“Flying classroom” gives hope

Austrian Airlines supports the South African iThemba elementary school in Cape Town

 “IThemba” means hope in Xhosa, the language originally spoken on the Cape Peninsula. iThemba is also the name given to the elementary school opened in Capricorn near Cape Town, South Africa in 2018, which offers room for 105 children in three classes. The help alliance, the aid organization of the Lufthansa Group, covered the construction costs for this public school. On the basis of its initial flight to Cape Town, Austrian Airlines also joined this charitable project and is now financing a “flying classroom” via donations in line with Erich Kästner’s children’s book. On the occasion of a visit paid to the school, CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech handed over a check for EUR 18,000 as well as presents for the school.

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Cape Town, South Africa

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“With our flight connection between Vienna and Cape Town, we also thought about establishing ties to the local community. Considering the fact that the school is growing, we quickly realized where our support would be meaningful”, von Hoensbroech explains. Before the first flight to South Africa took off, the iThemba pupils gave an Austrian Airlines Boeing 777 long-haul aircraft the name “Sibanye”. It is also a term used in Xhosa and means “We are one”.

Susanne French, help alliance project manager for iThemba and flight attendant (purser on long-haul flights) for Lufthansa, says: “The unemployment rate in Capricorn is 70%, and most of the people there are illiterate. The school enables us to give hope for a better future to children and their families.” And she quotes Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”