#AfterSchoolHeroes – Louise Barends: Darling Outreach Foundation

Darling Outreach Foundation was established in 2020 and was identified as a grantee of The Learning Trust through the partnership with the Wordworks programme.

Based in Darling, a rural town on the outskirts of Cape Town, Darling Outreach Foundation’s mission is to create educational opportunities and contribute to improving the physical wellbeing of vulnerable children.

The organisation strives to create safe spaces for these learners to receive academic support, psychosocial support and nutrition.

Darling Outreach Foundation manages an in-school Wordworks programme with Grade 1 learners, accommodating 20 pupils and an After School programme that provides academic and psychosocial support to 90 primary school learners.

They also implement a holiday programme that focuses on life skills which reaches 300 learners annually.

Darling Outreach Foundation plays a vital role in its community as it provides learning opportunities for learners who would not ordinarily have such opportunities.

It has good relationships with local schools and its work contributes to the improvement of the literacy and numeracy skills of learners that attend these schools.

Additionally, the centre also has a sizable nutritional programme that existed even before the emergence of COVID-19.

The organisation also has interventions with parents; therefore, it addresses a wide range of community needs.

This is Darling Outreach Foundation’s school manager, Louise Barends’ story…

What inspires you the most or motivates you to thrive in your role?

Since I was in school, I had decided that I want to be in the Helping Profession.

During 2010 I started at my current work, focusing just on community work and I love what I do.

The awesomeness about the workspace allows me to be creative.

I never forget where we started, therefore I appreciate where we are and that we will still evolve in the future.

When I come in contact with people, I attempt to assist them in order for them to leave in a better state than they come in.

My determination to see things through keeps me going. Besides working with children, I am passionate to guide and support young people. I mentor young people and assist them with career guidance.

I believe that every person has the potential to grow and develop in their own way even if their progress is slow. Seeing slight changes ignites enthusiasm in me. I am driven by faith and spiritual morals.

Learning new things, implementing new programs and sharing with other is interesting.

What do you hope to achieve through the work that you do?

That all children may be educated, find their strength, and develop into the best person they can be.

I hope to encourage children, young and mature people to keep on pursuing their dreams.

Through my interactions with them I strive for them to firmly believe in themselves. Understanding that their future is absolutely in their hands.

I want to see children and youth that embark on a journey of self-discovery, growing from being a shy girl or boy, into young people that are confident and do not hesitate to follow their dreams.

Through investing in volunteers (unemployed youth) I saw people grow through internships.

These platforms gave the volunteers work experience which enhance their opportunities to get permanent employment.

I strive to impart resilience as a building block in children’s life as young as they are and hope when they combat challenges, they will have the ability to rise again.

They must be aware that they are much bigger than their circumstances. They must remember that whatever they do counts, and they need to be committed and diligent.

I will continue to encourage children about the value of build a support system that they can rely on during difficult times.

Darling Outreach Foundation | Our Grantees