Over 140 volunteers from Tsogo Sun’s eight Cape Town hotels and regional office joined a building blitz to help complete three schools in Khayelitsha. The Building Blitz is an annual week-long event organised by Mellon Educate, an Irish-based African development charity founded by developer and philanthropist Niall Mellon in 2002. With the collective efforts of more than 25 000 volunteers over the years, the organisation has built houses for more than 125 000 people in South Africa’s poorest townships. Four years ago, Mellon Educate pledged a 10-year education development programme to benefit more than 100 000 disadvantaged learners. This year’s Building Blitz week focused on schools in Khayelitsha.

The Tsogo Sun volunteers spent the day with 300 international volunteers, predominantly from Ireland and the UK, as well as volunteers from USA, Australia, Belgium France and Germany, making this a truly international effort. The visiting volunteers were accommodated at Tsogo Sun’s Southern Sun Cape Sun hotel for the duration of their visit, to complete the construction of three schools in Khayelitsha – Sosebenza Primary School, Usasazo High School, and Sobambisana Primary School – improving the learning and teaching experience for a total of 3 650 learners and 100 teachers.

In total, the volunteers were involved in building or completing construction on 14 classrooms, two kitchens, playgrounds in all three schools, two outdoor sheltered areas, a sports field, an outdoor gym, and a science laboratory.

Tsogo Sun, primarily through Southern Sun Cape Sun, has been partnering with Mellon Educate for 12 years, accommodating international volunteers, and hosting business meetings through the year, and has involved staff in the Building Blitzes for five years. Darren Hailstones, Deputy GM of Southern Sun Cape Sun and champion of the Tsogo Sun Building Blitz initiative, says, “It’s a privilege to be the Cape Town home of the Mellon Educate volunteers and their visit is a highlight in the hotel’s calendar; their contribution to our communities is inspirational.”