Welcome to Penreach

Educational excellence for one and all South Africans
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Who We Are

Access to quality education in disadvantaged communities in Mpumalanga since 1991

Penreach is a non-government organisation focusing on education interventions in a pipeline from early childhood to matric for learners, teachers, and school leadership.

Penreach is self-funded and relies on social investment partnerships to reach its beneficiaries.  1 400 educators a year voluntarily attend Penreach from more than 600 different schools, which means that the Penreach influence indirectly reaches more than 370 000 learners annually.

Penreach has become a catalyst for improving the quality of education and is known nationally as a model for educational excellence.  We are proudly the largest NGO in the southern hemisphere.

Penreach Video

Our Mission

Providing quality educational interventions to learners, teachers and leaders.

Our Vision

Educational excellence for one and all South Africans.

Our Values


  • We treat each other as we would like to be treated.

  • We listen actively to others and value their contribution.


  • We act and behave according to the highest ethical and moral standards.

  • Our thoughts, actions and dealings are always honourable and above board.


  • We honour our commitments and keep our promises.

  • We take full responsibility for the commitments we make, the actions we perform and the consequences that arise.


  • We are constantly taking action to measurably and irreversibly change the lives of our people.

  • We serve our community and environment with humility, love and compassion.

What We Do

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela

Why do we do it?

The World Economic Forum’s competitiveness index for 2012–2013 ranks South Africa’s overall education system at 140 out of 144 countries, and its maths and science education at 143 out of 144.

Approximately 60% of learners who started Grade 1 in did not complete their education in 2012.

In 2013 a total of 1 407 schools achieved a pass rate below 60%.   86% or 1 209 of these schools, are in Quintile 1, 2 and 3.  These are the poorest and most under-resourced schools in our country.

It is not doom and gloom! The satisfactory 2013 NSC assessment results are an outcome of efforts that started in 2002 when 1 261 827 learners were enrolled in the public schools system for Grade 1.

Since 1991 Penreach has focussed its efforts on core interventions to address the educational challenges in a pipeline from early childhood to matric by:

  • Developing quality ECD practitioners with holistic child development initiatives
  • Increasing professional development of, and pedagogical content knowledge of teachers
  • Increasing academic learner performance
  • Empowering school leadership to effective run schools

Where we do it

Penreach works in the following districts: Ehlanzeni, Bohlabela, Bushbuckridge, and Nkangala in the Mpumalanga Province.

Although Penreach mainly works within rural schools in the community, it does this from a central base at Penryn College in Nelspruit. This is also where the voluntary Saturday workshops for teachers take place. Services are shared with the college, enabling Penreach to focus on its core business of teacher development and learner performance.

Teachers and learners either travel to Penreach or are served by local ‘cluster’ activities in rural areas covering approximately 15,000 km².

How We Do It

Interventions are targeted and needs based within communities, focused on developing skills and knowledge.

Our Model

The Penreach model is based on our three core areas of impact; Early Childhood Development (ECD), Teacher Development and Learner Support, and Management and Leadership Development.

Our Management and Leadership development programmes are designed to fast track development of critical skills required by school principals and their management teams. Specific interventions serve to improve the effectiveness of schools through targeted training, coaching, mentoring and support involving Principals, HODs, SMTs, and SGBs.

Teacher development includes mentoring around teaching skills, subject content knowledge, subject-specific application, contextualisation and integration of CAPS plus the National Curriculum Statements (NCS), and pedagogic excellence.

Learner support consists of classroom activities, identification of Barriers to Learning, subject tutorials, and Online Solutions in literacy and numeracy. Penreach supports the work of the Departments of Basic Education and Social Development and provides supplementary services in rural communities.

The Philosophy

Penreach believes the success lies in creating a pipeline of interventions from early childhood development to matric.  Our interventions are strategically selected in a community to ensure we start quality education at day care centres and following the same learners through to primary phase and high school.

Just like democracy which seemed impossible, Penreach’s vision is achievable in our lifetime: “Educational excellence for one and all South Africans” We are working progressively to achieve this vision through three programmes, including: Early Childhood Development (ECD), Primary School, and High School Maths & Science. Penreach works closely with the Department of Education and have good working relationships with Circuit and District Managers.

All our interventions are based on the Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) as guideline.  Penreach is an accredited SAQA member able to accredit Professional Developments Points recognised by SACE.  We are also endorsed by the ETDP Seta.

Penreach Interventions

Early Childhood Development, Learning and Teaching, Management and Leaderhip interventions working towards educational excellence

Early Childhood Development

Penreach facilitates the access to quality ECD for children from disadvantaged communities. This is realised through the establishment of quality Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres that care for children in a safe and inspiring learning environment, as well as through a home-based programme, named Umphakatsi.

Early Childhood development that is approached holistically enables children to make the transition from ECD to Primary Phase with ease. Our intervention is able to assist with providing young minds with the necessary skills to enter the education system and cope in school.

The Penreach ECD intervention directly impacts the ANA scores in grade one.  Practitioners are trained to be professional and to sustain best practices. We are proud to play an instrumental role in Early Childhood Development in Mpumalanga.

Programme Outcomes

  • Improved practitioner content mastery and professionalism
  • Improved quality of classroom teaching and learning
  • Improved learner performance and school readiness
  • Increased access to quality ECD services for children from disadvantaged communities

ECD Activities

  • Teacher Skill Development Workshops
  • NQF Level 4 training
  • School Advisory Visits
  • Demonstration lessons
  • Training in identification to Barriers to Learning
  • Physical Education programmes
  • Home visits & community activation
  • Social & Health service assistance

Early Childhood Development Successes

  • 266 Early Childhood Centres and 17 500 learners are being reached through Penreach interventions annually
  • Learners improved fine motor skills, literacy and numeracy, physical, social and emotional development skills by more than 23% in 2013

Teaching and Learning

The primary purpose of the Teaching and Learning intervention is to ensure best educational practices are implemented in school and classroom environments in which optimal learning can take place. Leaners and teachers are supported to achieve pedagogical content knowledge in a stimulating and nurturing learning environment.

Teaching is based on contextualisation and integration of NELDS (National Early Learning Development Standards), CAPS (Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement), and the National Curriculum Statements (NCS).  Learner achievement remains pivotal.

Penreach supports the work of the Departments of Basic Education and Social Development to achieve national goals in rural communities.

Programme Outcomes

  • Improved practitioner content mastery and professionalism
  • Improved pedagogical content knowledge
  • Improved quality of classroom teaching and learning
  • Improved literacy and numeracy levels to above the national average in target primary schools
  • Improved quality matric passes in Maths and Science able to pursue careers in engineering, medicine, science, technology and finance

Teacher Development Activities

  • Teacher Skills Development Workshops
  • Advisory Visits
  • Coaching and Mentoring

Learner Support Activities

  • Subject tutorials
  • Online Solutions in literacy and numeracy
  • Advisory Visits
  • Ndzalo Mobile Science Laboratory practical lessons
  • Participation in Science Expos and Science Week
  • Career Guidance

Teaching and Learning Successes

  • Improvement in Home Language ANA scores - from 45% - 70% in Primary Phase in 2013
  • Improved Numeracy ANA scores from 50-70% in Grade 1-2, from 10-60% in grade 3 in 2013
  • Improved level of reading from 40% - 60% in 2013
  • 26 Primary Phase schools and 3283 learners are being reached through Penreach interventions
  • 55 out of 72 teachers have measurably improved content knowledge in Mathematics
  • 52 of 72 (72%) Primary Phase classes are print rich
  • 1 pregnancy recorded in 2013 out of 824 learners
  • Target school achieved an average overall matric pass rate of 80% in Science in 2013
  • Target schools achieved an overall NSC pass rate above the national average

Courageous Leadership

The purpose of the intervention is to provide management and delivery capacity for a school leadership and management intervention for all the primary schools in the Malelane and Khulangwane Circuit of Ehlanzeni District which will result in enhanced learner performance outcomes. 

Programme Outcomes

  • Improved numeracy and literacy in schools 
  • Improved scores in the Annual National Assessment (ANA)
  • Design and implement school leadership and management transformation programme successfully to address instructional ineffectiveness and chronic under-performance of learners
  • Design and put all systems and process in place that will enable Circuit to sustain the gains achieved
  • Work with Circuit & District management to identify and address any obstacles to education improvement in the Circuit

​Courageous leadership Activities

  • Train, mentor & coach principals, deputies and HOD's in school management

  • Create awareness of learner support options and manage vulnerable learners

  • Encourage and ensure effective SGB meetings and parent involvement

  • Encouraging the sharing of knowledge, experience and action through solidarity 

Courageous leadership Successes

  • Giving 20 292 children a better start in life
  • Improve the quality of education in 24 schools 
  • Reduce grade repetition rate

For more detailed information on our interventions please contact us.


Our Impact

Penreach reaches between 300 000 and 500 000 learners indirectly each year

Through several projects in 2015, Penreach had a direct impact on:

332 Schools, 430 Principals, 8 680 Teachers, 267 993 Learners, and 10 488 Parents.

For more information about our programmes in Early Childhood Development, Early Literacy & Numeracy, Teacher Development and Courageous School Leadership, contact us at ceopenreach@penryn.co.za


Our staff component consists of qualified and experienced individuals.


Programme Directors are experts in their field and dynamic leadership is evident across the organisation. Our staff component consists of qualified and experienced individuals. Programme Directors are experts in their field and dynamic leadership is evident across the organisation. Penreach recognises that we are people working with people for the benefit of other people and uphold our values of respect, integrity, accountability and responsibility toward our beneficiaries, our partners, ourselves, our communities, and our country.

The organisation has 15 full time employees across the three programmes and 8 staff members providing support in terms of leadership, finance, logistics and events, communication, partnerships, data management and monitoring & evaluation.

Mr Andile Ncontsa

ECD Director
Mrs Thulile Makofane

Learning and Teaching Director
Mr Bailey Nkuna

School Management & Leadership
Mrs Sanette Mattheus

Marketing & Communication
Ms Susanna Oosthuizen 

Board of Directors

The trustees volunteer their services and have a passion for education development.

The trustees are Paul Harris (Chairman) &  Judge Phineas Mojapelo. 

Supporting Documents

  • NPO certificate
  • ETDP certificate
  • Soon to come: 2015 Annual Report

BBBEE status

Penreach is BBBEE certified

BBBEE status

Penreach is BBBEE certified as defined in the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Act 53 of 2003; in order for the full donation by donors to be allowed to be recognised as a Socio-Economic Development contribution.


Our Partners

Partners in uplifting communities

Penreach welcomes funding partnerships with organizations who would like to invest in developing quality education in rural communities in South Africa.  

Strategic Partners

  • National Education Collaboration Trust: In partnership with PWC, PSA, and Class Act
  • Roger Federer Foundation 
  • USAID 
  • Transnet Foundation


  • South African Agency for Science and Technology Advancement (SAASTA) - Maths & Science
  • National Development Agency (NDA) 
  • ApexHI Trust
  • Sappi
  • Anglo American Chairman’s Fund 
  • Albert Wessels Trust 
  • Export Credit Insurance Company 
  • Efficient Engineering
  • First Rand Foundation
  • Oppenheimer Memorial Trust
  • Hermann Ohlthaver Trust 
  • Barloworld South Africa (Pty)
  • Bayer South Africa 
  • Sage Foundation
  • HL Hall & Sons
  • TRAC N4
  • Manganese Metal Company 
  • RCL Foods
  • RB Hagart trust
  • The Robert Niven Trust
  • The President’s Award
  • Transnet Foundation
  • Vodacom


  • Accenture
  • A4U Tourism
  • Veslefrikk Oil Platform
  • TVR Computers
  • Tarsus Technologies
  • Rev M. Stone
  • Advanced Channel Technologies Nelspruit

Implementation Partners

  • Department of Basic Education
  • Department of Social Development
  • Save the Children South Africa
  • Performance Solutions Africa
  • Hatfield Online School

Success Stories

Sharing our successes

Making Early Childhood Development everyone’s business

Providing quality home-based ECD services

Penreach officially launched the Umphakatsi Early Childhood Development (ECD) project on 25 February 2016 at Khula-khula Pre-School in Msholozi. The event was attended by community leaders, officials from the Department of Education, the Department of Social Development, local funding members and the broader Msholozi community. The project will reach 301 children in 221 households in Msholozi over the course of 3 years.


The Umphakatsi Model

Umphakatsi is a SiSwati term meaning “community”. The Umphakatsi model is a non-centre based approach which involves the provision of ECD services within the home. The project is implemented in partnership with Child Welfare White River and Eco-Link as strategic partners.

In this model, non-centre based practitioners (NCBPs) who are community volunteers, work with a number of families in a given community and visit each family for a set period of time in each week. During these visits, the NCBPs engage the children and also share knowledge and information with the primary caregivers on activities they can use to stimulate early learning.

The Umphakatsi model seeks to build the capacity of primary caregivers so that they are able to continue to provide these early learning activities and opportunities to their children after the completion of the programme.

Success 1

(L-R) Matthew Comins, Halls representative, Thulile Makofane, Penreach, Andile Ncontsa, Penreach CEO, Sally Wakefield, Penryn Prep, Nancy Siwela, and Ethel Khoza, Dept of Edu, admire some of the toys in the toy library that was officially opened on the day.


The Umphakatsi project is made possible through the gracious support of the Anglo-American Chairman’s Fund, First National Bank, RB Hagart Trust & Halls. Equally, the Msholozi community is acknowledged for embracing the project and allowing Penreach into their homes. It is such partnerships that ensure the sustainability of development initiatives.


(L) Councillor Kenneth Mkhonto expressed appreciation towards Penreach for empowering the Msholozi Community. (R) Sally Wakefield, Andile Ncontsa and Councillor Mkhonto officially open the toy library.


“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the children in my community. This project has also given me an opportunity to develop myself through the ongoing training that we are receiving from Penreach and its partners. I have already learnt a lot about children and their mind-set”. 
Karabo Khoza, 21 (Non-Centre Based Practitioner)

Call to Action

Partner with us to enable us to ensure that more children access ECD services in their homes and give them fair shot at achieving educational excellence later in life. You may also contribute by donating toys, particularly teddy bears, for the children. It is our collective responsibility to ensure educational excellence for one and all South Africans.


Your Penreach Baylab Newsbyte

Your Penreach PCLDP Newsbyte

A Penreach Newsbyte: Perspective from our partners

Your Penreach Newsbyte: Umphakatsi launch

Penreach Newsletter: Term 1

Teacher Development @ Penreach 2016

Broadening the skills and knowledge of our teachers

On Saturday 27 February Penreach successfully held the first Teacher Development Workshop for 2016. These workshops have been an institution at Penreach for over 20 years, with the purpose of developing and empowering teachers and ECD (Early Childhood Development) practitioners with skills and knowledge across various fields of study. It furthermore serves as a platform for sharing, learning from one another, networking, socialising and also assists with practical skills development amongst teachers from Grade 00 – Grade 9. Teachers come from as far as Bushbuckridge, Malelane, Matsulu, Barberton and Badplaas to join those from Kabokweni, Kanyamazane, Hlau –Hlau and Pienaar. Attendance is voluntary and workshops are endorsed by SACE.



525 ECD practitioners, 625 grade 1-9 teachers, 60 SMT (School Management Teams) and 30 SGB (School Governing Body members) attended the first workshop. Over 23 000 learners are indirectly impacted through this initiative. By partnering with Penreach, and becoming a #PenreachPartner, you will enable us extend this impact across Mpumalanga!



To date the SMT, sign language, trauma counselling and basic skills in ECD classes are the most popular subjects. We also offer courses on Baby Care, Storytelling, Auditory & Visual Perception, Life Skills, Integrated Literacy & Numeracy and many more.


"I'm proud to be a student of Penreach. I learn a lot and I'm still achieving. The motivation is fantastic and I will stick to this: 'Do something with your life - it is never too late. You can achieve'". - Sihle Ndwandwe


To read our fist term newsletter, click here

Penreach - Inspiring Science careers 

National Science Week (3-8 August 2015)

Penreach lit up the lives of over 10,000 learners from 38 schools in Mbombela and Nkomazi last week. Spectacular displays involving fire and light formed part of the National Science Week activities. The activities were intended to stimulate interest in science as a subject of study and also promote science and technology careers. The theme for this year was The International Year of Light and Light Based Technologies. Activities included science shows, career guidance, motivation and role modelling, lectures on light, puppetry and short movies. 27 schools visited Penreach’s Shalamuka Science Centre while 11 schools were reached through the mobile lab. 


Maths & Science



“This science show has definitely given our learners exposure to science experiments that we would otherwise not have achieved ourselves, due to lack of basic equipment. We hope some of them have been inspired to study science after matric.” Mr. P.H. Themba, Kamhlushwa Primary.


Thousands of learners set to benefit from science lab

Bayer in South Africa has joined forces with the social impact Organisation Penreach to take Math and Science closer to a number of schools in Mpumalanga through the sponsorship of a Penreach mobile Math and Science laboratory.

The life sciences company has made funds available to Penreach in an effort to support their continued outreach programmes to previously disadvantaged schools in the Mpumalanga that target both students and teachers.

Penreach launches second mobile science lab
Click on the above image to watch the video


Teach the teacher and help kids

Passion for education

Penreach BayLab launched

A programme to realign the state of local education

Penreach highlights the importance of play

More than R3 000 raised during charity race

Giving is part of the Penryn Package

Penreach Gallery

The faces we touch

Contact Us

Should you wish to find out more about Penreach, the relevant contact details are as follows.

General Contact Info:

General Contact Info:

Tel: (013) 758 9000 to 9009

Fax (013) 758 9010


Postal Address:

P.O.Box 2835



Tel: (013) 758 9000 to 9009

Fax (013) 758 9010

E-mail: mnisit@penryn.co.za

Cell Nos when Landlines down:

+27 (0) 82 889 5897

+27 (0) 82 889 5953

+27 (0) 83 627 8948

+27 (0) 83 627 8947

Apply here