Why Rogz Academy started
Rogz Academy is a non-profit organisation registered in 2016, empowering local communities in the spirit of ubuntu through education, youth development and nutrition for a sustainable future together.
When Rogz started in Cape Town, South Africa in June 1995, all energies went into building a company from scratch to a stable position where the company could do more than sell the world’s coolest pet gear and provide jobs for the local community, but also empower their families. The challenges seemed overwhelming, but sustained and focused energy into helping under-resourced individuals conquer these challenges, really is making a difference – even if it is one starfish at a time. Rogz founders, Irené and Paul, wanted to create a culture of caring, being real, and following passions!
The Starfish Story
One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking up and gently throwing things into the ocean.
Approaching the boy he asked: “Young man, what are you doing?”
The boy replied: “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.“
The man laughed to himself and said: “Do you realize there are miles of miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference.“
After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it into the surf, then smiling at the man, he said; “I made a difference to that one.”
— Loren Eiseley
(American anthropologist and philosopher)
One of the many challenges that South Africa faces, is education. Rogz co-founder, Irené Raubenheimer’s passion for mentoring and education resulted in him joining the Partners for Possibility initiative, partnering to support the principal with leadership of a local under-resourced school of 1600 learners – Sophakama Primary is in Dunoon, a local township near the Rogz factories. Improving literacy was the first strategic area and together with Books and Beyond, a project team of volunteers, Rogz Academy started an English literacy programme in 2015.
Due to the success of this programme and as a relationship of trust with the school was established, more programmes were implemented to provide teacher support and mentorship as well as literacy and numeracy support for learners. This included providing assistance with setting up a library and computer lab.
In 2020 despite the many challenges of Covid-19, Rogz Academy, through our youth programme (Year Beyond), now assists four under-resourced schools – Sophakama Primary, Dunoon Primary, Marconi Beam Primary and Silverleaf Primary. Programmes continue to focus on teacher support and mentorship as well as literacy and numeracy support for learners.
In 2016 Rogz Academy partnered with the Western Cape Government as an Implementing Partner of the YearBeyond (YeBo) programme, borne out of the Provincial Youth Development Strategy launched in 2015. The strategy supports youth unemployment by aiming to ensure that by 25 years old, young people are responsible, independent, healthy and active citizens. The programme recruits young people aged 18-25 into a structured 10-month development journey focusing on work readiness, professional competencies, personal growth and progression to the world of work and/or study.
Throughout their journey they are provided with mentorship and socio-economic support. At the same time they are provided with training and placed in a meaningful work experience to provide literacy and numeracy support in under-resourced schools. Rogz Academy successfully started implementing this programme at Sophakama Primary school through recruiting 6 young people from the community of Dunoon.
In 2020 Rogz Academy extended the Yebo programme to include 3 other schools in Dunoon and Joe Slovo benefitting 400–500 children and 32 young people from these communities. Transferring what has been learnt at Sophakama to other schools is a real milestone for Rogz Academy. In 2021 Rogz Academy created an internship to assist with the implementation of the YeBo programme. This young person is recruited from the previous year’s youth on the YeBo programme and in addition to the work experience, is also supported with mentorship and life coaching. Rogz also employed 3 Yebo alumnae to work at Rogz from June 2021. They all gain invaluable work experience and mentorship which will equip them for future job opportunities.
Rogz co-founder Paul’s passion for nature and in particular urban gardens, resulted in the creation of the Rogz urban farm in 2013. By changing the pavements outside the Rogz factories in Omuramba business park, from messy overgrown foliage into rows of fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit trees, its goal was to harvest these veggies and fruit for all Roggerz at RWHQ and feed their families and community.
Subsequently, with the help of the farmers at Rogz, a veggie garden was established at Sophakama Primary in Dunoon and produce was regularly harvested to feed the children so that they could study with full stomachs. In 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic exarcerbated the food crisis in South Africa and all Government schools were closed, Rogz Academy harvested all the vegetables from the Rogz urban farm and donated them to Boost Africa Foundation’s soup kitchen which was helping to feed vulnerable communities in Dunoon and Joe Slovo. Vegetables were also donated to Stone Dragon soup initiative, distributing much-needed soup in Khayelitsha township, as well as to vulnerable communities in Atlantis.
The Rogz urban farm has extended its space and more pavements have been changed into vegetable gardens. Atlantic Fertilizers has kindly donated organic fertilizer which is being dug into the soil to improve the quality of produce, and this is an ongoing donation. Now the wish is to put in a borehole so that water is freely accessible for all the vegetable patches so harvest is improved. New seedlings need to be planted in the right season and sales of produce to Roggers helps with costs, but help is needed to subsidize ongoing expenditure. Nutrition is a building block for improving physical and mental health in children and with more funds, the Rogz urban farm can improve productivity to feed more hungry children and their families.
Thank you to the following key partners whose collaboration with Rogz Academy has made implementation of our various projects sustainable! Click on the logo to find out more.
Western Cape Government
Our team began working together with the Western Cape Education Department early on in our journey, so as to make sure that we aligned our goals with their goal of seeing a well-performing Sophakama Primary School. We continue to stay in regular touch with their representatives who work with Sabelo and his teaching team.
The Western Cape Premier’s Office launched the Year Beyond Programme and Sophakama was chosen as one of the eight schools from the Western Cape to participate on the programme. We hope to see this partnership go from strength to strength as the Year Beyond Programme grows.
University of Cape Town
Working closely with the University of Cape Town’s School Development Unit (SDU), and WCED, the SDU team conducted a ‘case study’ at the school (using observations/interviews/focus groups) and a written report was submitted to Sophakama Primary School.
We believe our partnership with the SDU has brought expertise and well-founded research to our implementation of this programme. The SDU promote quality teaching and learning across all grades, with a specific focus on mathematics, the sciences and languages and contribute to the continuing professional development of teachers and school managers.
NEXTSTEP is a unique coaching and training company. We use deep listening, reflection and inquiry to create a safe space for our clients to pause, take a breath and notice what is really happening in them right now. From this more peaceful place they can discover their own next steps.
The NEXTSTEP approach encourages clients to be vulnerable enough to access the courage and curiosity they need to be fully present, face reality, embrace all their experience without judgement, and make the most of their opportunities. Challenges make it more difficult for us to be present, yet it is only when we are truly in the moment that we can act effectively.
Olico Maths Education offers a sense-making and confidence-building approach that makes maths accessible and meaningful to South African school children. Why? We do this to open up the maximum opportunities to all children. How? Through the provision of high quality maths resources tailored to the SA realities that are tried and tested in practice in combination with teachers, tutors and NGOs - and then feeding our learnings back into the national debate.
The methodology used in the morning English literacy programme is based on Shine Literacy’s long-established model. Their Shine Centres provide individualised support to learners in Grades 2 and 3 to strengthen their English reading, writing and speaking skills. Learners work with trained volunteers once or twice a week, during the school day, for at least one year. A range of activities are covered in a session, including paired and shared reading, have-a-go writing and fun language games. Shine uses assessments to select learners for the programme and to track progress. The Year Beyond Programme also uses the Shine Literacy programme.
Boost Africa Foundation
Boost Africa Foundation assists learners to stay in school. They believe that education counteracts crime and poverty and has long-term social development benefits. The foundation provides learners with the basic requirements necessary to attend school and aims to establish a sustainable learning centre with resources to improve numeracy, literacy and skills development of the youth.
Nal’ibali (isiXhosa for “here’s the story”) is a national campaign that promotes reading for enjoyment and develops children’s potential through storytelling and reading. Nal’ibali deliver over 300 newspaper supplements (found in the Sunday Times Express newspaper) regularly to the school.
The Click Foundation
This is the online phonetics-based English literacy programme used by the learners on the Year Beyond Programme. The primary aim of the programme is to assist learners achieve English literacy proficiency at an age-appropriate level. Learners work at their own pace on the technology, facilitated by the volunteers. They are provided with visual and auditory instructions to make learning fun using reading games, songs and activities.
We are extremely grateful to the following Platinum Donors for their ongoing generous financial support to Rogz Academy, and hope to expand this network soon!
How to support
All monetary donations are welcome! In order for Rogz Academy to fulfil its promises to all its programmes, funds are allocated from our Rogz Academy NPO bank account which is audited and checked every year. See opposite for our account details to EFT or scan the QR code to help us meet our target!
Step 1: Set up Rogz Academy NPO as a Beneficiary
Account Name: Rogz Academy NPO
Branch: Montague Gardens
Branch Code: 632005
Account Number: 4088949545
Step 2: Add the SWIFT code: ABSA ZA JJ
Step 3: Input the amount you would like to donate and PAY
Step 1: Download the Snapscan App from Google and set up your Snapscan
account by entering your credit card details
Step 2: Scan the Rogz Academy Snapscan QR code
Step 3: Type the amount you would like to donate, and press PAY
Step 1: With an existing card, consider adding Rogz Academy NPO as another beneficiary (you may have 3) or register for a new card quickly – click here.
Step 2: Swipe this card whenever you buy goodies at Woolworths, Engen, Builders Warehouse, Loot and Waltons Stationery.
Phone: +27 (0) 551 2839