Sister Grace writes from the Waterberg: “I managed to assist beneficiaries identified this month and moved into one of St John’s Church cottages, which I am renting.” The adjoining church cottage will be used for the Knitting Club, as a counseling room for those going through family problems, and for those who need treatment or adherence support. The cottage can also be used for church related work or by church members who might need a quiet place.
“Since I moved in, I managed to rescue five teenage boys who were addicted to alcohol and involved in substance abuse who are currently placed in different schools. They come once a week to show me their schoolwork and for ongoing counseling. These are boys come from poor family backgrounds where parents are alcoholics. Some are orphans. The matter was referred to the social worker for further intervention.”
THE COTTAGE IS WELL SET UP WITH A KITCHEN WITH CUPS, GLASSES AND KETTLE.
Should you need to use it you may contact Sister Grace.
Short term job creation has provided opportunities for the youth
Social Relief grants were extended. Many are receiving the money on monthly basis
Political party leaders and organizations distribute food parcels to needy families
Dysfunctional families continue to misuse child grants
Some foreigners fear accessing medical care due to rumors that they must pay for services or that they might be forced to return without help. This increases poor adherence to chronic medication.
Teenage pregnancy remains a big issue in our community. Babies are looked after by grannies when the moms go back to school.
Little has been done to clamp down on those selling drugs to the youth. Many lives are destroyed at a tender age with teenagers dropping out of school.
FOOD PARCELS WERE BOUGHT AND DISTRIBUTED to four families and a man involved in a car accident who is unable to walk.
KNITTING CLUB: We intend to start knitting blankets and beanies before winter starts and need more wool donated. It can be dropped off at the Farmers’ Hall or church cottages in town.
WE DONATED CLOTHES TO GRANNIES AND NAPPIES TO A TEENAGE MUM
SCHOOL UNIFORM: Sister Grace is working hand in hand with teachers to identify those who need uniform support and shoes. We received a gift of pens and pencils as well as clothes.
SCHOOL VEGETABLE GARDENS: Thanks to sponsorship from EIMS, these are yielding impressive crops. Produce is used for cookery classes and school dinners.
We would like to thank all those who donated various items towards the Acts of Mercy. May God bless you all.
If you wold like to support these small but life-changing projects, you can find more information on our HOW TO DONATE page. Even small gifts can make a huge difference.
The final term of the academic year 2022 saw lots going on with Matric examinations, a career exhibition, educational camps and parents’ meetings.
The Department of Education rolled out a circular which stated that all learners must be kept at school, motivated and provided with extra lessons. In previous years, learners would stay home to study whenever they were not writing exams, but many would be seen roaming the streets and others were distracted by noise within the community. Parents were informed and we all agreed that learners must get extra lessons and not miss school.
All grade 12’s managed to attend education camps to prepare them well before they wrote their final exams. They had to go in divided groups with the top achievers followed by the lower achievers. During that time many learners faced challenges due to the pressure of study. Some grew fatigued and depressed. Sister Grace provided pre-exam counseling and provided coping mechanisms.
Exams went well without any interruptions within surrounding schools.
Dedicated teachers worked longer hours to support learners with extra classes, working over weekends.
The Department of Education introduced a Spelling Bee in schools to help learners improve their English vocabulary as some learners are not able to understand nor spell English words. The Spelling Bee Club members meet twice a week after class.
Some leaners attended a free computer course funded by Afrika Tikkun in partnership with the Waterberg Welfare Society.
Learners who attended computer lessons received certificates at the Farmer’s Hall when various stakeholders were present.
300 reusable sanitary towel packs were distributed to new grade 8 learners at Meetsetshehla and Leseding High Schools in in January 2023.
Each school has a vegetable garden which helps to supplement the feeding scheme and is used by students taking a course in catering.
Learners continue to enjoy balanced meals from school feeding schemes. These help many from disadvantaged families.
MAHLASEDI, MOKOLO AND MEETSHTSHEHLA BENEFICIARIES ACKNOWLEDGED THE RECEIPT OF DONATED SEEDLINGS AND COMPOST. IT WAS A MOMENT OF EXCITEMENT!
THE CIRCURT MANAGER WAS IMPRESSED BY THE SCHOOL PROGRAMME AS SHE WITNESSED ITEMS BEING DONATED TO VARIOUS SCHOOLS AND THANKED THE DONORS FOR THE KIND SUPPORT
Members of The Environmental Club volunteering to grow veggies
A lack or shortage of learning resources such as computers
Broken doors and windows
Shortage of teachers
Some schools will be merged with other schools which will lead to overcrowding and difficulties for teachers
Unemployed school leavers could not access study bursaries and are currently sitting at home doing nothing
Some learners have dropped out of school while others continue to abscond classes.
Some learners are not coping due to peer pressure and poor family backgrounds.
Some continued to abuse alcohol and other substances within the school premises
LEARNERS WITH VARIOUS ISSUES DURING THIS TERM = 120
PREGNANT – 6 (3 FROM MEETSHETSHLA & 3 LESEDING SCHOOLS)
MENSTURAL ISSUES – 30 (girls with dysmenorrhea. Pads and counseling were provided)
CONTRACEPTIVES – 29 (were referred to the clinic and reproductive health education)
ADHERENCE SUPPORT – 15 (on chronic medication ie: HIV, Antipsychotics & depression)
SOCIAL ISSUES – 15 (Poor family support, alcoholism, age discrimination, poverty & food insecuritY)
NOTE: MORE LEARNERS WERE REACHED IN THEIR CLASSES FOR ASSISTANCE WITH HEALTH TOPICS RELATED TO LIFE ORIENTATION ie. Reproductive health, nutrition, bullying and risks of teenage pregnancies.
Sister Grace will continue to support learners from surrounding schools and motivate them about the importance of education and hard work while running the recycling project, gardening and providing health education. She will also continue to liaise with stakeholders and teachers to improve learning in schools.
As the year 2022 began, our school nurse, sister Grace was still busy checking pupils for Covid-19 every morning and face-masks were compulsory.
She continues to lead a busy life attending to first aid and a range of medical problems.
Talks on health form part of the life studies curriculum, covering sex education, HIV prevention and awareness, hygiene and food choices.
The Pretoria based charity Dignity Dreams have produced the book My Body #Noshame to be used with the distribution of washable eco-sanitary pads donated to every secondary school girl so they do not need to miss lessons.
Sister Grace has been able to help teens who have fallen pregnant, providing advice and resources.
She involved volunteers in local recycling projects.
Members of the environment club have also been maintaining the school vegetable gardens.
A range of nutritious greens were grown, providing food for the school feeding scheme and hotel and catering lessons. There were watered over the school holidays by community workers.
Outside of school, Sister Grace helped volunteers prepare and distribute food parcels for needy families.
The Knitting Club in Vaalwater made some beautiful jerseys, hats and blankets.
These were much appreciated over the South African winter when nights are cold.
Other clothes were provided for those in need.
Trustees and supporters of The Waterberg Trust in the UK have been busy raising funds to finance these grass-roots projects that help and inspire so many. If you would like to take part or make a donation, please click here for our address and more information.
Dr Peter Farrant says that Sister Grace continues to do excellent work at various schools in the community. “She is doing home based care, home visits to teenage mums, counselling and support of those struggling with substance abuse, those that are homeless and destitute. This report barely covers the surface of her activity. She attends the schools during school hours. I work with her in a supportive role and also supervise the treatment and therapy as well as monitor the monthly spending and examine the bank account each month.”
Sister Grace has continued to support those needing help and was able to monitor the sick. She distributed donated clothes and disposable sanitary pads to teenage girls.
Some previous beneficiaries have managed to get employed on farms, while others have been helped to start small businesses in poultry, livestock or informal trading by the Department of Agriculture’s subsidy to empower local community members. The beneficiaries who received support applied to the Department of Agriculture. In each and every location there’s a vegetable garden, chickens and livestock.
FOOD PARCELS WERE BOUGHT AND COLLECTED
DONATED CLOTHES AND SANITARY PADS.
MORE PHOTOS ARE AVAILABLE ON POWERPOINT PRESENTATION
CLOTHES TO CHILDREN AND ADULTS IN LESEDING TOWNSHIP
The sale of alcohol and loud music in the township disrupts learners busy studying and preparing for exams.
The Department of Home Affairs is reluctant to renew work permits due to expire by December 2022 ,which causes job insecurity for foreigners.
Increase in numbers of teenage pregnancies. Babies are looked after by guardians at home but are vulnerable to malnutrition and illness.
Regular community theft by teenage youths who do not attend school and are under the influence of substance abuse and alcohol consumption
Increased prices of essential supplies including food makes it difficult for those with low incomes to provide for their families
Local job opportunities and Social Relief Grants continue to benefit the community.
Learners who go to school have access to daily meals from the schools feeding scheme.
Guests who visit the surrounding lodges have donated clothes and sanitary pads which have been distributed to those in need or to learners.
Locals are benefiting from a recycling project and are able to earn an income after selling the recyclable materials i.e. bottles, card boxes, paper and tins etc
A donation of £1 can provide enough wool to knit a hat for a child in need.
I would like to thank St John The Baptist Church at 24 Rivers, guests from various lodges and individuals who have contributed so much towards the Acts of Mercy Charity which continues to help many people from the community regardless of nationality or cultural beliefs. This has made a huge impact. May God bless you all.
Nursing Sister Grace’s salary is provided by The Waterberg Trust who can accept financial donations in the UK and redeem Gift Aid. You can find different ways of how to make a donation here. Do specify how you wish your donation to be spent, if you like.
Donations of bras and wool are much appreciated if you find yourself going to the Waterberg.
As Covid -19 restrictions have been relaxed, many people have returned to their daily routine. Some are employed, others are running small businesses selling farm produce, running hair salons, gardening or recycling. Chicken projects, funded by government vouchers amounting R2000 per person, help to generate income to buy food and essential needs for families.
Sister Grace says, “I reached out to those who really needed social support and have no source of income. I also supported one Matric learner with medication and 4 girls with Matric uniform (golf t-shirts). I donated some clothes to those in need, and baby wear to teenage mums.”
59 people received gifts of essential groceries and clothing this month
School feeding schemes continue to provide meals for learners with many gaining access to meals on daily basis. “We continue to issue basic food parcels to help those in need. Upon arrangement, beneficiaries normally collect their food parcel directly from the supermarket, while some send family members or friends to collect on their behalf.”
The knitting club continues to knit blankets, beanies and jerseys to bless those in need.
Shortage of supplies from the supermarkets. The regular contents of food parcels could not be found in one supermarket. We needed to shop around.
The price of food and other essentials has drastically increased and varies from one shop to another.
Huge families tend to run out of food. Some received two food parcels to enable them to last for a month.
Some had delayed Social Relief Grants, but this has now been rectified.
Dysfunctional families continue to abuse social grants by buying alcohol instead of food and essentials.
Leseding Township has become a hotspot of community theft and gender-based violence, especially in taverns. Three young men were brutally stabbed to death after a fight.
Most children below the age of 15 years are into substance abuse and alcohol consumption, skipping school.
Some individuals have come up with activities for the youth in our community such as sports and a fun run. This happens on weekly basis and children are able to spend time playing at the local park.
The Social Relief Grant has been extended, enabling those who apply to support their families.
Many small business owners received vouchers through government solidarity funds.
Disadvantaged girls continue to receive free sanitary pads during school holidays.
Sister Grace will continue to reach out to those in need and provide social support.
Stakeholders include local churches, Social Development, Community leaders and the local Police Station who inform us of the needy.
Sister Grace provides basic health care and methods of contraception in an attempt to reduce teenage pregnancies.
MANY THANKS TO ALL THOSE WHO KEEP DONATING CLOTHES WHICH HELP THE NEEDY CHILDREN AND ADULTS
We have good news from the Limpopo Province of South Africa where the school nurse, Grace Ismail says the donation of washable sanitary towels, “has made a huge impact and girls no longer miss classes due to menstrual issues.”
The Northern Education Trust write from the Waterberg to say:
“Sr Grace Ismail is continuing to do a great job with Meetsetshehla School, Leseding High School and other feeder schools. We look forward to seeing her make a significant change in the lives of these learners. We so appreciate your generosity and continued support and encouragement over the years as we continue to strive to provide the best possible education for the poorest of the poor. “
SCHOOL REPORT FROM APRIL – JUNE 2022
South African education is at low ebb but after noticing that the numbers of Corvid–19 had declined, the Department of Education decided all schools should return to full daily attendance with daily screening of learners and teachers who all wear masks in classrooms.
“We noticed a few teachers at Primary schools tested positive with minimal symptoms which cleared within a short period. All grade 12’s are attending classes from Monday – Saturday to ensure they are well prepared before writing their final year examinations. All other grades wrote mid-year exams, which will enable them to be promoted to the next grade.”
The Department of Education has allocated examination centre numbers for the final year learners in all High Schools. Sister Grace says, “During this hectic time, I come across learners who are depressed, anxious or have fatigue due to the school workload. However, I provide pre-exam counseling about coping and how best they can utilize time when studying. Dedicated teachers are working very hard to support learners with extra lessons after school and on weekends, hoping for good results at the end of the year.”
Extra teachers have been employed to fill up the gaps left by those who have relocated.
Teachers from two High Schools work together at weekends to provide extra lessons.
Stakeholders and the School Governing Body visit schools regularly to address issues faced by learners and encourage them about importance of study and passing exams.
There are positive changes at Meetsetshehla Secondary School after the appointment of an Acting Principal and Head of Department who ensure leaners are getting support.
All learners have access to food from the feeding scheme. This helps those who come to school without eating.
Inadequate toilets: some schools are using mobile toilets and others a school pit latrine. 10 mobile toilets at Meetsetshehla Secondary School are not enough.
Primary Schools are overcrowded with 1,700 to 1,900 learners, which makes it difficult for some to understand the teacher .
Teenage mums miss classes as they need to stay home to look after their babies.
Many school leavers have no access bursaries for University or College and are just sitting at home despite having done well at school.
Addiction to substance abuse and alcohol.
Learners with depression have suicidal thoughts as they don’t want to share their challenges nor speak out. I provide psychosocial counseling
Overaged learners are not coping in the junior classes. They have repeated more than three times without progressing.
Fuel is needed for the school nurse – She has to visit different schools and learners at home such as teenage moms and needs to collect medication from the clinic.
SCHOOL VEGETABLE GARDENS FOR MOKOLO PRIMARY SCHOOL AND MEETSETSHELA HIGH SCHOOL ARE PROVING SUCCESSFUL. NUTRITION IS KEY TO LEARNERS.
The Head of Department is willing to reinstate a Young Christians’ Prayer Club where they can have time of prayer with learners to empower them spiritually and prepare them for challenges such as a court hearing faced by a victim of rape.
“I received various items which were donated to learners in the form of clothes, school bags and disposable sanitary pads. Female learners are no longer having challenges due to menstrual issues as they come to my office whenever they need help.”
“SOME OF THE LEARNERS RECEIVED DONATED ITEMS – THEY WERE SO GRATEFUL“
Sister Grace says, “I attended meetings with various stakeholders from different organizations about issues of education in surrounding schools, bullying and gender-based violence, teenage pregnancies and substance abuse, which has affected youth and many family members. i.e. Victim support, the local Police Station, Environmental and awareness teams, the Mayor, church leaders and community leaders.”
“At the end of the meetings all participants agreed on how best they can support and protect youth especially those still at school. There are reports of insecurity for learners going to school as criminals hide in the bushes and attempt to snatch their phones or rape girls. The local municipality will consider clearing the tall grass to ensure the safety of the learners.”
TOTAL NUMBER OF LEANERS SEEN INDIVIDUALLY: 120
PREGNANT: 5 – 3 at Meetsetshehla & 2 at Leseding High School.
COUNSELING: 15 – Adherence to chronic meds, withdrawal methods of alcohol & substances, bereavement, and post traumatic stress counseling after sexual abuse.
CONTRACEPTIVES: 20 – Referred to access contraceptives from the local clinic.
NOTE: Numbers declined as learners were writing exams and some stayed at home to study.
To continue to monitor and support learners during the holidays and check- up on boys who have been referred for medical circumcision, which will be performed by the local clinic.
To continue to liaise with teachers who are secondary care givers who alert the nurse if there is an urgent matter to be addressed.
To continue to distribute washable sanitary pads and other donations.
Sister Grace says, “I would like to thank Doctor Farrant for always being there whenever I have sick learners who need to be seen urgently. He makes time to see and examine them at no cost from his consulting room.”
“To my employers and all the sponsors, may you receive my gratitude for all the effort to ensure I have a secure job to be able to support my family.”
Schools are closed for 3 weeks but Matric learners will continue to attend extra classes.
The good news is that we are bing able to make a huge difference to the lives of ordinary people in the Waterberg by giving advice, making connections and providing those in need with specific donations.
ACTS OF MERCY REPORT FOR MARCH AND APRIL 2022
Now lockdown restrictions have been eased, many of our former beneficiaries are back at work. Some are engaged in informal trading, selling farm produce or clothes. Others are farming poultry or working in hair salons and Spaza shops. And many are receiving Social Relief Grants and food parcels from the Social Development, which are being delivered to the community. School children benefit from the feeding schemes on daily basis.
Besides food parcels, some beneficiaries were in need of essential supplies like washing powder, bath soap, clothes and nutritional supplements.
We are seeing improper use of social grants meant to buy food for families
Alcohol and substance abuse among youth and adults is leading to Gender Based Violence. Fighting in beer taverns has resulted in the loss of two young male teenagers’ lives.
Community theft is on the rise. Houses are broken into and goods stolen. People feel insecure when walking alone, in fear of being attacked.
Increased unemployed youth leads to lack of productivity, resulting in drinking alcohol, teenage pregnancy and family disputes.
Increase in fuel prices have caused price fluctuation of food, transport and clothing.
Many roads have been severely damaged due to heavy rains. It is difficult to reach out to those in need of proper assessment and support.
Jobs have been created and some beneficiaries are able to provide for their families.
The Government’s solidarity fund has helped some community members by providing them with free vouchers to start poultry projects and other small businesses, which can help to generate income to support families. The vouchers are worth R2000 per beneficiary.
Many community members have had the Covid-19 vaccine and are aware of preventative measures and hygiene protocols.
Sister Grace says, “MANY THANKS TO ALL THOSE WHO DONATED VARIOUS ITEMS WHICH BENEFITED THOSE IN NEED, MAY GOD GREATLY BLESS YOU ALL“
Please see our DONATE page for other ways of giving. We welcome fundraising activities and have some ideas here.
Sister Grace attended meetings with the Victim Support Unit based at the local police station, and an event to keep the community informed about Gender Based Violence and to ensure there is unity and teamwork when it comes to protection of children, women and vulnerable people. A 56 year old man was arrested for sexually abusing a 13 year old mentally ill girl several times. The girl continues to attend school as they await for court ruling.
“I also attended a meeting with the department of Social Development and SASSA who discussed social grants applications, food parcels and support needed for the homeless. We agreed that beneficiaries who qualify for food parcels may be referred to their office for further help.”
She has asked the Community to take part in identifying those in need of help so that they can receive timely support.
Sister Grace will continue to reach out to those in need.
She will continue to work with stake holders to ensure everyone supports each other and avoid duplication.
She will continue to educate family members on basic health, where to access essential services and provide ongoing treatment, support and counseling to those in need.
Food parcel distribution continues
BENEFICIARIES RECEIVED DONATED CLOTHES, BABY THINGS AND SANITARY PADS FOR SCHOOL GIRLS
Dr Peter Farrant writes to say, “Thank you for your continued support…it is GREATLY appreciated!” There is a significant shortage of teachers, which is concerning, and never-ending social and medical needs. He says “Sister Grace is a stable rock in the school, which is a huge benefit to the scholars.”
All learners returned to school on full-time basis this term with Covid-19 protocols observed. Between 600–1200 learners are screened daily. Learners continue to wear masks and are sanitised upon arrival. Outdoor activities are allowed in all schools and pupils participate in various athletics, which increases physical fitness. The infection rate has reduced as many staff members and learners have had Covid-19 vaccines.
Only two primary schools had Covid-19 positive cases among staff members, and control measures were undertaken.
Shortage of staff, as a result of teachers relocating or being promoted in different educational sectors, has prevented learners from catching up academically. Pupils can spend a whole day without being taught.
Poor sanitation due to inadequate toilets for the huge numbers of learners
Overcrowding now all learners are fully attending school: 42 learners or more per class
Pregnant learners continue to hide. Their condition is only noticed during routine screening when they reach their 2nd or 3rd trimester. Daily monitoring, counselling and support are then provided.
Overaged learners, who have repeated courses more than 3 times, are stuck in the same grade and can become bad influencers. Some are involved in theft of other learner’s valuables, which makes pupils feel unsafe.
Undisciplined learners come to school to disrupt others. Some are under the influence of alcohol. (Parents have been called to a hearing.)
Hysteric attacks in girls, which they believe was related to ancestral calling. These were controlled with the involvement of parents
Improved Matric pass rate for Meetsetshehla Secondary School of 78% – compared to 63% in 2020 and Leseding High School 73 %.
Senior learners continue to attend extra classes at weekends and during the holidays.
The employment of general workers and teacher assistants in schools has helped to keep school premises clean. Teachers are assisted with administration and book keeping. The Job Creation Scheme was a Government initiative to ensure youth are employed and equipped with skills by giving them a year’s contract in schools.
Feeding schemes continue to provide daily meals to learners many of whom come to school without eating.
The local education circuit office managed to source temporary staff to fill teaching gaps while schools awaited formal advertising of vacant posts
Sister Grace spoke to classes about teenage pregnancy, menstrual issues, contraceptives, cyberbullying, along with the dangers of substance abuse and its effect.
“I AM ALSO INVOLVED IN A RECYCLING PROJECT OF BOTTLES, PAPER AND CARDBOX WHICH ARE THEN COLLECTED AND SOLD TO THE LOCAL RECYCLING COMPANY. THIS PROJECT HELPS TO EMPOWER THOSE UNEMPLOYED TO EARN EXTRA INCOME THROUGH WASTE MANAGEMENT. A TRUCK COMES TO FETCH RECYCLABLES WHEN BAGS ARE FULL.”
STATISTICS: TOTAL NUMBER OF THOSE SEEN INDIVIDUALLY: 167
PREGNANT – 20 (12 from Meetsetshehla Secondary School & 8 Leseding High School)
MEDICAL ISSUES – 8 : Asthma, Chicken pox, Herpes Zoster, Epilepsy, Dental infection and HIV
MINOR ISSUES – 55 : Menstrual issues, abdominal cramps, headaches, sports injuries and allergies
SOCIAL PROBLEMS – 20 :Due to poor family support, obesity due to improper diet, lack of funds to access a rehabilitation centre, and unhealthy living conditions, which distract pupils from studying.
PSYCHOLOGICAL – 10 : 6 cases of hysteria, 2 rape victims, 2 grieving the loss of loved ones, plus cases of abuse.
ADHERENCE COUNSELING – 25 : HIV medication, Epilepsy and depression.
CONTRACEPTIVES – 29 cases referred to access various methods of contraception
I will continue to educate learners’ about the risks of teenage pregnancy, reproductive and sexual health, sexual transmitted infections and preventative measures.
I will invite stakeholders from the local government clinic who run youth friendly programs to motivate our learners and to encourage more girls to access different contraceptives
I will regularly meet up with security personnel who can assist with learners’ safety due to increasing number of drug addicts who hide in the bushes and want to commit crimes like raping girls and snatching phones or school essentials. One 16 year-old girl was raped on her way to school. She’s currently receiving medical care and psychological counseling from the local clinic.
Schools are closed for 2 weeks from the 18th March and re-open on the 4th April 2022
If you would like to help The Waterberg Trust finance this amazing work, you can find details or who to contact and how to make a donation here.
Even very small amounts of money go a long way to help the people of the Waterberg and enable learners to achieve their dreams.
The Board of The Waterberg Trust met this week to review projects being supported in the Waterberg region of South Africa.
One of the Trustees, who had just returned from a visit, was able to report that Sister Grace has been busy looking after people’s health and welfare in schools and the wider community. One of her objectives is to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies, which take girls out of school and entrench poverty.
The Knitting Club have been busy producing the most beautiful blankets, hats and shawls, providing comfort for the very young and very old in the Waterberg. Sister Grace distributes these while making home visits when she can check that patients are taking their medication and have enough to eat.
Thanks to our supporters’ kind donations, The Waterberg Trust continues to work in partnership with St John’s Church ‘Acts of Mercy’ initiative to help those in need through the pandemic.
Volunteers help purchase and pack food parcels for about fifty individuals within family groups.
These are collected from outside the local super market by friends or relatives of the needy. Local farmers donate food.
Food for the school nutrition project is being supplemented with vegetables grown in school veggie gardens by the Environmental Clubs.
TWT has set up a ‘Dignity Dreams Club’ to raise funds to purchase eco-packs of washable sanitary pads for every girl entering secondary education. This is an important, low-cost initiative that gives girls confidence and means they do not miss lessons. Some were taking absence from school for five days a month.
The pads come with a book for teachers and are distributed with a structured sex-education talk about puberty. TWT is aiming to provide 400 packs a year at a cost of £15 each. The pads are carefully made by Dignity Dreams, a non-profit organization in Pretoria who provide work for the disadvantaged. They last four years. If you would like to help by making a small donation, please click here
‘Our courses are no longer regarded as a luxury but rather as a vitally important component of the education of all our children, with the message that the health of people is intimately connected with the health of the environment.’ Chairman of Lapalala Wilderness School
Clearly, one of the best ways of ensuring future conservation is to educate the young people.
After delays caused by C-19 Lockdown, and floods that washed away the access road, a group of twenty-two teenage students from Meetsetshehla Sceondary School in Valwater were able to attend a week-long environmental course at Lapalala Wilderness School in 2021. TWT hope to send another group from Leseding High School in Vaalwater soon.
The main objectives of the Environmental Education programme are:
To spark an interest and passion for the natural world and the conservation.
To share knowledge relating to local and global environmental issues and sustainable living.
To demonstrate how individuals can have a positive impact on the environment.
To build team spirit and nurture leadership skills.
To cultivate an appreciation and respect for a pristine wilderness environment.
Lapalala Wilderness School can accommodate sixty pupils and two teachers who reside at the Wilderness School for five days, under COVID -19 lockdown regulations
It costs R 400 (£19) per person per day.
For 62 individuals for five days costs R 124,000 (£5,885)
Return transport from Vaalwater costs R10,000 (£475)
This is exceptionally good value. All in all, it costs R 134,000 (£6,360) to host a group, fully inclusive of teaching, equipment, food and accommodation.
If you would like to find out how to sponsor another group of children to attend the Wilderness School, please click here
The Chairman of Lapalala Wilderness School writes:
‘In this, our 35th anniversary year, our supporters will be delighted to know that all of our environmental education programmes are being enthusiastically received, not only by primary and secondary schools but also by university students already specialising in aspects of the conservation and management of biodiversity.’
‘We have influenced teachers from a variety of schools to embrace and acknowledge the critical role of environmental conservation in many facets of our daily lives, and our work to identify and nurture the conservation leaders and champions of the future through our youth development programme has never been more urgently needed.’
‘In all of these activities the Lapalala Wilderness School is most fortunate to be able to call on a talented team of passionate and enthusiastic educators, many of whom are today widely recognised as truly inspiring mentors.’
‘Our citizens must understand and support the need to conserve water catchments, wetlands, and the many species of plants and animals which receive far too little attention, such as the pollinators so essential for food security.’
The children were truly grateful for the opportunity and wrote to thank the director of Lapalala Wilderness School:
The course fits in with the national curriculum. Sister Grace founded an Environmental Club for schools in Vaalwater. Members tend vegetable gardens and have been taken to local game reserves.