The ABC For Life team consists of staff and volunteers that are all committed to making an impact in education – starting in the Hout Bay Valley.

Meet The Team

Val Toledo – Co-founder & Trustee 

About Val

Val began her career as a teacher in the 80’s, specializing in Remedial Education and Speech and Drama. She identified a need for second language training for immigrant refugees coming into South Africa and developed an English Bridging Programme. Val really enjoyed this area of teaching; however felt she needed experience in the business world. She went into sales, but was soon drawn back to the world of second language training and focused on empowering adults who had missed out on their schooling. In Johannesburg, Val developed an NQF-aligned education project and became a Corporate Training Specialist and Innovator of successful Affirmative Action career-pathing programmes and completed a City & Guilds Assessor qualification. After relocating to Cape Town in 1997, Val devised an innovative approach to company training by embracing the internal make-up of the employee to enhance a sense of accountability and nurture natural creative talent. Her experience and intensive research led Val into the realm of individual coaching and empowerment. She is the author of “The Upward Spiral,” a coaching tool for individuals published in 2010. Forever passionate and committed to bringing about change in education, Val co-founded ABC for Life in 2007. Dedicated mother of four beautiful children, Val remains a vibrant, hands-on manager of the programme that keeps reaching new heights in the Hout Bay valley.

Lola Kramer – Co-founder & Trustee

About Lola

Lola Kramer began her career as a teacher at Athlone Girls’ High and Northcliff High. After getting married, she travelled overseas for a while, returning to establish Lola Kramer properties in Hout Bay in the early 80s. ABC for Life began seven years ago when Lola reached out to one boy who she had found begging on the streets in front of her estate agency. She learnt that he was illiterate and had dropped out of school. She teamed up with Val Toledo in order to help this one child to become literate. Soon the number of children participating in the literacy programme grew to seven, and so ABC for Life was born. Lola’s passion for children and education finds expression in bringing literacy to children who had fallen by the wayside, equipping them with the skills to cope with their education and preventing them from dropping out of school. This passion remains a sustaining force for ABC for Life, which has grown from helping one street child to serving 300 children per year. Lola has been a practicing real estate agent in Hout Bay and Llandudno for the past 30 years, and Lola Kramer Properties, through some of its clients who have generously donated to ABC for Life, has been instrumental in helping to sustain and grow the organisation. Her agents also donate a percentage from the sale of each property to ABC for Life.

Gailyn Scarpa – English & Maths Teacher (Foundation Phase)

About Gailyn

Gailyn is a sports-loving peoples’ person and has lived in Hout Bay her whole life. She has always had a special place in her heart for the people who make up the Hout Bay community. In 2007 while she was working at a local school, Val and Lola approached her to tutor basic literacy at the Sentinel Primary School to a single learner and that was the start of ABC for Life. Today, Gailyn is the core teacher for the English Literacy Programme and trains volunteers in presenting the programme. As a young mother, Gailyn feels very fortunate to leave work everyday knowing what a difference she and the other teachers are making in the lives of Sentinel learners. Gailyn is a loving and talented teacher and her students cannot contain their excitement when it’s time to go to her class -you’ll often catch them running to get there.

Nicky Broxis – Board Member (Marketing and Fundraising Portfolio)

About Nicky

Born and educated in the UK, Nicky is now a permanent resident in South Africa and has a huge passion for the diverse communities of Hout Bay. Nicky has a business degree and joined the graduate training scheme at Procter and Gamble, working for them in both the UK and Ireland. Training and mentoring the teams was always her passion. Nicky completed her postgraduate certificate of education (PGCE) in London, teaching in schools in South West London. After moving to SA, Nicky ran her own team development and training business with clients in Johannesburg and Cape Town. She has two small children of her own. She has also helped many children with early literacy through the volunteer programme Wordworks. She loves education, nature, the African bush, and music (she still cries when she hears children sing!) There is nowhere more beautiful in the world than Hout Bay, and the more each individual can do to improve the lives of the children in our community, the more hopeful our future becomes. That is why she loves her job!

Nyaradzo Purazi- Project Coordinator ( Communication and Development).

About Nyara

She began her career as a Public  Educator on Gender Based Violence. Nyara has an Honors Degree in English and Communication Studies.Her working experience with major humanitarian organisations such as Musasa Project and Oxfam GB, has sharpened her perspective on primary schooling as a major ingredient in human development. She has been participating in Midlands State University (Zim) initiated drama groups to raise awareness and rally people to support childhood education. She strongly believes that education is the gateway to success.

Joe Schwach

Joe Schwach – Advisory Council: Fundraising Portfolio

About Joe

Joe is a retired economist and banker and worked for the UN and the German Government in the Island State of Western Samoa and several African States North of the Limpopo (Botswana, Swaziland, Kenya, Zambia) in the field of commercial and industrial policy, business and entrepreneurship development, institution building for SME’s, credit finance and banking. After he emigrated to South Africa he worked in Standard Bank and FNB as a Financial Consultant. He is doing fundraising for ABC for Life.

Evelyn Masemola

Evelyn Masemola – Advisory Council Portfolio: Sentinel Primary Governing Body Representative

About Evelyn

Born in Hangberg at a time when Hout Bay still had a rural feel to it, Evelyn has been active in the community for more than 50 years. She is experienced in childcare and believes that if you can read and write, no one can take advantage of you.She remembers the early days when Lola and Val started the ABC for Life programme – first with one child, then five and is proud to be part of an initiative that is expanding and doing its best to support the community. She would love to see a Hangberg where parents and children take hold of the opportunities before them – everyone can be a ‘somebody’!

Diana Seccombe

Diana Seccombe – Advisory Council Portfolio: Volunteer Programme 

About Diana

Diana was born in the UK and came to South Africa in 1995. In the UK she worked as a Primary School teacher, In South Africa she has occasionally worked as a substitute teacher in a Special school in the southern suburbs of Cape Town but mostly volunteered at the same school, teaching reading and maths. When her son left that school she decided to look for some voluntary work in Hout Bay and found ABC. She is enjoying being back in main stream Education and loving the children at Sentinel Primary. Diana heads up the ABC for Life Volunteer Programme at Sentinel Primary School. If you are a Sentinel Primary Parent, Community Member or Caring Member of the Public that would like to be trained in our ‘Love Of Reading’ Programme, please send your details to: dianaseccombe@gmail.com or contact her at Sentinel Primary School.

Nicolas Radcliffe

Nicolas Radcliffe (Lovelstzy) – Online Marketing and Media

About Nicolas

Nicolas lived most of his life in California and started working with computers before he learned how to read. He began doing online websites, communities and advertising during Secondary school and later graduated from the Google Engage Academy in South Africa.
His entire life he wanted to use his computer skills to contribute in some way to the lives of others in need and ABC For Life became that outlet. In 2013 Nicolas had began working on getting ABC for Life a Google Advertising Grant for $10,000 a month (Ads Only). Through his dedication he was appointed to the Google Grants Team for South Africa, helping charities get grants and finding agencies to manage their accounts. Before leaving South Africa, Nicolas and his wife Jasmine did video and photography for ABC For Life with future plans to return with a larger team for a documentary.
Today, the two of them established Lovelstzy Association, a startup NPO in Switzerland which currently supports ABC For Life through various income generating projects such as Golden Rainbow Villages. Along with this, Lovelstzy provides website support and continues to manage the Google Grant account, reaching audiences World Wide.
Email: nicolas@lovelstzy.com