Thanks to our generous supporters, emergency food parcel distribution in the Waterberg has continued every month. Nurse Grace has conducted an assessment on how this is going, conducting home visits to beneficiaries. These are her photos and finding for the month of July 2020. We will be able to provide an update for activities in August soon.
Some recipients have managed to find a source of income or work and received a UIF payment to enable them to buy groceries for their family. Others still have no source of income or only work on certain days of the week when they are paid according to the hours worked. New beneficiaries have been identified including teenage mothers who depend on the child social grant.
Kind donations were received in the form of clothes, sanitary pads and bedding, for which acknowledgements and thank you messages have been sent. These came from individuals, St John’s church members and The Fold children’s home. Those in need were grateful.
This enabled bedding and kitchen utensils were donated to a homeless, elderly man who has no family and no known identity.
Knitted blankets were also distributed thanks to kind donated wool for the knitting club ladies.
CHALLENGES faced in the township of Leseding:
People spend money on alcohol instead of buying food for their families.
School children roaming the streets – some get involved in crime and physical violence.
Child-headed homes with no parents to guide nor provide.
Patients with poor adherence due to lack of food and family support.
Foreign nationals with no identity nor family.
An expectancy of receiving food parcels regardless of employment.
However, many needy adults and children are benefiting enormously. More food parcels will be purchased when new list of beneficiaries is ready. If you wold like to make a donation to help provide for the poor, please click here.
After two months of stringent lockdown, due to the Corvid-19 pandemic, schools in the Waterberg reopened on 6th June 2020 in a phased way, starting with grade 12 and 7, followed by grades 11 and 9. Other grades started on 10th August.
Both primary and secondary schools were required to meet operating standards to ensure safety. This involved checking Personal Protective Equipment was in place for both teachers and learners and making sure the school environment and set up of classrooms were able to accommodate a certain number of students.
Teachers made plans to rotate lessons depending on subjects. Each classroom holds 20 students and is sanitised regularly with social distancing observed. Each student received 2 washable face-masks.
SCREENING AND SANITIZING
Temperatures are taken on daily basis and a register is signed for staff and all students. Screening for Corvid-19 symptoms and a questionnaire is completed every 2 weeks to ensure all learners are checked and those with ‘flu like symptoms are referred to the clinic for help and further assessment.
Orientation is provided for all learners on how they should behave during class. They are advised to take precautions at all times i.e. regular hand sanitizing, proper use of masks, and observing social distance at all times.
Some schools were not ready as they had poor sanitation, no water and Personal Protective Equipment was not delivered on time.
Students not adhering to Corvid-19 precaution measures i.e. taking off masks, sitting in groups without social distance.
Primary School students find it difficult to wear masks for long and some lose them.
Absenteeism led to poor attendance. Others chose to learn at home using online lessons.
Vulnerable students who benefited from the feeding scheme were not able to have daily meals when phasing out excluded certain grades to avoid overcrowding.
Students not yet back at school get bored being at home. Some roam the streets engaging in bad behaviour like smoking, stealing alcohol and substance abuse.
Learning continued well with all necessary protocols and time for teaching was extended to allow learners to catch up.
Mobile toilets were provided for surrounding schools which had poor sanitation.
Feeding scheme continue to provide meals for students.
Regular monitoring of schools by parents, the School Governing body (SGB) and Department of Education officials ensures students and staff are well protected.
MORE THAN 1000 STUDENTS WERE SCREENED – 360 FROM PRIMARY SCHOOLS AND 640 FROM MEETSHETSELHA AND LESEDING SECONDARY SCHOOLS. SCREENING STATISTICS ARE CAPTURED AND SENT TO THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION CIRCUIT OFFICE FOR RECORD KEEPING AND REPORTING.
~Mobile toilets for schools~
Total number of students who came for consultation – 100
Medical issues – 15 (Depression, HIV, Pre-eclampsia in pregnancy, Asthma, Urinary tract Infection, Bilharzia, dental abscess, conjunctivitis and eczema)
Social Matters – 50 (luck of food, dysfunctional families, poor living conditions, gender- based violence, alcohol and substance abuse)
Minor ailments – 17 (headaches, menstrual pain, allergy, soft tissue injury, fatigue, dizziness and nausea)
Pregnant – 12 (4 Meetshetshehla School, 6 Leseding and 2 from Mahlasedi primary school)
To continue supporting those learners who are at home with study guides using television, radio broadcasting and a WhatsApp group for those who have phones.
Vulnerable students who benefit from the feeding scheme will receive weekly food parcels to ensure they have a meal during lockdown. Arrangements will be put in place for collection time and days.
Screening will continue for those attending school and those at home whenever the need arises or during home visits.
Psychological and emotional counselling will be provided for students as many are stressed due to change of curriculum and how to cope with the pandemic i.e. some are scared, feel unsafe or exhausted due to extended learning periods.
E-learning will benefit many kids as they will access whatever subjects they are attending using the app.
Phasing out of attending schools for certain grades will continue and more students will be able to return to school to catch up.
Schools are closed for two weeks and will re-open from 3rd and 10th August 2020
The rest of the students return from 24th August when winter is over but this depends on how stable the number of infection rate is.
Since the rural population of the Waterberg in the Limpopo Province of South Africa relies heavily on tourism, many people have been suffering from lack of income during Lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The Waterberg Trust has launched a Covid-19 Emergency Appeal to raise funds to provide those in extremis with basic food so they can feed their dependents.
TWT has partnered with the Church of St John the Baptist who have been raising funds locally and providing volunteers to deliver nutritious food parcels consisting of 10 Kg Mealie meal – the staple carbohydrate, 2 Kg sugar, tins of fish in tomato sauce, tins of baked beans, 2 litres cooking oil, 7 Kg potatoes, 1 Kg packet of powdered milk, 250g teabags and packets of Koro Krunch. The plan was to include 2kgs of flour, but it was out of stock, so a bottle of mayonnaise was added instead.
In June 2020, we have been able to do the same again but, with winter pressing in, we need more funds to keep going. No one in the area has contracted Covid-19 but food security is an issue and the recipients and deeply grateful:
“Can’t thank you enough for what you have done.” Karabo
“Thank you for the food parcel.” Priscilla
“Thank you for always remembering me at this difficult time.” Lizzy
Nurse Grace who is managing the project reports:
ACTS OF MERCY REPORT FOR JUNE 2020
Follow-up home visits were conducted to those who received food parcels to check if there is any income or job opportunities for them. Some had returned to work and some were doing business, whilst some are still struggling to get income and support their families.
New families have been identified and added to the beneficiary list. Social development also provided a list for those in urgent need of food parcels. School children in certain grades are back to school and are able to have food from the feeding scheme program, and those at home at home continued to study through television and radio broadcasting lessons.
Many families are still struggling to feed their families due to low income
Jobs may be lost and lead to increased unemployment
Alcohol and drug abuse has risen, leading to gender based violence
Increase in teenage pregnancy and school dropouts during lockdown
Everyone in the community wants to receive free food parcels even though they don’t qualify.
Some people still walk around without wearing masks
Some small businesses were allowed to reopen, generating income to support their families, others found new jobs and surrounding Schools reopened after meeting the required standards to ensure learners and staff are protected from contracting the Corvid-19 virus.
School children are able to have a meal at school and be able to study longer to catch up on their studies.
Food parcels were distributed to the vulnerable families including foreign nationals.
TOTAL NUMBER OF HOMES VISITED 75
OF WHICH 40 WERE FOLLOW-UP AND 35 ARE NEW BENEFICIARIES
Food parcels – 34 distributed: 20 identified by social development and 14 assessed during home visits
Clothes donation – 20 people (children & adults)
Counselling – 15 (adherence to chronic treatment, gender- based violence, basic hygiene measures at home, alcohol withdrawal syndrome and coping techniques due to job insecurity and no income)
Teenage pregnancy – 12 teen moms from different schools both primary and secondary
Referrals – 28 (application for birth certificates, ID documents and social relief grants)
To continue working with the Social Development Services as they have a database for those who are in urgent need of food parcels and social matters, other stakeholders such as churches and organizations.
Education and support to the community about Corvid 19 virus prevention and regular hygiene measures and importance of wearing masks will continue in the local language.
Food distribution to be conducted during mid-month unless there’s an emergency referral then it can be attended to immediately.
-Nurse Grace conducting a home visit in the township of Leseding-
During this Corvid-19 pandemic lockdown I dedicated my work in the community to educating families and school children about the Corvid 19 virus signs and symptoms as well as basic hygiene measures to ensure they understand ways of transmission and how they can prevent community infection. It was during that time that I also made home assessments and identified those families that needed support with food, clothes and proper shelter.
-Food parcel distribution to the unemployed during Lockdown-
School children were encouraged to study at home. I also helped those in Matric, through a WhatsApp group, to share ideas and questions for specific subjects. Others were encouraged to access learning through direct teaching from television and radio broadcasting programs at scheduled times. Counselling support service was provided to those facing serious issues and referrals were made when needed for further management.
Lack of food in many families due to no income.
Family disputes leading to physical injury i.e. fighting and verbal abuse
Increase in gender based violence
Loss of jobs and insecurity
Suicidal attempts in some learners due to emotional stress and poor family support
Increase in alcohol & substance abuse in some learners as they are not going to school
Increase in crime rates like house breaking, shops and schools
Undocumented foreign nationals who have no job nor proper income
-Nurse Grace helping the homeless in Vaalwater-
Through the kind donation of funds from The Waterberg Trust, Church of St John the Baptist at 24 Rivers, individual donors and fellow Christians who donated clothes, many people were blessed with food parcels, clothing, bedding and shelter. The criteria for food donation was: vulnerable families, school children and foreign nationals who could not afford to buy food. Thorough assessments, through home visits, were completed and a list drawn of beneficiaries. Some were referred by the Social Development and Lethabo Kids Club.
-Sorting TWT food parcels before distribution-
To continue reaching out to the vulnerable community and those in urgent need for support.
The next food parcel distribution will be the second week of June to avoid month-end overcrowding when people are busy getting their social grants and buying goods. During mid-month is when most families run out of food supplies. We will work with Department of Social Development who will help to distribute the food parcels. Those food parcels which are supplied by St John’s and TWT will be clearly marked and carries a personal note for the recipient.
We will continue to liaise with stake holders to avoid duplication of food distribution in the community i.e. Social Development Services staff, religious groups and other institutions which are involved in helping the community.
-Sorting donations of clothes and a bed-
Total number of people visited and assessed 150 during Lockdown
Food parcels – 75 (TWT funded 40 – St John’s Church and local individuals funded 35)
Clothing parcels – 30
Providing shelter – 2
Counselling – 10 (Gender Based Violence, Sexual abuse, suicide attempts & fighting)
Referrals – 13 (Application for birth & ID certificates, Social grants and food parcel application)
Treatment support – 20 learners reached and assisted to collect medication from clinic and needed adherence counselling.
The above duty commitment was made possible because of the support received from donors, fellow Christians and individuals.
May God greatly bless you for supporting our community during this challenging time.
ACKNNOWLEDGEMENT MESSAGES FROM SOME OF THE BENEFICIARIES THAT RECEIVED FOOD PARCELS:
‘On behalf of my family I would like to say thanks to St John’s and The Waterberg Trust, the donors and supporters. May the almighty Lord bless them, thanks –’ Emmy Banda
‘Thank you very much you are really God sent’ – Lisa Mofokeng
‘Thank you for the food parcel we appreciate your help Sister Grace’ – Dikeledi Mokoena
‘God knows your heart’ – Julia Ntomane
‘I don’t know what to say but only God will bless you more’ – Maria Nel
Report compiled by: Grace Ismail. Note: The people who appeared on the photos gave consent and agreed that their pictures can be used and shared with sponsors.
Thanks to kind donors in the UK, The Waterberg Trust has been able to send enough funds for a second allocation of food parcels but we winter has set in and we don’t know how long the emergency will last. Schools have gone back but tourism, which is the main source of employment in the district, remains shut down.
Schools in South Africa re-opened today, bringing a number of challenges in the light of Covid-19.
Nurse Grace has written to say, “I have been busy preparing schools, to ensure classrooms are cleaned and sanitised, also to plan the screening area for learners.” Masks are obligatory for all – by law.
Ever since schools in South Africa closed in March due to shielding, Sister Grace has been helping pupils with their studies at home. “I am attending to issues and challenges presented by learners. I have been in contact with the social development services to seek help for problems in the community.”
-Home schooling in the Waterberg –
Thanks to over fifty kind donors in the UK, who responded to The Waterberg Trust Covid-19 emergency appeal, Grace has been co-coordinating the procurement and distribution of food parcels to the needy, working with volunteers from St John’s Church ‘Acts of Mercy’ initiative. You can read more about this here.
-Nurse Grace purchasing groceries for food parcel donation-
Grace writes: “The next purchase will second week of June.” If you would like to help with the purchase of food parcels by making a donation, however small, please click here for The Waterberg Trust’s Justgiving site or here to send a cheque.
Winter is on its way, with clear sunny days but temperatures dropping radically at night. “I have been handling clothes to the community which are donated by Horizon and Bulls Eye”. She has also been distributing knitted blankets. “My targets are school children and vulnerable elderly.”
Grace has now returned to work in the schools of the Waterberg, including Meetsetshehla Secondary School, where she is based. If you would like to read more about her work, please click here.
Thanks to over fifty individuals in the UK who made personal donations to The Waterberg Trust’s Corvid-19 emergency appeal, food parcels have been distributed to people in need in the Vaalwater community.
The original idea was to support those who lost their jobs due to Lockdown, which virtually closed the tourism in South Africa overnight. In practice, Nurse Grace drew up a list of about 40 families / persons in need.
A local supermarket, which has very good prices, packed the food into bundles. Volunteers from St John’s Church supervised distribution directly from the shop to the grantees, who collected their food parcels to avoid transport costs. The volunteers checked the contents of each food parcel and recorded receipts from the correct grantee. Each package contained a message of encouragement in the local language.
All funds are carefully monitored by TWT’s local partner, St John’s Church.
Nurse Grace and volunteers from St John’s Church purchasing the food
Thanks to careful planning and the support of Choppies Supermarket, each food parcel contained a decent amount of nutritious groceries for the equivalent of about £27.
10 Kg Mealie meal – the staple carbohydrate
2 Kg Rice
2 Kg Sugar
4 Tins of fish in tomato sauce
4 Tins of baked beans
2 litres Cooking oil
3 packets of soup (used as a sauce with mealie meal)
7 Kg potatoes
1 Kg packet of powdered milk
1 bottle dish washing liquid
The plan was to include 2kgs of flour, but it was out of stock, so nurse Grace added a bottle of mayonnaise instead.
-Some of the many people who received food parcels in May 2020-
On daily basis, I am able to see 20 learners as well as those who are receiving ongoing counselling and check-ups.
Daily routine work at each school:
Learners with health related issues come to see me for consultation and examination. For emergencies/priorities e.g. those with fever, epileptic seizures, physical injuries, breathing difficulties, and flu-like illnesses are seen immediately. These may require referral to the clinic or private doctor. During the day I am available to see urgent cases which teachers are unable to deal with.
Life style matters such as diabetes, HIV infection, pregnancy, reproductive health issues i.e. menstrual issues, sexual transmitted diseases, mental and emotional issues including depression/psychosis are reported to me on daily basis.
I counsel and follow up on these learners on regular basis as appropriate and some of them are referred to the clinic or private doctor for further management. I also do home visits as needed and as time permits. I keep confidential records for each learner and record my daily activities.
I usually deal with a number of social issues, making referrals to relevant stakeholders. Problems include:
Drug and alcohol use and abuse including tobacco smoking, cannabis, nyaope and glue
Hunger and inadequate food at home
Poor living conditions
Individual rights abuse e.g. no place to study, drunken family members disrupting the house
Physical abuse e.g. beating and causing injury to learners
My daily schedule continues as agreed with management at the beginning of school programme. I report and sign from Meetsetshehla School every morning, then visit other schools.
Monday – Meetsetshehla High School
Tuesday & Wednesday – Leseding High School
Thursday- Mokolo and Mahlasedi Primary Schools
Friday- Meetsetshehla High School until 13.30pm, thereafter I do home visits to identified learners.
STATISTICS – Estimated from my records calculated from daily visits and follow up interventions:
Pregnant – 12 (four at Meetshtshehla, six at Leseding High School and two 15 year olds from Mahlasedi Primary) were counselled on average once a week after 30 weeks gestation approximately 108 visits
Medical Issues – 54 visits (Some learners were seen more than once)
Minor ailments –135 visits
Counselling– 63 sessions
Referrals – 25 (girls for contraceptives from the local government clinic)
Home Visits – 20
Health Education – 72 Learners from Leseding High School and 78 from Mokolo Primary School
Pregnant learners are monitored on regular basis to make sure they are attending antenatal clinic. Those under the influence of alcohol and drug abuse continue with counselling, which includes their parents and caregivers at home.
Liaison with the local government clinic is needed to follow up on those who are on chronic medication and to monitor adherence and progress by checking their files.
School programme services for Meetshetshehla Secondary School were affected by the pending appointment of a new Principal.
Primary schools are still overcrowded and teachers have difficulty ensuring every learner has been assisted and understands their topics.
Interruptions of studies due to unplanned meetings and workshops where learners are returned home without being taught.
The support for school programme has been acknowledged and welcomed by the surrounding schools and the community, which makes work easier.
Mokolo and Mahlasedi primary schools have managed to set up vegetable gardens with the aim of supplementing nutrition to the learners.
The Department of Education within the Waterberg district regularly visit the Schools to ensure teachers are doing their job as per requirement and to monitor those who are absent for no reason.
The community is involved with recycling and aware about the importance of keeping our town clean whilst they earn extra income from selling the recyclable materials. The environmental club held an awareness campaign to encourage every household to take part with green project by planting trees or to set up a vegetable garden
Learners know where to go to access contraceptives and STI screening i.e. the clinic
We had a meeting with the mayor, and different party leaders to discuss about issues of poor academic performance and standards of Meetsetshehla Secondary School. A follow up meeting by the mayor and party leaders was held on 13th January 2020.
The Social Development Services to discuss about ways of issuing food parcels to the vulnerable learners and their families.
The Victim Support unit based at the local police station and discussed ways to clamp down illegal drug dealers who supply illicit substances to youth in our community, issues of gender based violence and how we can prevent illegal weapons to enter on school premises.
Parents meeting held at the community hall to ensure they get involved in assisting their children to take education seriously and to avoid roaming on streets at awkward hours for safety reasons.
To extend school visits to Mothlakamotala High School at least twice per month as it is located 20km away from the feeder schools along the main road by request from parents. Learners who attend at this school come from our surrounding community and would access the services provided by the school nurse.
To ensure more teenage girls access contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancies i.e. those who are sexually active.
To educate primary school adolescents about sexual heath and reproductive issues before they reach high school
Monitoring and making follow ups on all babies delivered, those who are under alcohol & drug abuse to continue home visits involving parents.
Every home must understand the importance of nutrition and how to prevent malnutrition in babies that are left at home by learners i.e. to have proper information about balanced diet meals.
Community awareness education about gender based violence, HIV/TB, Alcohol & drug abuse, reproductive and sexuality health and where to go for help and support. Awareness can be raised during parents meetings and by inviting different stake holders like Social Workers, Party representatives, religious leaders and youth representatives to speak to the school community.
The Green School Program continues. I have been able to set up and maintain a primary school environmental club at Mokolo Primary School. The aim is to expose learners to gardening, wildlife and the importance of conservation. They also received a donation of shade netting, poles, garden tools, compost and seedlings from Environmental Impact Management Services (EIMS). To read more about this, please click here.
Acknowledgement letters were sent to those who continuously donate assorted items to schools i.e. Clothes, garden tools, educational trips, trees and vegetable seedlings: EIMS, THE FOLD CHILDREN’S HOME, HORIZON HORSE BACK, WATERBERG BIOSPHERE RESERVE and SAVE THE WATERBERG RHINO
Mokolo primary school has 2,000 learners. Many are orphans and come to school hungry. The garden supplies additional nutrition to the feeding scheme. Mr. Thipe is the teacher in charge for the vegetable garden and links it to his life skills subject. The newly formed environmental club members help to water and maintain the garden.
The Waterberg Trust has provided a life-saving defibrillator and First Aid equipment for use in emergencies in the Waterberg region of the Limpopo Province.
“The defibrillator is kept with Paul Dorfling, a qualified person who also has a fully equipped First Aid bag and SIG response trailer. The defibrillator has been going to every training exercise so all the First Aiders are familiar with it. “The battery and pads on the machine are about to expire and replacing them will cost about R5 000.”
The other two First Aid bags are kept with First Responders who have the proper training. They are split between the Melkrivier and Vaalwater areas to be available for any situation in the Waterberg.
The most recent use of the First Aid kits was at an accident on the main road to Modimolle. A TWT Trustee explained, “This was a horrid road accident just outside Vaalwater involving a tractor and car at night. The woman driving the car died on impact but her husband was treated on the scene by SIG for the couple of hours that it took before an ambulance got there.” SIG were the only people with First Aid training able to get to the scene. “There is now only one doctor in Vaalwater – Dr van Jaarsveld and she has not been here over the Christmas period.”
The First Responder from SIG said, “I found the bag helpful… The main items needed are gauze, plasters (different sizes and strips), sterri-strips for stitching, wound dressings, bandages, tourniquets and gloves.”
If you would like to make a donations to re-fill these First Aid bags refilled and provide new batteries for the defibrillator, please click here.
“My school performance or results during term one were so bad, that I was so scared to show my parents my school progress report! I never thought I will manage to pass grade 11. My friend invited me to the Soul Buddy study club, at first I dint understand what’s really happening here! But after few months I then realized that this is important place for me. I never liked working in a group or study is a group.
This programme has taught me that if people can work together we will achieve more, my school marks has improved so well. My self-esteem and confidence has also improved. I love this initiative and I will cherish every moment and opportunity I receive from this programme. Yours: Lerato….
Waterberg Welfare Society Educational Support Progress Report, July–Sept 2019
To provide extra tutorial studies in Mathematics, Physical Science, English, Technology, Life Science, Geography and Agricultural Science.
To equip learners with broadened solving skills, which will enable them to get better exam results.
To motivate learners, so that they are able to take up challenging subjects and fill the future employment gap.
Knowledge and learning in a safe, nurturing environment.
Improvement of cooperation among teachers and learners.
Improvement of digital (ICT) skills and learning strategies.
Social skills, improvement in cooperation and greater wish for cooperation with peers at home, promoting adult-child communication.
How many people benefited from this project in this reporting months?
A total of 80 participants was reached during the reporting period:
40 learners who are in grade 8 (30 Females & 15 males)
14 learners who are in grade 10 ( 6 Females & 4 Females
24 learners who are in grade 11 (22 females & 2 Males)
2 learners who are in grade 12 ( 1 Female & 1 Males)
What are the major challenges and how are they overcome?
Lack of parental support. We noticed learners are under immense pressure. One of the key reasons they are going through hardship is that some of their parents are comparing them with other children. Instead of being supportive, they expect them to perform very well. Families were identified and official visits were made to engage with parents or caregivers and come up with the best solution to support their children’s education. Feedback from the visits is very positive and children were allowed to attend additional extra study sessions.
Bullying and peer pressure. Learners have developed unnecessary competitiveness over the type of phone they carry, the school they attend and the school marks they get each term. This has resulted in some dropping out of the study club, however through ongoing focus group sessions with the affected groups we were able to address majority of the of their frustrations. We also went to the local high school to engage with their respective teachers. Extra mural activities such as fun runs, movies clubs and fitness activities were introduced as a way of teaching learners the importance of teamwork and the risks of bullying and negative peer pressure.
Hot weather contributed negatively to the attendance of learners and makes it difficult for the participants to focus. We have started engaging with parents and most support the idea of extending our operating hours prior to the final examinations.
Lack of teachers in high school. Some learners didn’t have class teachers in the 2nd school term. This had a negative impact on their school performance. Through support from TWT, our tutors will spend more time with such learners and provide additional support involving participants in the decision making process and providing learners with an opportunity to commit to additional sessions.
The impact of the project during the reporting period:
Improved social skills
Improved school grades
Improved self-esteem and confidence
What lessons were learnt during the implementation of the project?
Education is a societal issue. It requires all stakeholders, especially parents and caregivers, to work together.
Edutainment works well for learners. Making education fun motivates participants and give them a space to want to learn more.
A safe space for participants should always be maintained at all times, this enables them to share some of the frustrations they are encountering at school, in the community and at home.
Creating a congenial space for learning is critical. It allows participants to plan and sometimes co-facilitate their study sessions.
Peer pressure and bullying has a negative impact on other learners. We always to encourage learners to talk openly about such issues. Further support is required to help those affected.
If you would like to support this educational project,