Bonteheuwel High matrics get ‘chill room’

The Sister-Hood Project has decorated and furnished a room for Bonteheuwel High School matric pupils to relax.

A non-profit company has created a “chill room” for Bonteheuwel High School matrics, where they can relax, study and have quiet time.

The Sister-Hood Project was started two years ago by six former pupils who now mentor matrics at the school.

After furnishing and decorating the room made available by the school, the organisation unveiled it on Saturday. It has couches, tables and chairs and even boasts a coffee bar.

“We all need a safe space at some time. We wanted to create a happy environment. The classroom can sometimes be intimidating. Here the pupils can come and take a break, or study, have a cup of coffee or have one-on-one conversations or counselling sessions with teachers or us as their ‘sisters’,” said Delia Zeederberg, who founded the Sister-Hood Project.

Although the mentoring project was initially only open to girls, it was decided to include the boys from this year.

The project has regular workshops on a range of youth issues, including self-esteem, bullying, social media do’s and don’t’s and job preparedness.

“Whatever they might be going through, they know that they have ‘older sisters’ they can reach out to. They know we can relate, because we come from this community. I told them we should not be embarrassed about where we come from,” Ms Zeederberg said.

Bonteheuwel High School principal Nicola Pather said the Sister-Hood had already made a big difference at the school. “They bring outside people to uplift and motivate our girls. Sometimes as teachers, we only focus on the academics, but we don’t know the socio-economic circumstances at home. This is a home away from home. This is all about sisters empowering sisters.”

Matric pupil Leah Cupido said the room was a a quiet place where they could do school work or study.

“I have benefited so much just by being part of the project. We are building a bond, and we are learning so much. We can even now assist each other when challenges arise. We appreciate everything the Sister-Hood Project does for us,” she said.

Nikhita McKechnie was part of the programme last year and is now a volunteer at the “chill room”.

“Last year was a tough year for me. Being in Grade 12 wasn’t easy for me. Thanks to the Sister-Hood Project, they helped me prepare for the real world. They taught us a lot about sisterhood and what it means. I am very excited to be part of the chill room. I will be monitoring it, and this is a new venture for me. I’d like to work in the community in future, and for me, this is the beginning of that. My dream is also to study construction management.”

To find out more about how you can help the project, contact Ms Zeederberg at 076 144 9332.

Mentors, from left, Nawahl Fakier, Delia Zeederberg, Shirley Lippert and Janine Dunnett.
Enjoying the coffee bar, are, from left, Tamara Oliver, Miche Lottering, teacher Senay Anthony, Nikhita McKechnie, Tenique Klein, Sipesihle Nombuye and Tasneem Mohammed.