English School
One of the biggest problems faced by refugees and migrants integrating into South Africa is the language barrier. The English School not only helps students learn South Africa’s bridge language, but also gives students a chance to interact and form supportive communities during classes and extra-curriculars.
The English School operates over 3 terms per year, registering around 350 students per term. There are 5 levels of English classes, ranging from Beginner to Advanced. The Scalabrini Centre English School also uses a special English in South Africa beginners curriculum developed especially for refugees and migrants.
Some of our students have previously had very minimal exposure to formal education, and as such often struggle with the basics of literacy. The English School has a Read and Write programme where students can attend one-on-one sessions using games, books and worksheets to improve their literacy and eventually enable them to participate in regular English classes
Further, the English School offers a wide range of extra-curricular activities in English Alive; among which are drama classes, conversation club, study skills, health literacy (known as Body Mapping), yoga, and business English.
The very active Human Rights Club engages with students through film screenings, outings and educational gatherings.
  • To improve English communication skills in order to facilitate socioeconomic integration.
  • To provide opportunities for networking and community building amongst those who attend and work in the English school.
  • To deliver services in line with the Scalabrini values.
English School
Presently the English School enrolls around 350 students per term from a variety of African countries. Classes run from Monday to Friday each week, offering five levels from Beginners to Advanced. The Scalabrini English School has developed a South African based curriculum designed to assist our clients with their integration in Cape Town. English In SA is taught in several of our beginners level courses. Classes are taught by a team of 10 to 14 volunteer teachers who donate their time. Each level is divided into three terms which run for four months each and culminate in written and oral examinations and a graduation ceremony.
English Alive
The English Alive programme is a co-curricular set of activities divided into weekly classes and ad-hoc workshops. The aim of English Alive is to support English learning and practise the language learnt in class in a more informal setting. English Alive activities vary from term to term but include things like conversation club, peer to peer study groups, Business English and debating. Another goal of English Alive is to help students develop a sense of community and integration. Some of our workshops, such as Breath Water Sound (yoga) help students integrate, unwind and manage the stress of being a refugee or migrant in South Africa. Afrikaans classes give students who live in predominantly Afrikaans speaking areas a chance to assimilate.
Read and Write
The Read and Write programme uses materials from the Shine literacy centre to help students who struggle with literacy. Volunteers often comment on how rewarding this programme is, as many students blossom very quickly under the one-on-one support.
Human Rights Club
Through Scalabrini’s Human Rights Club, members are invited to explore the full gamut and history of civil rights and wrongs, locally, regionally and internationally, across the dazzlingly diverse spectrum of race, gender and culture – embracing the past, present and future. Through various activities, special visits, talks, screenings, conferences, craft-making, workshops and marches, members are encouraged and given a platform to explore and express their own rights, and to recognise and respect the rights of others.
The Club attracts most of its members from the DRC, and they in turn have steered club activities towards meeting their needs and reflecting their reality, largely focusing on the human rights situation within Congo.
After several months of club activities, an umbrella group called the Civil Society of Congo in South Africa emerged and sought support from Scalabrini to help it further establish itself here in Cape Town and to reach out to the wider Congolese community, strengthening community ties and identity through various events.
The programme is always mindful of, and seeks to explore and activate around wider current events within South Africa as they affect our clients at Scalabrini. One such example is the March Against Corruption, and our development of, in conjunction with Scalabrini's English School, a board game called CORRUPTION, with a strong emphasis on corruption within Home Affairs, which features quite heavily in the media. CORRUPTION can be downloaded here.
As a relatively new department within Scalabrini, the Human Rights Club portfolio is very much a journey of discovery - attentive to the needs of the membership, and always open to suggestion and input. The club meets at least once a week. Forthcoming events are regularly advertised on the walls (main staircase at Scalabrini) , and anyone interested in receiving an SMS update need only leave their name and number on the sheet provided.