We are cycling again for The Waterberg Trust on Saturday 11th September 2021.
For this year’s ride we’ve decided to branch out and try something new: a glorious escapade along the beautiful country lanes of North Norfolk.
With careful planning, we have something for everyone. All road routes – an 82-miler, a new 47-miler Classic, and for those of us like Barry itching to get off the beaten tarmac, a stunning cross-country alternative final leg to complete the 82-miler Epic Route.
All routes start from Kings Lynn station for easy access for those coming from London, Cambridge or Norfolk. From there, the route follows inland from the coast, taking in such wonderful sights as Castle Rising, the parklands of Sandringham, trés chic Burnham Market, The Lord Nelson in Burnham Thorpe, and the grand avenues of Holkham, historic Walsingham before reaching Langham for some famous Burles hospitality for lunch. This is where the shorter Classic route ends.
For the keener cyclist, we head on through Holt and on to the expansive estate of Felbrigg Hall, past Cromer Hall, and down to the seaside town of Cromer for ice cream or crab sandwiches by the famous pier. For the final leg we follow unpaved tracks across the wooded cliff tops to reach Sheringham, up through Sheringham Park, re-joining the road by the North Norfolk steam railway at Weybourne Station and the final leg along back lanes to Langham. Alternatively, road-only cyclists can return to Langham via the coast road or the same route they came. All routes end at Meadow Cottage, Langham for the Riders’ and Supporters’ After Party.🥂🎈🥳
Please commit to the date and start training. And why not persuade your family and friends to come too, or organize a team? We’re hoping to exceed last year’s amazing fund-raising total of over £9,000, so the more the merrier. We can help with returning you and your bike back to the station or stay over in North Norfolk.
THANK YOU for helping to fund The Waterberg Trust and the projects we support.
Since the pandemic broke out, TWT has continued to employ a school nurse. Sister Grace oversees the delivery food parcels for needy families and ensures school attendance, carefully using funds to provide shoes and uniforms for those in extremis, along with Dignity Dreams washable sanitary pads for teenage girls. As well as offering medical help and advice, she instructs pupils tending their school vegetable garden, which was established with the help of EIMS, TWT’s corporate donor in South Africa.
This April, TWT enabled over 40 schoolchildren to attend a four-day environmental course where they learnt about indigenous plants and animals of the Waterberg. They gained an understanding of ecology and sense of stewardship, which is the most powerful form of conservation.
Dr Peter Farrant of the Northern Education Trust writes to say, “Grace’s support is more needed than ever.” This last term ended a week early. “You will see that there are many social and medical problems in this crazy time.”
SCHOOL REPORT FROM MAY – JUNE 2021
Schools reopened with all Corvid measures and protocols followed, but was interrupted for a week due to demonstrations by members of the community.
450 – 500 pupils are screened on daily basis Monday – Friday before entry into school premises. They attend school in a phased schedule of weekly rotation except for grade 12s who attend on daily basis to prepare for final exams.
Classrooms are sanitized regularly and learners are encouraged to observe social distance, regularly wash hands and to always wear masks when on school premises and when going home.
Feeding schemes continue to provide balance meals to learners on Monday – Friday to ensure they have eaten and be able to concentrate in class
Schools will re-open on 19th July 2021
Pressure of work for teachers has increased as they have to attend too many classes of the same grade due to reduced number of learners per class.
There is a shortage of teachers to meet the demands of reduced classes.
Five teachers from two primary Schools tested positive for Corvid and were allowed to stay home for quarantine.
Change of staff members affects learner performance as it takes time for them to get used to the changes.
Some learners are having difficulties coping. They are not attending school on daily basis and forget what has been taught to them.
Some learners have dropped out with no proper reason and are just staying at home.
Cyber bullying was noticed among learners. This has been stopped.
Undisciplined learners who want to interrupt classes and are found sitting outside without attending classes nor submitting assignments. (Parents were called to come for disciplinary hearing of such children.)
Learners don’t want wear masks within the school premises and are reminded regularly about the risks and preventive measures of the Corvid-19 pandemic.
The schools were forced to close a week earlier due to rising numbers of Corvid infection within the Waterberg district and Vaalwater town in Limpopo Province.
The Department of Health rolled out the vaccine campaign for all the teachers and elderly people.
Learners managed to complete their 2nd term tests and finished before schools were directed to close early.
Learners will access lessons through educational television programmes, radio and online learning. However, grade 12 will continue to attend extra classes.
The local Police Services, Party and religious leaders, and home based carers, who go door to door, are taking part in educating the community, encouraging people to take the pandemic seriously.
The club members prepared the vegetable garden and planted the seedlings. Garden work happens during break time to those who are free to work and also during practical related to life orientation and hospitality studies. “The students are eager to do the work. Every day, they remind me, “Lets’ go to the garden Sister Grace.”
You can read about establishing the school vegetable gardens in previous years here.
The gift of R100 or £20 enables Grace to buy enough different seedlings to fill the beds at one school and produce vegetables for the school feeding project and hospitality studies when students learn how to cook and serve meals.
STATISTICS: 150 CONSULTED individually
Medical issues – 20 (asthma, HIV, epilepsy, arthritis, dental and ear infections and eczema)
Social Problems – 30 (lack of family support, smoking, sexual assault, no clothes etc.)
Pregnant – 5 (2 fifteen years old from Meetshetshehla and 2 from Leseding schools)
Minor ailments – 10 (Menstrual issues, headaches, dizziness)
Sexually Transmitted Infections – 10 (gonorrhoea, balanitis and HIV)
Counselling – 30 (adherence, psychological and emotional, bereavement counselling to those who lost their guardians or family members, coping with pregnancy & nutrition)
Disciplinary action – 20 (not submitting class work, smoking on school premises and disrupting fellow learners)
Referrals for Contraceptives – 25 (learners commenced on contraceptives from the Clinic)
The numbers have been low as learners do not attend school regularly. I noticed a reduction in winter common colds due to limited number of learners per class.
NOTE: 1000 learners were reached in class for ongoing health-related topics linked to Life Orientation, Nutrition, Hygiene and STI/HIV (These were from grade 9 to 12 and were reached on different occasions as requested by their class teachers from 2secondary schools (Meetsetshehla and Leseding)
This ground-breaking scheme is financed by private donations to The Waterberg Trust. If you can help, please click here for different ways to make a donation.
Food parcels are being distributed in the Waterberg to support 113 needy people. Dr Peter Farrant says, “It is a busy time as temperatures are dropping significantly and winter is imposing herself!”
Sister Grace writes to say: I continued my routine home visits to identify new beneficiaries, checking up on previous ones and teaching basic health education to families and their children. This includes preventive measures to curtail the spread of the common cold, regular hand washing and the importance of wearing masks when in public places. I noticed that many people are ignorant about the need to wear masks when interacting with others.
-Sister Grace in the Waterberg-
Some beneficiaries have found employment while others have relocated to their families. Those with valid documentation were referred to the Social Development for continuity of food parcel support.
I managed to locate the Mozambican family who are related to the mentally disabled person who stands by the roadside near Build- It hardware shop. I referred this matter to the Social Worker and the Police Victim Support unit but it is taking too long to get him transferred to hospital for proper psychological assessment and treatment. A concerted effort is being made to take the man to the local district hospital using the SAPS. The plan is to manage his mental illness and provide shelter.
CHALLENGES: I came across 2 teenage mothers who had family disputes with their parents. They were left without food for days. I managed to conduct family meetings and distributed food parcels to the children. They are continuing to attend school. One girl is in grade 10 at Meetsethehla School, aged 17 years, the other in grade 12 at Lesideng High School, aged 18 years.
–We equip some learners without parents with school uniform–
Some Youths are under the influence of alcohol and substance abuse even at school which leads them to scholastic and learning failure and in the community to theft and gender-based violence.
I found it difficult to locate those needy families living in informal settlements as the addresses are not properly indicated, however those with phone contacts were able to be assisted.
Many foreign residents on chronic medication had poor adherence due to lack of understanding and the language barrier as they could not speak the local language nor English. I involved local caregivers who could translate and explain clearly.
– FAMILY MEMBERS COLLECT FOOD PARCELS ON BEHALF OF THEIR SICK RELATIVES –
PROGRESS: School children have access to meals on daily basis and are attending school.
Social Workers and religious groups help distribute food parcels to the elderly and vulnerable.
Community members have been offered temporary employment within the community and private sector which enables them to supply their families.
To continue reaching out to the vulnerable and provide needed support i.e. food parcels, nutritional supplements, clothing warm blankets and psychosocial counselling.
The need for shelter for the homeless was discussed at an Elders meeting. The plan is to improve our existing shelter and to manage it more effectively. It is important to ensure that it is used for limited periods per person, so that it is not occupied permanently, as is the case at present.
Dr Peter Farrant of the Northern Education Trust reports that Sister Grace is continuing to do good work at Meetsetshehla Secondary School in Vaalwater where she is based. She spends one day a week at Lesideng High School and visits Mokolo and Mahlasedi primary schools once a week.
Dr Farrant says, “Recently the need for school nurse counsellors has been recognised by the Government. Whether they introduce such appointments is to be seen. Thank you for your financial support for this position! There is no doubting Grace’s beneficial presence at all the schools.”
SCHOOL REPORT FROM FEBRUARY – APRIL 2021
Schools re-opened and learners have been attending in a phased manner without interruptions or serious issues. Sister Grace says, “All Corvid–19 protocols concerning prevention, with regular hand washing and social distancing are adhered to. Staff and learners sign a daily register after being screened and temperature recorded.” This is to detect abnormalities before anyone enters the school premises. About 400 learners are screened on daily basis.
“Classrooms and offices are sanitized regularly. Learners are well-informed about all the precautions and educated on general hygiene measures and risks of cross infection. When they present flu-like symptoms, they are thoroughly checked and screened to rule out common colds. If severe symptoms arise they are referred to the clinic for further management and treatment.”
The Matric results for two Secondary Schools:
Some passed to study at various universities and colleges, while others got only a normal pass. They were given chance to register and rewrite any subjects failed.
Meetsetshehla High School – (Total number of leaners 94. 63% passed)
Leseding High School – (Total number of learners 17. 94.1 % passed)
Increased number of teenage pregnancies with an unwillingness to report until discovered in their last trimester
Learners dropping out of school for no reason with some involved in domestic theft
Alcohol and drug abuse among the leaners with some caught with dagga and cigarettes on school premises
Fatigue due to pressure of school work as learners have to attend school for long hours in order to catch up on lost time. They have many assignments and homework to be completed
Learners who walk a distance to and from school are unable to do all assignments as they arrive home late, tired upon arrival
Over-aged learners who keep repeating in the same class are a bad influencer on newcomers, however disciplinary hearings were conducted
Absconding from school during break time without permission from the teacher.
The Department of Education appointed and employed educational teacher assistants and general workers to work for a short term period (3 months) in surrounding schools. This has helped a lot as the workers assist with cleaning school premises, packing and distributing books to learners, filing and photocopying.
E-learning programme based at Meetsetshehla High School run by Leseding Education Network, through the Northern Education Trust, will help those needing extra classes do their assignments, download study guides and be able to learn live experiments according to their curriculum. (Learners from surrounding schools are using this opportunity. They attend the classes at Meetsetshehla.)
Matriculants are attending school on a daily basis to ensure they are well prepared and able to catch up on studies
Teachers are willing to help learners who need special assistance in certain subjects
The feeding scheme continues to provide meals for learners on daily basis as a nutritional supplement, including fruit and vegetables to maintain a balanced diet.
ONE LEARNER IS ATTENDING ONGOING COUNSELING ON SUBSTANCE AND DRUG ABUSE AND ALSO HAS A COURT CASE, ACCUSED OF RAPE. HE’S IN GRADE 10 AM AND 19 YEARS OLD.
UNDISCIPLINED LEARNERS ATTEND DISCIPLINARY MEETINGS FROM THEIR TEACHER AND PARENTS ARE NOTIFIED.
THE GOOD NEWS:
We have started environmental activities with learners from grade 8 – 11, who have formed a club that will be involved in recycling and gardening. This will help them demonstrate life orientation tasks and projects. Members are grouped in sixes to limit overcrowding. Each group has been assigned to a specific task and will work closely with the teacher assistants on particular days. The garden has just been set up and will benefit learners with nutritional supplementation through the feeding scheme and Hospitality Studies.
THESE LEARNERS ARE MOZAMBICAN NATIONALS ARE ASSISTED WITH FOOD PARCELS. BOYS ALSO RECEIVED SCHOOL UNIFORM AND WINTER WEAR.
144 girls need washable sanitary pads. A message was sent to our kind sponsor Andrew Smith who is willing to transport a box from Pretoria.
If you would like to find out how to make a donation via The Waterberg Trust in the UK to enable Sister Grace to buy school uniform or washable sanitary packs, please click here.
Grade 8 learners were welcomed, orientation was given, with basic hygiene measures and menstrual issues explained to girls.
All grade 9 learners were educated on HIV/AIDS, TB, STIs, lifestyle diseases and ways of prevention and treatment. This is linked to Life Orientation studies.
Learners are helped with career guidance. This helps them to work hard in certain subjects to reach their dream careers.
I attended various meetings with stake-holders such as the Department of Social Development, the South African Police and community leaders. Issues of gender-based violence, teenage pregnancy, substance and alcohol abuse were discussed. The police are ready to work with the community and help to clamp down on those involved in dealing in illegal drugs, which leads to gender-based violence and domestic theft.
Social workers are involved in identifying social problems in the communities and help those who needed social support through counseling and providing basic needs like food and temporary shelter.
199 LEARNERS WERE CONSULTED INDIVIDUALLY. THE REST WERE ADDRESSED IN CLASSES
PREGNANT – 18 (10 Meetsetshehla & 8 from Leseding High Schools)
ASTHMATIC – 6 (1 Learner was admitted to hospital with a severe asthmatic attack but she’s much better)
COUNSELING – 30 (HIV, & STI, substance abuse, promiscuity, bereavement and family planning)
DISCIPLINARY ISSUES – 15 (Late-comers, improper uniform, unable to complete school work, and trouble-makers)
MINOR AILMENTS – 35 (Menstrual issues, headaches, dizziness, scabies, earache and tooth ache)
LEARNING PROBLEMS – 40 (20 from Meetsetshehla and 15 from Leseding High Schools)
CONTRACEPTIVE REFERRALS – 55 (teenage learners who are sexually active were referred to the local government clinic)
To encourage more learners to use the E-Learning programme, which will benefit and empower them through extra tutoring and learning
I will continue with health education and screening to all learners and encourage them on the importance of prevention of various illnesses.
I will continue to help leaners with life orientation topics related to health and nutrition.
Schools will be closed for a week from 23rd April and reopen on 3rd May 2021 . Those in grade 12 will continue to have extra lessons.
Schools are back in South Africa, functioning in such a way that the learners between grades 8 and 11 attend on alternate weeks. The grade 12 learners, nearing Matriculation, attend every day. However all pupils are allowed to attend for lunch during break, which helps with food provision.
We are currently supporting eighty individuals. Sister Grace is finding new problems with taverns opening and several families are in acute need.
ACTS OF MERCY REPORT MARCH 2021
Sister Grace reports, “I made routine home visits to identify those in need and followed up on those taking chronic medication to ensure they are adhering to treatment and are doing well. I found 3 patients who were very sick, living in an informal settlement without food or any source of income.” They are foreign nationals without documentation and have children to support. “I asked the local home-based carers to continue checking them and to help with treatment support on a daily basis. Food parcels were delivered by volunteers and others sent friends to collect on their behalf as they couldn’t reach the supermarket due to ill health.”
Poor living conditions with shortage of water, no electricity or sanitation
For no apparent reason, children are not attending school and just sit at home helping their parents with house chores
Increase in teenage pregnancy
Dysfunctional families who are alcoholics and fail to support their children as they spend money on alcohol
Job retrenchments due to Covid – 19 challenges in some sectors
Huge families unable to buy enough food to last for a month
Chronically ill patients living alone with no family to support them
Alcohol abuse and gender based violence increasing as taverns and bottle stores are re-opened
Foreign nationals have no access to any grants nor government subsidies
Some applications for help are not as desperate as the majority
Some needy cases
Two learners at Meetsetshehla School are from a refugee family (Mozambique) who require regular feeding and help. with clothing and school uniform. They need ongoing social support.
An 18 year-old boy from a needy family needs help with school uniform and clothing.
There is a homeless man on the main road of the town who is in need of placement in a place of safety and who also needs assessment in the district hospital. We have written to the Dept. Social Development about him.
A widow with no documentation.
A boy who lost his Mum and her partner due to alcohol poisoning is receiving bereavement counseling.
Many learners are back to school and have access to daily food supplements from the feeding scheme.
Short term employment of community members in surrounding schools will help them to earn income to support their families. The contract started from December 2020 – March 2021.
Some families found employment while others are receiving the temporary Social Relief Grants.
During home visits, Sister Grace educates families on the importance of regular hand-washing and the wearing of masks when in public places. She has checked on teenage moms and their babies well-being to ensure they are properly looked after as most of them are left at home with grannies.
Many thanks for the financial donations that went into Acts of Mercy fund and will benefit those in need. May God bless you all.Please click here for details of how you could make a donation.
Sister Grace writes to say, “I continued with routine assessment through home visits to reach out to those with social problems due to various issues and also monitor those who are chronically ill to ensure they are taking their medication as prescribed.” She was able to refer 5 families to the social development for application of ID documents and social grants for their children.
“I do co-ordinate with network partners who are involved in supporting the community with food distribution and other social relief. These are religious groups from various churches, party representatives and youth organizations.”
Job loss as a result of the country’s economic challenges due Covid-19 restrictions
Poor living conditions in informal settlements with no proper sanitation or irregular water supply.
Lack of knowledge and information about the Covid-19 pandemic and preventative measures, which leads to many not taking the proper precautions of wearing masks and regular hand wash. “I interviewed about 20 elderly people who were not wearing masks and they simply said they don’t see a reason to wear a mask when the virus is not known in the community and they have no proper information about the infection and risks. After proper explanation about ways of transmission and signs and symptoms they understood and willing to adhere to preventive measures.”
3 chronically ill foreign nationals who have no family support were referred to homebased carers for regular monitoring.
Food parcels and clothes were distributed to needy people
The Government extended the Social Relief Grant by three months to ensure those unemployed are able to provide food for their families during this Lockdown period.
A homeless man was assisted with a bus ticket to return back to Cape Town and was grateful for the assistance rendered.
DONATIONS of clothes, reusable sanitary towels, beanies and stationary from the Christians of St John’s Baptist Church at 24 Rivers came at the right time when schools reopened. These essentials were handed out to the less privileged learners and others in the community. Those who received the donated items and food parcels were grateful.
Sister Grace says, “I will continue to distribute food parcels as per scheduled during mid-month of March and emergency needs will be attended to immediately.” You can read about some of here home visits earlier in the year here.
“During home visits, I came across a teenage mom who had delivered a baby girl. She lives with her grandparents and her siblings as they lost their parents long ago. I examined the baby who looked healthy. The teenage mom wants to go back to school in her final grade and will leave her baby with her grandmother who will support baby from her pension and buy formula. The father to the baby is unknown. I brought baby clothes and a food parcel, counselling the mother about proper care of her baby and the risks of malnutrition if the baby is not properly fed.”
Limpopo Province has been marked as the Covid-19 pandemic epi-centre with daily numbers of rising infections. This was a result of people travelling from other Provinces and visitors from neighbouring countries for festive holidays.
We have seen a rise in gender-based violence and family disputes. A single mother had a fight with her parents and was chased out of the house with her two daughters. She had to seek shelter from friends who accommodated them temporarily.
The ban on selling alcohol and closing of taverns led to the abuse of homemade traditional beer and arrests for breaking Lockdown regulations.
Some people in the community do not wear masks and are walking the streets freely, which can be a risk to others.
One homeless man has no identity document and says he has no family. His case has been handed over to the Social Development Department.
Relationships break-up due to employment issues.
Retrenchments have affected many, leaving them stranded and unable to support their families.
Despite Lockdown restricted movements, Nursing Sister Grace managed to reach out to the Community, assessed those who needed food parcels and made a follow-up visits to previous beneficiaries to check if they can sustain their families. Some families had gone on holiday, others had found short term employment, while others had no source of income. She also came across two homeless men who needed food and clothing.
NOTE: VOLUNTEERS DELIVER FOOD PARCELS TO THE ELDERLY AND THOSE WHO ARE CHRONICALLY ILL AND CANNOT REACH THE SUPERMARKET.
Sister Grace says, “I take food parcels to a few of the beneficiaries to avoid overcrowding at the supermarket, as per Lockdown regulations. All beneficiaries are advised to follow the Covid-19 protocols of wearing masks whenever they come to receive their food parcels.
The beneficiaries were grateful and appreciative upon receiving food parcels.
A total of 55 people were aided. Some families received two parcel-packs as they have so many dependents.
Sister Grace says, “Besides the normal food parcels, I buy food supplements and additional nutrition for those who are chronically ill with HIV, diabetes and cancer to help them boost their immune system and to gain back strength i.e. liquid milk, future life and Morvite instant porridge.”
Thirty families in need of support in the Waterberg are being visited to ensure they have enough food and essential supplies. Education on basic hygiene measures is also offered. We are helping two child-headed families, some who are chronically ill, a man badly bitten by a dog, women with small children left with no means of support, an old woman with no ID card and many other needy cases.
120 individuals benefited in November and 94 in December 2020
TWT aims to support those who do not receive any social grant money, who are unemployed with no source of income or support, and are in urgent need of help. Those already on the Social Development system have been handed over to a social worker who has provided 18 families with food parcels donated by Shambala Game Reserve.
Nurse Grace works with Choppies supermarket and volunteers from St John’s Church who help to pack food parcels and deliver them to the elderly and those who can’t reach the supermarket due health issues.
We have been able to help those in crisis: thieves broke into one man’s house, stealing all his groceries whilst he was at a funeral. Another man had a fire at his house and needed clothes for his six children.
If you would like to make a donation to The Waterberg Trust Covid-19 Appeal to assist the needy, please click here.
Progress! School children attending school benefit from the feeding scheme program Those receiving grants are able to buy essential supplies for the family.
Some people are back at work while others now sell produce at the local market Job opportunities for local community members in various sectors are emerging.
SCHOOL UNIFORM was bought for a boy from a dysfunctional family who now has counseling.
Current Challenges: Increase in food prices. Some families arrive late or find it difficult to collect the food. Four children below the age of 10 are being neglected by their mother due alcohol. The issue has been handed over to social development for intervention. 5 families were abusing social grants. The cases were reported to the social worker. Some people are becoming dependent on food parcels and do not want to work.
House break-ins and stealing within the community is worrisome with young boys involved in stealing from their parents. Huge families are unable to feed their dependents. Re-opening of taverns contributes to insecurity and unnecessary expenditure. This results in many drunken people leaving no food for their family.
Poor living conditions in informal settlements with poor sanitation and no water. Youth hang around quiet streets where they smoke, drink alcohol and abuse substances. Cases of gender-based violence resulting in physical injury and assault needed to be reported to the Police station. One men was severely injured and needed to be taken to hospital. Teenage pregnancies remain a challenge.
Routine screening of all learners continues to take place before they enter school premises, when temperatures are checked and a register is signed. We ensure pupils are wearing proper uniform and are not carrying any items that can cause danger to other learners. This gives the school nurse an opportunity to identify learners who hide their pregnancy.
All staff members and any guests are also screened to ensure preventative measures are adhered to. Motivational speakers came from different political parties, the Department of Education, private companies and religious leaders who came to motivate learners during this hard time and to encourage them to study so they can achieve their dreams.
This was the last academic term for all schools in South Africa, with final examinations for grade 12’s. All other grades continued to attend in a phased manner, on weekly rotation, writing tests to enable them progress to the next grade.
Earlier in the year, Grade 12 learners in the Waterberg district attended a 10-day preparatory camp, run by the Department of Education, to prepare them for final examinations.
Schooling continued without interruptions or problems.
Grade 12’s wrote their examinations successfully.
Social media communication with parents from certain schools helps circulate info, using a WhatsApp group and a Facebook page.
Media learning (through TV and radio) helps learners to study whilst at home.
Extra classes were provided for learners to ensure they catch up from where they lacked with teachers willing to help.
Regular visits and monitoring of teachers by the Department of Education has ensured they are maintaining teaching standards.
The assistant agent Josias also helped the grade 12 on how to apply for University bursaries with the required information needed. This gave learners more courage and strength for the upcoming final examination.
CHALLENGES encountered from September to December 2020
Stress and anxiety cases are seen in learners due to pressure of studying for long hours together with a lot of schoolwork and assignments to be completed.
I encountered two cases of teenage girls attempting suicide, one due to family issues and the other in denial to her positive HIV test from the clinic. Counselling sessions were conducted and will continue during the one-week holiday through home visits.
Learners who are abusing drugs are finding it hard to cope with study as they are tired, feel weak and lack concentration.
Some over-age learners are stuck in the junior phase. e.g. A 21-year-old still in grade 8 continues to come to school without progressing. The grandmother who is her carer refuses to allow her to go to a special school. There are several in this category. I plan to address this matter with the School Governing Body (SGB) and School Management Team (SMT) .
Gender-based violence has increased among learners due to petty issues. Those found guilty go to a disciplinary hearing.
Some pregnant learners are hiding pregnancies until a late stage and the policy regarding return to school after delivery is not being followed. I plan to raise this matter with the SGB and SMT.
There is no internet access from the nursing office, therefore, I receive messages late and am unable to communicate with stakeholders on time when invited for meetings, other events or to send reports. The solution has been to provide monthly data.
Challenges due to Covid-19
Some learners remove their masks when in class and some forget them at home.
No physical activities for learners to keep them busy due to the Corvid restrictions e.g. Sports, gardening and athletics
Little ones from Primary Schools are not coping with wearing of masks and need close assistance.
Some learners are not coping with the phasing of school attendance programme, requiring them to stay at home during rotational schedules.
Some learners dropped out of school and are staying at home and some engaged in bad behavioural acts like drinking alcohol and substance abuse and domestic violence.
STATISTICS for September-October when 95 learners were consulted individually:
Medical issues: 25 (Asthmatic, Epilepsy, Dental Abscess, depression, and HIV, Poor Vision and ear infections)
Social Issues: 45 (family problems, lack of support, No food at home and no proper clothes, suicidal attempts, self-stigma, depression
Substance Abuse: 10 (5 from Meetsetshehla and 3 school-dropouts and 2 from Leseding High School)
Counselling: 15 (HIV & Stigma, dangers of substance abuse, teenage pregnancy & how to deal with depression)
Pregnant: 6 (3 Meetsetshehla Secondary School & 3 from Leseding High School)
STATISTICS for November-December when 100 learners were consulted individually:
Medical Issues: 25 (Herpes Zoster, HIV/STI, Dog bite, Asthma, Epilepsy, Visual Impairment)
Social Issues: 35 (Substance abuse, Family issues, no food at home, poor living conditions and lack of parental support)
Counselling: 25 (Depression, HIV Adherence and prevention, Contraception benefits and side effects, ways for substance and alcohol withdrawal Syndrome)
Pregnant: 8 (5 Meetsetshehla and 3 Leseding High Schools)
Minor Issues: 7 (Menstrual issues, Headaches and dizziness)
NOTE: During final term number of learners who consulted were less as they don’t come to school every day when writing exams, they are given time to study at home before writing.
To continue supporting learners who are faced with various challenges
We hope to cooperate with a local pastor to establish a drug rehabilitation centre in Vaalwater, which will benefit many youths who are struggling with addiction.
If you would like to sponsor school children by providing school shoes or washable sanitary pads, please click here
Since Covid-19 shut down the South African tourist industry in March, The Waterberg Trust has partnered with St John’s Church at 24 Rivers to make up food parcels for those needing help.
The project is overseen by NET’s nurse, Grace Ismail, who is sponsored by TWT. She has continued to meet with volunteers from the church, once a month, to purchase food from Chequers supermarket in Vaalwater, where it can be collected by the recipients.
By following up this distribution with home visits, Grace ensures that funds raised by The Waterberg Trust’s Covid-19 Appeal, and kind donations made locally, go to families who are struggling, including a teenage mum with twins and those unemployed due to Lockdown.
All previous beneficiaries have been visited. We found some have been able to return to work, others have received social relief grants, and some have been given retrenchment packages. New beneficiaries have been identified and assessed to confirm their status.
FOOD PARCEL DONATIONS:
Shambala Game Reserve, a local donor, requested a list of beneficiaries that needed food parcels. This list was given to social workers for re-assessment. Beneficiaries with no passport or South African identification book could not be assisted due to lack documentation. From the list of 20 beneficiaries, social workers distributed to 8 families. We assisted the rest.
The Department of Social Development does not provide food parcels for people without identification as they need to register beneficiaries in their system.
Some families abuse social grant money intended for buying food, using it for gambling and alcohol purchases instead.
Child-headed households without parents lack proper care and social support.
Dysfunctional families who neglect their children often provide little or no support.
Loss of employment and lack of income to support a family.
Gender-based violence continues in many households leading to physical injury and damage to property.
School children can be seen on the streets of the township at inappropriate times. Some abuse alcohol and drugs instead of studying at home.
Some beneficiaries returned to work, but did not notify us as they still want to receive food parcels. This is why reassessment of each family needs to be conducted regularly.
Stakeholders have been helpful in supporting the community with food, clothing and shelter for the less privileged. These include the Social Development Services, private organizations (eg Shambala Game Reserve), individuals and religious or faith-based groups within the community. This is encouraging as we can work together.
Schools have reopened and many learners have access to food provided by the school’s feeding scheme programme to ensure pupils get a meal and are able to concentrate in class.
We will continue to distribute food parcels from the supermarket as it is convenient and a central point for beneficiaries.
We will continue liaising with stakeholders to avoid duplication of food parcel distribution.
We will continue to visit homes and families as required.