June 2018 –  Sbonelo Tshabalala founder of TreNello School of Maths and Arts #YouthDay2018

Sbonelo Tshabalala wasn’t yet born when the youth of 1976 took to the streets to fight against a regime that did not have the best interests of black children at heart.
Those young people were maimed and even killed while fighting for the right to receive better education that would enable Tshabalala and his peers to flourish.

Today, Tshabalala is doing his bit to help black children. He is the founder of TreNello School of Maths and Arts in Soshanguve, near Pretoria.

After quitting his full-time job as a teacher at Spark Theresa Park this year, Tshabalala started his own school in the township to help disadvantaged learners with school work and help parents to get involved in their children’s school work.

Tshabalala teaches and mentors about 12 learners from Soshanguve during the week at their homes and on Saturdays at a book café that he runs.

“On a normal day, I do house calls where I assist the parents and the learners. I help learners with school work and ensure that they do their things properly.

“I design timetables to keep them disciplined, especially in maths and other relevant subjects. We also do arts and African literature,” Tshabalala said.

“We start at 9am and learners are released at noon. We focus on Grade 1 up to Grade 9 learners, being the foundation phase of everything,” he said.

Tshabalala, who has a degree in education and a diploma in information technology, said one of the reasons he started his own school was because he wanted to close the gap between parents and their children when it came to school work.

“Not all parents are fully involved in their children’s school life. I realised that I have a lot to offer. I am still young and I’ve got so much energy.

“I need an African child to have all their needs met. I decided to start my own thing and help an African child,” he said.

Tshabalala uses his own money and car to run the school.

“This is my life, this is what I do. Every day I wake up, plan my day and do research. This is the only thing I do in terms of being a professional. At this point in time, it is a self-funded school. I am using the money that I have gathered since I was an employee.

“So no one has come and said we got this amount of money that we want to sponsor your school.

“So far I don’t have anyone assisting me. If somebody were to come and say we have a budget for you, mainly we need the equipment (books) for maths. We provide food for learners on Saturdays, so it would be great to have someone who can help us with catering.

“We need transport because some learners stay far. Travelling every day requires me to have petrol in my car. We are looking at building a proper school or using one of the schools that is not being used.”

Tshabalala describes Youth Month as vibrant and important. “It reminds me of where we come from as a country in terms of the struggles that the youth back then went through to have the benefits that we have today. I was able to open my own school because of such people who fought for us back in the days.

“For me, it is important to recognise this day,” Tshabalala said.

On June 16, Tshabalala will be giving a talk at one of the Youth Day events in Pretoria. He said he would share his story and motivate others to follow in his footsteps.

“They need to serve their community and country. You need to know what you need to do. Never doubt the ability and energy that you have. At the end of the day, it is all about what you want and how hungry you are for success,” Tshabalala said.

One of the leaders he looks up to is Nelson Mandela.

“Mandela was one of the greatest leaders in the world. He was one person who showed us that if you believe in yourself, anything is possible,” he said.

Full Article: https://www.iol.co.za/the-star/news/youthday-he-started-his-own-school-as-his-way-to-contribute-15486045
By: Sthembiso Sithole