~Members of the Environment Club on a one day course at Lapalala Wilderness School~
The Environment Club, overseen by NET’s School Nurse Grace Ismail, visited both the Living Museum and Lapalala Wilderness School recently. To read more about this, and other conservation projects the school club is engaged in, please click here.
~ The rhino room at The Living Museum in the Waterberg ~
The Waterberg Trust has provided the Living Museum with information boards, tables and benches used by local pupils on school visits.
This month, Wilhelmina Loudon-Barnaart, board member of The Waterberg Trust, visited July Letsebe and Zach Sekhu at the Waterberg Welfare Society in Vaalwater. She enjoyed seeing around the after-school homework club, a learner support programme includes maths, English and computer studies. To read more about this, please click here.
~The learner support programme at WWS sponsored by The Waterberg Trust ~
If you would like to help The Waterberg Trust support conservation and educational projects in the Waterberg region of South Africa, please click here.
TWT recently visited the Waterberg Welfare Society’s homework club and were excited to receive a progress report.
To provide extra tuition in Mathematics, Physical Science, English, Technology, Life Science, Geography and Agricultural Science.
To equip learners with broader skills, which will enable them to do well in exams.
To motivate learners so they are able to take up challenging subjects and fill the employment gap in the future.
“I never understood the importance of computer training, I thought I know everything to do with technology, I open all my social pages, and always on social media and that made me to think that I am good in technology! But since I started the basic computer literacy program I realized that there is still much to learn, so I am so happy for being part of the study club, so keep up the good work.” Lesego.
Gaining knowledge and learning skills.
Improved cooperation between teachers and learners.
Improved digital (ICT) skills and better use of learning strategies.
Improved social skills and cooperation with peers, promoting adult–child communication.
~Tutors at the Waterberg Welfare Society Homework Club~
Progress in the implementation:
Pupils have shown growth and improvement in English presentations and reading.
They have learned how to best communicate with one another, giving others the necessary time and a chance to speak.
Tremendous progress has been made since the inception of the project. 50 learners (about 75% of the total) passed their first quarter school assessments and are highly motivated. Learners in Matric (grade 12) in 2018 passed their subjects and went on to tertiary education (Institutions of higher learning).
Once we get school reports for the 2nd quarter of 2019 we will have the opportunity to analyse and compare the first and second quarter school performance for all registered learners.
Overall, the learners have geared themselves towards academic achievement.
The programme has become a huge success in the community. 70% of our learners are exposed to basic computer literacy.
Learning aid/materials and stationary were purchased. All registered participants receive a daily nutritious snack. This has increased their contribution and commitments in the programme.
We have been able to incorporate learning whilst we play ball.
80 people have benefited from this project each month:
45 participants between the ages of 7 – 12 years old (30 girls & 15 boys)
35 participants between the ages of 13-18 years (22 girls & 13 boys)
What are the major challenges and how are they overcome?
The major challenge was lack of communication skills among participants (talking at each other, not giving each other a chance to speak, disrespecting one another etc.). We were able to overcome this by using a ball as a communication tool, each one speaking with a ball in their hand and giving one another a chance to speak. This helped the kids realise that it is a lot better to listen and understand rather than to talk at each other and that communicating is more than just speaking.
The secondary school participants are not able to use a computer and yet they are given lots of school research projects. We have introduced basic computer literacy sessions with participants from the primary phase. This has brought confidence, created skills and and understanding of basic research.
Learners tend to deviate from the normal time-table and try to focus on either what they expected or immediate tasks needed by their teachers. This means our planned activities change on an almost daily basis. The educator is forced to alter the plan to suit the learners’ needs. Sometimes the learners bring the subject matter, which is out of the plan for that day, and not part of the subjects mentioned for study. Monitoring of daily tasks becomes a problem. The educator moves around checking learners study programmes but sometimes this is a challenge. A discussion needs to be held with registered participants in order to come to a workable solution. It is always important to involve participants in decision making process.
The impact of the project during the reporting period:
Improved social skills of registered kids
Improved performance at schools
Improved self-esteem and confidence
“… made me to understand challenging topics in Physics like Mechanics, energy and in Mathematics. I can now solve problems in Geometry through the help of my Tutor. He has done a perfect job in sharpening many learning mind in Science Subjects. I also now have a career through the help of my Tutor. I appreciate the services given to me”. By Rebecca
What lessons were learnt during the implementation of the project?
Communication through various texts, writing, speaking, reading, visuals and drawing.
Promoting paired, shared and individual reading is critical, the culture of reading is key and this needs to be promoted at a household level.
Exposing participants in various career workshops/session at an early stages in critical.
A safe space for participants should always be maintained at all times, this enables them to share some of the frustrations they are encountering in school, the community and at home such as bullying, peer pressure and etc.
~Some members of the Waterberg Welfare Society’s ‘Soul Buddies’ homework club~
This year, The Waterberg Trust enabled 59 students and two teachers from Meetsetshehla Secondary School in Vaalwater to attend a week’s residential course at Lapalala Wilderness School in the Limpopo Province of South Africa about 3 hours due north of Pretoria.
The group travelled north into the Africa bush on a bus also funded by TWT so that no one was excluded by the cost of transport.
Since other pupils from Meetsetshehla had been on the environmental course on previous years, everyone was expectant, eager to grasp the opportunity to learn about ecology and nature conservation.
After a course on snakes and the value of all creatures in balanced eco-systems there was a module on plastic pollution and re-cycling. Everyone learned how they can make a difference and improve the environment, allowing wildlife to thrive.
Students donned life-jackets to examine aquatic organisms and try swimming in the Palala River, which runs in front of the eco-school.
This was a new experience for most and proved an opportunity to learn about physics.
Teamwork proved essential when constructing a raft and negotiating the river.
Leadership training has always been recognised as an important life-skill at Lapalala Wilderness. It will be interesting to see if any of these young people take up a career in wildlife conservation or management of natural resources.
Learners were set a number of different challenges during the course of the week.
There were a range of outdoor activities that tested pupils in a variety of ways.
The obstacle course in the African bush was enjoyed by one and all
including the teachers accompanying the teenagers who found themselves wearing many hats.
It proved an unforgettable, life-changing experience. To read more about previous visits to Laplala Wilderness School, funded by TWT and watch a short film, please click here.
If you would like to sponsor children of the Waterberg to go on a 5 day residential course at Lapalala Wilderness, please contact us using the comments blow or find details here.
School Nurse Grace Ismail of the Northern Education Trust, whose salary is provided by The Waterberg Trust, reported that pupils in the Waterberg were struggling to find the money to buy sanitary towels. In 2018, The Waterberg Trust were able to donate a number of disposable pads but a permanent solution needed to be found. Some girls were missing more than five days of lessons a month and their academic results were being effected.
After being a short meeting with the Headmaster, Verita Shikwambana of Dignity Dreams gave a talk on menstrual health to about ninety schoolgirls before introducing the concept of eco-friendly, washable sanitary pads.
Dignity Dreams manufacture multi-use pads that are designed to be washed in cold water with Sunlight soap, rinsed in salt water and dried in the sun. The packs of six are carefully made by hand and last four or five years. Lessons need no longer be missed. Girls gain in confidence and are free to achieve their potential in life.
Artist Susie Airy, who has raised funds for TWT by selling her paintings, helped to distribute one pack to each learner. ‘I wish my daughters could have heard such an interesting talk when they were at school,’ she said later. ‘It was wonderful to take part in this project.’
The girls were amazed to hear that the packs were theirs to keep and for them alone. Four weeks after this talk, Nurse Grace reported:
“I have received positive results from 75 girls who said the pads are working well without any problems…. many girls at Meetshetshela are no longer absent because of menstrual issues. Girls are also reading the book which Dignity Dreams left, entitled MY BODY #Noshame which talks about puberty, pre-menstrual syndrome, hygiene, period pain and exercises to relieve cramps during menstruation. The remaining learners from grade 10 to 12 will need 180 packs.”
Nurse Grace wants to see if the pads can be made locally. Dignity Dreams provide lessons for those keen to sew at home as a small business initiative and encourage tailors to sell to adults.
Very many thanks to Andrew Smith of Environmental Impact Management Services who sponsored 96 packs and drove the consignment up from Pretoria, along with the speaker. The Waterberg Trust was able to match his donation to provide a total of 210 packs so all the girls in Grades 8 and 9 could be equipped. The other state secondary school in the Waterberg also has girls who are also in need of sanitary pads and of course new girls arrive every year. Horizon Horseback Safaris have kindly given a donation of disposable pads to help keep the girls supplied in the short-term.
We noticed that Nurse Grace needs a hospital screen on wheels, so that she can conduct examinations in private. She also needs a new office chair or these old ones to be repaired. Is there anyone in Vaalwater who could help?
~White rhino, their horns micro-chipped and saturated in poison, are under 24-hour armed guard~
The Chairman of The Waterberg Trust reports, ‘Having just returned from the Waterberg, I can confirm that the The Waterberg Trust security container is being used by the Waterberg Security Initative at the Living Museum.’
~Some of the WSI rangers~
‘We met one of the guards there and saw how the container is used as a staging post for security patrols.’ These run through the night. This security container was bought with funds raised on The 2016 Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride.
~A patrol vehicle outside a security container purchased with funds raised by TWT riders~
As a result of funds raised on the The Waterberg Challenge Ride 2017 and a dinner held at Southill Park by kind invitation of the Whitbreads in November 2017, a significant grant was made to Save the Waterberg Rhino for the installation of LPR cameras to cover what is know as the Dorset/Palala/Melkrivier security cluster. This includes all the reserves traversed this Janaury on The 2019 Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride.
The cluster will be run by the Waterberg Security Initiative (WSI) who are responsible for utilising the sophisticated software that highlights any suspicious activity. It records evidence and prompts security patrols to apprehend potential criminals.
The increased level of security will not only help in the fight against rhino poaching but also combats other crime in the Waterberg.
~Substantial posts being planted on which LPR cameras are mounted in the Waterberg~
The License Plate Recognition cameras purchased with a substantial grant from The Waterberg Trust are all installed and are live. They use highly sophisticated technology, operating 24/7 to monitor vehicles in the area. Cameras in the neighbouring Greater Marakele Cluster are also being installed and should be live next week, thanks to a grant from TUSK.
Since The Waterberg Trust is a UK registered charity we can apply for grants in the UK, accept CAF cheques and add Gift Aid to maximise donations to Save The Waterberg Rhino. If you would like to help financially, please click here.
The environmental consulting company Environmental Impact Management Services (EIMS), based in Gauteng, has made the astonishing gift of a vegetable garden to aid Nurse Grace in her work teaching life orientation skills at Meetsetshehla Secondary School at Vaalwater in the Waterberg.
Andrew Smith and his team of twenty environmental scientists wanted to contribute to the work of The Waterberg Trust by making a gift of their know-how before spending a weekend in the African bush.
We never guessed that they would arrive with 33 bags of compost.
The staff and pupils gratefully accepted trays of lettuce, spinach, beetroot and onion seedlings as well as a variety of much-needed seeds. ‘I was speechless,’ Nurse Grace said. It was an answer to prayer. They even brought seed markers.
EIMS also donated garden netting, watering cans, tools and ordered treated poles from a local supplier so that pupils could erect shade-netting to protect the seedlings from birds and drying out in the sun.
The team from Environmental Impact Management Services also bought a year-planner and books that provide information and advice on when to plant and how to gain optimum productivity. Nurse Grace said, ‘We learnt a lot about keeping vegetables healthy and effective planting methods.’
School exams were in progress but the team were able to meet some of the pupils and explain how best to sustain the vegetable garden established by Nurse Grace a year ago. While Meetsstshehla has been acknowledged as a leading Green School in the Limpopo Province, nurse Grace plans to share the vision with other schools that she visits in the Waterberg.
Nurse Grace had time to discuss other plans for the community. Environmental Impact services are generously donating 95 packs of washable sanitary pads so that all the Grade 8 school girls can participate fully in school activities. A team from Dignity Dreams in Pretoria will come to instruct both boys and girls on menstrual health when exams finish.
~Explaining to guests about our green school project~
Andrew Smith said, ‘We have been involved in developing an air quality awareness campaign for one of our clients over the last 12 months. The programme is aimed at education focused specifically on how burning practices in the homes and communities can negatively impact the air we breath. Burning of waste and the use of coal fires in the home for cooking and warmth during winter are some of the issues the campaign focuses on. We have rolled the campaign out in some primary schools as well and we’ve developed puzzles, colouring books, quizzes and drama competitions. We have asked our client whether they will allow us to use the material elsewhere and we’re waiting for their comments. This educational content might be something Nurse Grace, or other teachers, could use during some of the Life Orientation classes.’
~Showing EIMS part of the garden and how we make compost manure from waste~
If you would like to make a donation towards the creation of a school vegetable garden in the Waterberg or towards multi-use sanitary pads for pupils please click here detailing your wishes. Sets of sanitary packs cost R220 and last for approx 48 months. We are hoping to raise enough money for all the school girls in the Waterberg to be kitted out.