Programme (HELP's) annual fundraiser. Anna-Marie Kaars Sijpesteijn, co-founder of HELP, said the eval- uation day was their inaugural fundraising event and it was a great success.
"No-one was too big or small to help with the auction. Some children made banners while others handed out leaflets at traffic lights," said Anna-Marie. HELP is an after-school programme assisting primary school's pupils with homework four afternoons a week, mostly in the Vrygrond area.
Anna-Marie said they employ teachers and use motivated volunteers to teach writing and numeracy with a special focus on English, maths and the development of each child's lifeskills -- respect, self-esteem, responsibility and hygiene.
HELP also feeds more than 200 children each week, with every sessions starting with a nutritious sandwich, juice and fruit and supplemented in winter with homemade soup. HELP also has an Ambition Motivation Vision club to enhance the ten brightest children from Grades 4 to 7 with their general knowledge, often paired with relevant excusions.
Jan and Anna-Marie Kaars-Sijpesteijn won the 2014 Inyathelo Philanthropy Award for Support in Education in recognition of HELP.
For details about HELP, contact Anna-Marie Kaars-Sijpesteijn on 072 929 4270 or visit WWW. help-eduprogramme.co.za.