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 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.
-Sister Grace with the Community Workers programme-
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.
We rose early and saddled up the horses for a day full of promise.
Ant Baber, who had planned the route, was keen to cross Lindani game reserve and reach Jembisa to the north that morning. We had a long way to go.
The riders set off from Motseng Lodge where we’d spent a comfortable night.
We crossed the Melkrivier, a tributary of the Palala River, avoiding the footbridge.
It was a good chance to water the horses.
From here, we made our way up a steep, jungly kloof chocked with dense vegetation.
It is in these valleys that you find the most ancient trees that thrive in relatively sheltered conditions where they have access to water.
Being on an intercontinental convergence zone, the Waterberg is home to over 350 different species of tree from baobabs to wild fig – a greater variety than the whole of western Europe.
We suddenly found ourselves at the top of the hill where the vegetation opened out.
Wild proteas, the national flower of South Africa, were growing here.
We climbed higher still, taking a track that gave us occasional views across the Waterberg.
This unique unspoilt wilderness area has been declared a UNESCO world biosphere.
On reaching the top of the Buffelshoek escarpment we dis-mounted
and lead the horses, on our quest to reach the very north of the game reserve.
We walked some way down the steep trail.
It was good to stretch but quite hard work as temperatures had risen.
After a while, we were able to look back at the impressive escarpment, looking for vulture roosts in the rocky outcrops.
A sandy path led to the north gate of the reserve and out onto the road.
We were able to canter up this track to reach the southern gate of Jembisa,
a 3000 hectare private game where the manager was waiting to let us in.
We were soon able to water the horses and rode through the bush, looking out for wildlife such as zebra, wildebeest, warthog, oryx and impala who had young at foot.
After about five kilometres, we took the chance for another exhilarating canter down an old air strip.
After untacking the horses, rubbing them down and making sure they had plenty of hay and water,
we made it to the lodge in time for a late lunch, which was served under the trees.
It was difficult to leave Jembisa,
especially since they have a wonderfully refreshing pool
but we climbed into two game drive vehicles and were taken to the neighbouring reserve.
Funds raised by The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride are being used to enable sixty local teenagers and their teachers to attend a week-long residential course on nature conservation here. You can see photos of the last group sponsored on Facebook here.
For local children, this course costs 375 Rand each per night, fully catered, which is exceptionally good value for a life-changing experience. TWT also fun transport from the township of Leseding.
After meeting the director and learning how the school raises environmental awareness,
riders came face to face with one of the teaching aids – an impressive Burmese python.
Rescued from a life spent in restrictive captivity this beautiful snake is used to show local children how important it is to treasure the wildlife of South Africa and that all animals have a role in the eco-system. To find out more about Lapalala Wilderness please click here.
You can find out about Jembisa, who kindly sponsored the ride by letting riders cross across the reserve and stay for the next two nights in great comfort by clicking here
or watch their marketing video here:
On 21st January 2018, twelve intrepid ladies – and one man – set off from Berkshire to cross the Waterberg Plateau in South Africa on horseback. The aim was to gain an understanding of this pristine wilderness and learn about challenges faced by the rural community, while raising funds to support the excellent projects being run out there.
Lying three hours drive north of Johannesburg, the Waterberg is home to the third highest population of rhino in the world. Poaching is so acute in South Africa it is imperative to guard this upland area where both black and white rhino can be protected.
Would you help us to raise awareness for Save The Waterberg Rhino, who are combating anti-poaching, and other community projects in this region?
The riders paid their own way, so every penny raised in sponsorship will go straight to The Waterberg Trust, a UK registered charity, who can send donations plus any Gift Aid, to these small but effective projects in South Africa.
~Twelve inspirational women learning about community projects~
Funds go a long way to really make a difference in the Waterberg where they are administered by trusted conservationists with years of experience. You can meet those who are striving to Save The Waterberg Rhino and protect the wilderness while uplifting communities in the Waterberg, here:
TWT have already held three annual Waterberg Trust Challenge Rides. Those taking part this year observed a number of white rhino living on Ant’s Nest game reserve, while being updated on anti-poaching initiatives by Tess and her husband Ant Baber who generously hosted the six-day ride.
The team crossed the Waterberg hills on horseback, meeting Clive Walker, a leading South African conservationist who appears in this film. He began reintroducing wildlife to the area forty years ago, becoming Chairman of the Endangered Wildlife Trust. He can be seen here speaking to TWT riders in 2016:
This year riders visited a new ‘Waterberg Living Museum’ set up by Clive to educate local people and visitors about rhino and the history of this unique biosphere.
Riders also visited Lapalala Wilderness School where pupils from Vaalwater attend residential courses on conservation sponsored by TWT. Students testify how this experience changes their outlook on life, giving them an appreciation for their environment and the future of South Africa’s wild animals. The children take their enthusiasm into the community whose support is essential if poaching is to be combated.
~TWT Trustee Sophie Neville with students at Lapalala Wilderness School~
After thirty-two hours in the saddle, the ride ended at the Palala River on Jembisa private game reserve. Before leaving, riders visited Lethabo Kids Club in the local township of Lesiding that ministers to the poorest of the poor and ensures all children attend primary school.
50% of funds raised by the sponsored ride go to Save The Waterberg Rhino and 50% to support community projects that uplift the people and place of the Waterberg.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:
- Support the project on Social Media and receive news:
- Share posts on The Waterberg Trust’s Facebook page, please click here
- For Save The Waterberg Rhino’s Facebook page, please click here
- For the Lapalala Wilderness School’s page, please click here
- Find out more by clicking here: Save The Waterberg Rhino
- Make a donation to The Waterberg Trust, please click here for address
- Donate via The Waterberg Trust Justgiving page
As a UK registered charity, The Waterberg Trust can claim Gift Aid on eligible donations, and organise transfer of funds to South Africa efficiently. You can add a note to specify ‘Save the Waterberg Rhino’ or ‘Lapalala Wilderness School’ or another project with your donation.