Dr Peter Farrant, who works with The Waterberg Trust
Nursing Sister Grace Ismail has sent us more photographs of her work in the secondary schools of Vaalwater in the Limpopo Province of South Africa:
~Examination couch with linen covers~
‘We received a donation of examination couch which is helping a lot when learners are feeling unwell and can rest before the family takes them to the clinic.
~Grade 8 pupil with chronic illness under diet supervision~
‘We received disposable sanitary pads and bras, which were distributed to leaners of Meetsetshehla and Leseding Secondary Schools. This helped our girl learners a lot and gave them opportunity of attending classes without any worry of menstrual challenges.’
~Girls who received donated sanitary pads~
‘Health education was conducted to all grade 8 learners about hygiene and communicable diseases. These are learners from both Meetsetshehla and Leseding Secondary Schools.’ It was a form of welcome, educating them on the importance of hygiene and prevention of infections in schools. ‘The team from the local government clinic who are involved in youth and gender based programs (Love Life) were also present during the sessions as motivational speakers.’
~Learners participating during class health talk~
- ‘To reinforce early childhood development from primary school level and ensure the children are well-informed with various issues that will help them to cope in Secondary School.’
- ‘Meetings with stakeholders will continue as they also contribute to support our learners i.e. The Social Development, Local Government Clinic, Social workers, Police and the Community at large.’
- ‘To continue supporting girl learners with menstrual issues whenever we receive any donation of sanitary pads in order to keep them in school when menstruating.’
- ‘To ensure that all the learners with HIV are taking their treatment and adhering to the appointment as scheduled from the clinic.’
~Transformed learner witnessing to students~
- ‘To have our own library at the school where learners can utilize for study and do their homework. The library in our township is very small that learners are unable to fit in to search for relevant study information on internet and books because of congestion.’
~Women who prepare meals for more than 500 learners daily~
- ‘Learners have a project called UBUNTU whereby they collect unused clothes from teachers and then donate to the needy in the community, presenting clothes to needy children’
~Donation of clothes to the needy children in the community~
Two pupils represented the school in Provincial competition held in Polokwane City. One boy came 1st in the high jump.~Two who excelled in athletics~
Sister Grace says, ‘I still have more work to do with primary schools next term.’
If you would like to make a donation to support Sister Grace in her work, please click here
The Waterberg Trust instigated the role of School Nurse to minister to the young people and children of Vaalwater in the Waterberg, South Africa.
-A pupil with Sister Grace, using an examination couch donated by Dr Albert Poitier-
Nursing Sister Grace Ismail is the first school nurse assigned to state schools in the Limpopo Province. She is based at Meetsetshehla Secondary School in Vaalwater where she is in the ideal position to help the emerging generation face the HIV/Aids pandemic and cope with problems such as drug and alcohol abuse in the township of Leseding.
-Tree-planting with students-
‘500 learners were reached in class this term and offered different healthy topics ranging from hygiene, infection control in schools and HIV/TB prevention.’
-Sister Grace with the Community Workers programme-
-Sister Grace working with the Life Orientation Teacher at Leseding Secondary School-
Sister Grace has also been working with Life Orientation teachers and Community Workers at the schools, getting pupils keen on growing vegetables and planting trees. This encourages everyone to look to the future and care for their environment.
-Growing fresh vegetables-
‘Some learners have psychological trauma and can’t concentrate in class due to dysfunctional families and lack of support.‘ Others have nutritional needs.
Nurse Grace initiated a re-cycling project to generate funds to provide learners with sanitary products so they do not miss school. She gives counselling and careers guidance as well as providing First Aid.
While Dr Peter Farrant of the Northern Education Trust oversees the nursing work, The Waterberg Trust provide this NGO with a grant to pay for Sister Graces salary.
If you could make a donation or monthly contribution to support the school nurse’s life-changing work, please click here for details on TWT’s Donate Page.
-Sister Grace at work in schools in the Waterberg, Limpopo Province, South Africa-
We woke to the sound of birdsong and were soon up and off, walking to a site of historic interest that cannot be reached on horseback.
Being on foot gave members of the team a chance to study the insect life:
Some opted to reach the spot in the Landcruiser
which proved good for warthog-viewing.
The aim of the morning was to climb down the escarpment a little way
to find ancient bushmen paintings, preserved from weathering by overhanging rocks.
We learned about the original inhabitants of the Waterberg who called themselves the people of the eland, hunting with bows tipped with flint arrowheads.
After a quick brunch we drove into Vaalwater to visit Lethabo Kids Club in the township of Leseding.
A portion of the money raised by the riders went to help this outreach that supports little children in the community.
Lethabo Kids Club run a ‘Back to School’ project whereby families battling to kit out their children for school can apply for one item of uniform.
Most of them chose school shoes. These are fitted properly at a local shop who are able to give a discount as up to 160 children were brought along this year.
Riders were thanked and entertained with songs and dancing as more children arrived.
Some of the performances were excellent.
The riders also met Sister Grace who has begun working as a school nurse in Vaalwater.
The Waterberg Trust provide her salary and she has an office at Meetsetshesetla Secondary School. She gave a talk explaining all her job involves, including HIV/Aids prevention and awareness.
We then visited Kamatsogo, a community based sewing project, that has a workshop and craft shop in Vaalwater selling fine embroidery and beaded crafts.
It was great to learn about this not-for-profit enterprise involving local women.
While some riders returned to Johannesburg airport to catch their flight home, others were able to stay on for a last game drive and evening of celebration under the stars.
The Waterberg Trust would like to extend a big thank you to all the riders and their supporters for raising funds and awareness to uplift the people and place of the Waterberg.
In February 2018, The Waterberg Trust enabled 60 local teenagers from Leseding Secondary School in Vaalwater to attend a week’s residential course on environmental awareness at Lapalala Wilderness School in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.
The students were given a grounding in nature conservation and experienced the beauty and importance of South African wildlife.
This python was very much alive as was the chameleon that the young people also handled.
The idea was to take away fear of culturally reviled animals and teach students how to handle reptiles and creepy crawlies they might encounter. When they return to the township of Leseding, the teenagers are given a mentor who they can text if they find a snake in the house or hear of worrying wildlife issues.
Everyone enjoyed the obstacle course in the African bush and learnt how to use maps in a wilderness situation.
One day they donned PFD life-jackets to experience what it would be like to swim in the Palala River. It was a great way to cool off after a hot day in the African bush.
One exercise was to build a raft and get out on the water, which was an eye-opener for many. Mr Mashudu Makhokha, Director of Lapalala Wilderness School said, ‘Raft building is one of the activities that enhance teamwork, problem-solving and communication skills.’
The pupils also studied wildlife in the river system and learnt more about water. ‘They learnt to identify various kinds of aquatic animals – and the basics of how to use SASS (South African Scoring System) – which uses the presence/absence of a variety of freshwater macroinvertebrates to gauge the health of riverine ecosystem.’
Co-operation, team-building and leadership training were important parts of the course. ‘Students discovered that good teamwork is essential.’
However, recycling, eco-systems, the environment and the significance of South African wildlife was at the core of this inspirational week that ties in with the school curriculum and gives the teenagers a grounding for life.
You can see the students here on an interpretive hike that gave them an opportunity to learn basic ecology and gain a changed attitude towards biodiversity.
Could you help raise funds to enable more local children to go on this residential course? It only costs R380 per person a day (about £24) so is exceptionally good value. All food and dormitory accommodation is included. The Waterberg Trust like to provide the cost of transport from the township of Leseding, to ensure that no one is excluded for economic reasons.
Thanks go to those who took part in The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2017, who raised enough money for these 60 pupils and two of their teachers to enjoy this life-changing opportunity. Hopefully some of these young people will consider a career in nature conservation, tourism or teaching in the Waterberg.
Trustees of The Waterberg Trust took TWT Riders to Lapalala Wilderness School in January, when they enjoyed meeting the staff and learning about new projects.
You can read more about Lapalala Wilderness School here and watch this video made for their 30th Anniversary. It’s fun:
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Lapalala Wilderness School is immensely grateful for the assistance that The Waterberg Trust has given. This support has enabled 60 children and two adults to attend an environmental education course in 2018. We hope that with ongoing support from TWT, we can continue to bring young people to LWS and awaken in them a love for the environment and a commitment to conserving it.
The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2018 began with a talk on Save The Waterberg Rhino who will receive 50% of funds raised on the ride to increase security in the area.
While the rhino themselves were resting under a tree, the riders gathered to embark on an afternoon ride across Ant’s Nest game reserve to gain an understanding of the area.
The route was planned by Ant Baber, who would use his experience to lead the challenge ride over the next six days. Everyone had been in training, working on their fitness.
The horse managers at Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill had carefully chosen and prepared horses for each rider. They needed to be young and hardy enough to cope with the challenge.
Some riders had found vented hot-weather helmets and wore gloves to keep off the sun. Long-distance McClellen saddles were used with specialist neoprene numnas.
It was magical to be riding through the African bushveldt. Being high summer in South Africa, everything was green and the dams were filling after last year’s drought.
The riders soon came across a number of giraffe browsing on blooming acacia.
A mature adult male giraffe was happy to let us get fairly close.
As the horses normally graze out on the reserve, the wild animals are used to their presence.
We let the horses browse to reassure the wildlife that all was well.
The riders moved on to see zebra, wildebeest, warthog and a variety of antelope.
Ant Baber was also able to show us his breeding herd of Cape buffalo that tend to prefer thick bush.
This would normally be a rare sighting but the animals were peaceful and behaved naturally.
We then picked up speed and managed to cover quite a bit of ground.
It was not a hard ride but we learnt a great deal and got used to dodging thorn trees.
Riders ended up gathering at Ant Baber’s house to as the sun went down to learn more about Save The Waterberg Rhino and the anti-poaching initiatives currently in place.
Here they could observe a number of white rhino who arrived with a few warthog in tow.
It was an opportunity to met some of the armed security guards who watch over the rhino around the clock and are in contact with the South African police.
‘It was demanding but the greatest fun.’
Fifteen riders crossed seven different game reserves in six days, covering 187kms while learning about Save The Waterberg Rhino and visiting community projects that benefit young people in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.
~The Waterberg Trust Challenge Horse Ride 2018~
The ride began at Ant’s Nest game reserve where team members from the United Kingdom and Bermuda learnt about Save The Waterberg Rhino.
~Rhino walking up to riders gathered on the plains at Ant’s Nest~
The challenge ride was led by Ant Baber whose family have lived in the Waterberg for five generations. He has spent the last twenty-one years re-introducing wildlife to the area.
Today, white rhino, giraffe, buffalo, warthog, baboon, zebra, wildebeest, eland, kudu, nyala, impala, blesbok, a variety of other antelope can be spotted from horseback.
~TWT riders observing zebra on Ant’s Hill game reserve~
January proved a good time of year for there were many newborn animals.
We were able to observe breeding groups of rare species such as sable and roan antelope.
The riders helped to capture a sick eland so it could receive treatment from a game vet.
~A sick eland cow receiving veterinary treatment~
We learnt more about the area while traversing six other game reserves.
~TWT Riders crossing Lindani game reserve~
~Observing young giraffe from horseback on Lindani~
We saw golden wildebeest, red heartebeest, vervet monkeys, ostrich, black-backed jackal, bushbuck, oryx and waterbuck as well as species we’d seen previously.
~Reaching the Palala River on Jembisa game reserve~
Over the week riders were able to visit a number of charitable projects supported by The Waterberg Trust, which gave us a chance to meet local people.
~Discussing conservation issues with Clive Walker at the Living Museum~
~The Waterberg Trust Riders at Lapalala Wilderness School~
~The ‘Back to School’ project at Lethabo Kids Club in the township of Leseding~
~Nurse Grace telling TWT riders about her work in local schools~
~The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2018~