Thanks to the funds raised at the annual Cape Wine Auction (CWA), 156 learners attending SPARK Lynedoch near Stellenbosch do so on full or partial bursaries.

The Cape Wine Auction, sponsored by Nedbank Private Wealth, which takes place this Saturday at Buitenverwachting in Constantia, is regarded as the most significant international wine charity auction in South Africa.

In the five years of its existence the auction has created a benchmark in philanthropy and raised over R71 million. The proceeds are distributed by the Cape Wine Auction Trust to 22 carefully selected beneficiaries who make a profound impact on the education and lives of children in the Cape winelands. Spark Lynedoch is one such recipient.

“The Trust also assists with transport for the learners as this is often a very real barrier to attending school for children from farming communities,” said Andi Norton, CWA Trust facilitator.

Spark Schools is an independent educational institution which is positively disrupting and challenging education in South Africa. It is doing this in the revolutionary way its pupils are taught and, perhaps more importantly, in disputing the view that quality independent education has to be costly and unaffordable to people in the lower income bracket. It uses a ground-breaking blended learning model which costs less than many government-run schools.

According to Spark Lynedoch principal Megan Rivas-Garcia, the support they receive from the Cape Wine Auction Trust has changed the lives of their learners many of whom have bursaries and are top achievers in all subject areas. “These scholars are determined, focused individuals who are performing exceptionally well at international standards, achieving marks as high as 90% for maths and literacy and 100% for IsiXhosa. Our goal at Spark is to provide a solid foundation on which the scholars can grow into holistically successful adults,” she said.

“I could talk for hours about what makes Spark Lynedoch special, but my favourite aspect would have to be our diversity. We have scholars and staff from all walks of life who come together every day to grow and learn from each other. This diversity allows everyone the opportunity to develop compassion and understanding – two qualities that I think are of the utmost importance in our country today,” said Rivas-Garcia.

The CWA Trust beneficiaries work in collaboration as a community to bring about measurable change.The Lunchbox Fund provides Spark Lynedoch bursary scholars with food, while Community Keepers provides pyscho-social support for the children. – Press release