An Indigenous Haven
Our beautiful iThemba Campus is situated in Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal, with a breath-taking view of the Valley of 1000 Hills. Since the inception of Focus on iThemba in 2003, our founders Danie and Judy van den Heever have poured love and intention into stewarding this ‘Place of hope’ and creating a Campus filled with indigenous flora and fauna that is cherished and respected by all those who enjoy the Campus.
41 acres in size, this piece of land boasts a richness in biodiversity and pays attention to the unique beauty of the KwaZulu-Natal landscape. It hosts a profusion of endemic plants, a beautiful wetland area, indigenous grasslands and an abundance of birds, insects and reptiles. Raptors, colourful butterflies, bees and blooming African irises can be spotted almost every day by those who stop to look. As we appreciate the beauty around us, we find humility in honouring Danie and Judy, whose very own hands were part of the planting, sowing, toiling and transforming of the Campus grounds, and has led to inspiring a deep love for our land.
Focus on iThemba and Waterfall Schools: Promoting Sustainability in Education
Key to understanding the nature of our relationship with Waterfall Schools is the extraordinary piece of land that we call the iThemba Campus. 41 acres in size, this biodiverse Campus is managed on eco-conscious principles and has been a refuge to many over the years, providing a ‘Place of Hope’ to the Valley of 1000 Hills Community and a home to Focus on iThemba for the last two decades. Today, we have the privilege of seeing our Campus serve as an educational hub to Waterfall Pre-Primary, Waterfall Preparatory and Waterfall College, collectively known as Waterfall Schools.
As co-habitants of the Campus, Waterfall Schools play an integral role in supporting our goal of striving for continued sustainability and longevity as NPO. Our Campus sustainability model could be described as a value exchange, whereby the Schools benefit from the facilities on Campus and, through their growth and occupation, we receive the benefit of organisational sustainability, thus allowing us to direct 100% of our donor funding to our life-changing iThemba Programmes.
For both Focus on iThemba and Waterfall Schools, our overlapping philosophies of investing in and prioritising growth through education is paramount. To ensure that these are kept in focus, we share three Board Members and work closely together in our iThemba Educare and iThemba Scholars Programmes.
Conservation on Campus
Recognising that we have a responsibility to conserve and protect the unique and diverse ecosystem around us, our landscaping philosophy seeks to cultivate a sense of ‘Biodiversity Stewardship’ both on and off Campus, and foster an attitude of respect and responsibility towards leaving this land as a legacy for those who follow.
Our Conservation efforts to date have included the installation of solar panels, a borehole and a number of hydration stations to encourage mindfulness around minimising the use of plastic water bottles. In addition, we have focused on the removal of alien vegetation and asbestos roofing in old buildings, as well as promoting kitchen waste reduction through a bokashi composting system. These efforts form part of a Campus wide initiative to create a sustainable future in which we are all aware of our interdependency and relationship with nature.