Astra Special Needs School Upgrade with Little Optimist

April 29, 2024

Italtile Helps Bring Fresh Sparkle to Astra

Every collaboration with The Little Optimist Trust is a joy and we always appreciate the opportunity to roll up our sleeves when Greg Bertish, Little Optimist founder, and his remarkable team ask for help. We recently leaned in to help with a much-needed upgrade to the bathroom facilities for the kids of the Montana Astra School ... just one of the many groups of at-risk children who experience the empowering touch of The Little Optimist.

Renovation project adds sparkle to school for learners with disabilities.

An extensive renovation project co-ordinated by Cape Town charity The Little Optimist Trust means that the learners at Montana’s Astra School for physically disabled children now have access to sparkling new bathroom facilities.

Thanks to a charity collaboration with Italtile and the Italtile Foundation, with the assistance of AMF Construction and Flyfleet as well as a Back a Buddy campaign, The Little Optimist Trust was able to completely revamp bathrooms in the school over a two-year period. The final stage of the project – which has a total value of R1-million – was revealed at a function last week.

Before and after pictures reveal the immense difference that the new fittings have made.

“In 2022 we renovated two of the main bathrooms in Astra’s dormitory where approximately 30-40 children live on a weekly and monthly basis. In 2023 we completed another bathroom, as well as the sick bay bathroom. All of these areas were gutted, and completely re-tiled with new basins and baths,” explained The Little Optimist Trust project manager Cara de Vogel.

The Little Optimist Trust, sponsored by Two Oceans Marine, Ullman Sails, Southern Wind and Italtile, is a Cape Town-based organisation focused on uplifting and supporting marginalised children, primarily through sailing therapy. The sailing therapy uses sailing to facilitate mental and physical healing and to promote general well-being and quality of life.

Astra School is situated in Montana, Cape Town and provides facilities for learners with special educational needs. It offers space for around 300 learners with different disabilities, with about 45 of whom stay in the hostel.

“This kindness his made a significant impact on the lives of our special kids. A special thanks for providing them with a safe, accessible, and dignified space to meet their personal care needs,” said principal Mabotha.

The learners' needs are the focus of nearly 85 staff members: teachers, psychologists, physiotherapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, administration staff, drivers, cleaners, house mothers and volunteers.

All tiles, baths and basins were donated by Italtile stores across the country – valuing over R340 000, while the Italtile Foundation donated funds towards the labour costs.

“Thank you Italtile and the Italtile Foundation and all the community and people who have helped us to restore dignity, by helping us build the most beautiful bathrooms and facilities for these fantastic little children,” added The Little Optimist founder Greg Bertish.

Over the years, Italtile has seen the restorative powers of a beautifully functional bathroom at work; and we believe access to safe, hygienic, comfortable bathroom facilities should be a basic human right. We are grateful to The Little Optimist Trust for the opportunity to expand the heart of our “Live Beautifully” ethos to embrace those less fortunate than ourselves and uphold their right to dignity.