Once upon a time, in a College in the Hilton valley, in KwaZulu Natal, there was a chaplain who cared for people so deeply. His caring on a daily basis created relationships that were inter-woven into the everyday activities of the College. Day and night he looked out for people left behind, sick or poor. Then he left, moving on and working into communities. The College recognised the relationships built over time and set their feet to walk the same path.

A year on, in 2004, the College employed a woman to specifically follow on from the work of the chaplain. This woman began to weave the relationships together. Slowly as people got to know each other, the relationships formalised into partnerships. Those partnerships grew as they were tended to with honesty, love, patience and time. They grew into relationships that benefitted more than just the one person, but rather the many. The impact of the partnerships began to be felt through schools, communities, government and the College itself. What began as one man with one other person, blossomed into many partnerships with numerous communities.

Today, the College houses STEPP. The St Anne’s Education in Partnership Programme, which partners over and over again with many in need who strive for excellence and access to education. The College willingly and lovingly shoulders the responsibility of being a community resource through relating with their surrounding community and growing in stature together.

In a short decade, the staff and girls of the College have committed to serving their community by making excellent education accessible to all South Africans. The current demands have focussed their efforts on early childhood development, literacy, Maths and Science with pre-schools, junior schools, high schools and teaching staff. Now there are three women who work tirelessly to co-ordinate the opportunities that come their way in delivering excellent education to all who venture into the life of the College.

Community partnership in education is seen as the responsibility of the College through the vehicle of STEPP. It is no longer left to one man, but has become the joy of all who come in and out the gates of the College. And in years to come it will be said that, “Once upon a time there as a College, that had the opportunity to make excellent education accessible to all South Africans. And they took up that challenge with open arms and enjoyed the fruits of that act for years thereafter”.