Sister Grace’s support work in schools of the Waterberg needed more than ever

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.”

A MATRIC LEARNER WITHOUT PARENTS HAS BEEN SUPPORTED WITH MATRIC UNIFORM

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

Leaners wearing masks and winter clothing

CHALLENGES:

Staff:

  • 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.

Learners:

  • 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.
Students working in the veggie garden at Meetsetshehla Secondary School in the Waterberg

 PROGRESS:

  • 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.
Sister Grace showing learners how to prepare veggie beds and plant seeds in a secondary school garden kindly donated by TWT supporters

ENVIRONMENTAL:

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.

“We planted beetroot, onion and lettuce and hope to plant more spinach and tomatoes when schools reopen”

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 2 secondary 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.

Very smart new school uniform for the Grade 12s taking Matric

1 thought on “Sister Grace’s support work in schools of the Waterberg needed more than ever

  1. There is some fantastic work going on here. I think the Trust should be really proud of the results of its efforts. And what a wonderful asset Sister Grace is; an incredible person.

    Like

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