The MathMoms of Ravensmead are now the beneficiaries of a foundation set up in memory of Klara Paullson (41), a psychologist from Lund in Sweden.
“Our daughter passed away last October due to cancer and had a big heart for children, especially for children in vulnerable situations. Southern Africa was a special concern for Klara. She lived for some years in South Africa and Botswana and after her passing we decided to establish the Klara Foundation,” says Bo Paullson, her father.
This was the message of Paulsson and his wife, Sophia, when they came to visit Connaught Estate in Elsies River to see what the MathMoms are doing.
“Our hearts are broken by Klara’s passing, but we know that when communities and people from different backgrounds take hands, good things can come out of it. We heard of MathMoms through the organisation Free to Grow and decided to pay a visit,” Paullson says.
He describes Klara as a beloved wife, mother and daughter and says that although she was a real fighter, she eventually lost her battle with the disease.
“Besides taking care of her own three small children, she and her husband cared about children both professionally and privately. More than 10 years ago she heard about the organisation Free to Grow. When she died, her husband, parents and sister decided to establish a fund in memory of her, the Klara Foundation. Nobody was unmoved when meeting Klara – she had lots of friends, and masses contributed to the foundation after her death,” he says.
MathMoms was established by retired teachers from Parow, Elsies River, Ravensmead and surrounding areas who teach stay-at-home moms to help their children with their schoolwork in the afternoons.
The MathMoms undergo training on which modules their children are doing, how to enhance the teaching of the subjects with which their children are struggling, and also to assist at the different schools in the area to supervise classrooms in the absence of teachers.
“MathMoms is a project in line with what we think Klara would have chosen to support. After our visit here, we are convinced this is a project worth supporting. To strengthen education for children, especially in mathematics, is most essential and definitely in line with Klara’s intentions,” Paullson says.
Free to Grow is an organisation that has been conducting courses in personal growth, leadership development and employment engagement for the past 24 years. Their clients range from major international companies to underprivileged communities, says Alinda Nortje, executive chairperson of the organisation.
“With the Klara Foundation, we are co-sponsoring the presentation of seven four-day Free to Grow life skills programme to develop and grow MathMoms,” Nortje says.
Sonja Cilliers, coordinator of MathMoms, borrows the words of Peter Block: “We begin [the transformation of communities] by shifting our attention from the problems of community to the possibility of community”, creating “a structure of belonging”.
“The purpose of the MathMoms programme is to provide children with a safe space where they learn mathematics and leave having learned much more. It is expected that through this after-school programme, learners will not only improve their mathematical skills, but also gain self-confidence and build meaningful relationships with caring adults in their communities,” says Cilliers.