Rialto Project scholars, Joshua Mbana and Kumeshnie Nair are in their final year at Simon’s Town Lawhill Maritime Centre in Cape Town. They returned to Lawhill on the 8th of June 2020 after learning remotely from home since the end of March 2020 as a result of the nationwide COVID-19 Lockdown. 

Joshua and Kumeshnie were unable to return to their respective homes in Port Elizabeth and Durban for the one-week break in August, and to keep the Matric class occupied and active during this time, Lawhill arranged a strictly COVID-19 compliant and socially distanced hike up Swartkop, located close to Simon’s Town. The hike was guided by freelance nature guides from Wander-Ful-Walks and gave the scholars, mentors and sponsors the opportunity to view rare proteas in bloom as well as to learn valuable lessons – “I believe that the hike we went on, on the first of August has not only taught me to persevere when the going gets tough, and treacherous, it has also shown me that unity and togetherness is a great tool to have” says Joshua. 

 A key part of the Rialto Project programme is the establishment of mentorship structures for each student, and mentors maintain close personal contact to ensure that scholars have continual support and guidance. Mentors also maintain close relationships with the staff at participating schools to ensure that students’ welfare and other requirements are properly looked after. The difference that Sipho’s mentorship and support has made is evident – “I just wanted to express a heart-felt thank you for your commitment towards us. Your generous contribution continues to help make our vision a reality. You have made a difference through your dedication and continue to support us. Your ideas, input and enthusiasm were most helpful and has motivated us into making valuable improvements” says Kumeshnie in a recent letter.  

For further information about the Rialto Project please click here.