Putting youth on the road to a brighter future

Diego Jacobs, from Hangberg, is now studying a BCom at UCT.

Nineteen-year-old Diego Jacobs, from Hangberg, is the first member of his family to go to university.

Diego, who is in his first year of a BCom at UCT, grew up in Hangberg, and with the help of the Bright Start education support programme, his educational journey started in 2008 at Kronendal Pre-Primary.

Over the years, he discovered his gift for soccer and a hunger for knowledge. In Grade 9 at Camps Bay High, he excelled in soccer and academics.

Diego played for Camps Bay Football Club, was awarded “player of the season” and “players’ player of the season” in 2016. In 2017, he played in the team above his age level and won “most promising young player of the season”.

In June 2019, he toured Italy as part of the Isimemo saseKapa soccer squad.

Diego ranked in the top-20 of the Camps Bay High School matric class of 2021 and received A’s in Afrikaans, maths, history and life orientation.

But this achievement did not come without personal sacrifice when he decided to put his soccer playing days on hold to focus on his academic future. At the time, he was in Grade 11.

Diego credited Bright Start, a Hout Bay non-profit organisation, for helping him make the right decision.

“Bright Start helped me see and shape my future, and with their help, I am realising my end goal – to succeed by getting the education I need to have a brighter future. I have so much gratitude to my family, Bright Start and my sponsors for helping me get here.”

Bright Start is an education programme for underprivileged children as young as 3, giving them the chance to complete their schooling at some of the best schools in the city.

Daln Swart, fundraising co-ordinator for Bright Start, said they helped to provide a better future for children, youth and parents in the disadvantaged communities of Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu.

“Access to education is the main concern and a priority of ours,” Ms Swart said.

Established in 2008 by Sally Whitford and Sharon Scudamore, the organisation started with seven children and has grown to 33.

• Visit www.brightstart.org or call 021 790 0458 for more information about Bright Start.

In June 2019, Diego toured Italy as part of the Isimemo saseKapa soccer squad.