Category Archives: HIV awareness

Kind donations supporting the needy in the Waterberg region of South Africa

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.

Food parcels for the needy in rural South Africa
Food parcels for the needy in rural South Africa

Besides food parcels, some beneficiaries were in need of essential supplies like washing powder, bath soap, clothes and nutritional supplements.

CHALLENGES:

  • 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.
TWT wants to equip every schoolgirl in the Waterberg with eco-sanitary wear so they do not miss lessons

PROGRESS:

  • 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

If you are able to donate funds, The Waterberg Trust has a Justgiving page here.

Learners working in a school vegetable garden. Produce is used in the school feeding scheme

Please see our DONATE page for other ways of giving. We welcome fundraising activities and have some ideas here.

Would you be able to raise funds for school shoes? It would ensure children enter primary school at the age of six instead of wandering the streets.

MEETINGS:

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 working in schools of the Waterberg under Dr Peter Farrant

FUTURE PLANS:

  • 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

Volunteers purchase and distribute monthly food parcels to those in need. This is what each one looked like this month
A kind donation of essentials for a mother and baby made recently

BENEFICIARIES RECEIVED DONATED CLOTHES, BABY THINGS AND SANITARY PADS FOR SCHOOL GIRLS

Schoolgirls receiving sanitary protection this month. We need to ensure they do not miss lessons.

Update on care for the needy in the Waterberg, South Africa

Sister Grace monitoring the development of a baby

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.

Care for the elderly

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.

Sister Grace distributing hand-knitted blankets

Volunteers help purchase and pack food parcels for about fifty individuals within family groups.

Food parcels donated to the needy in the Waterberg

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.

Food parcels being collected

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.

Sister Grace explains how to care for washable sanitary pads.

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

For a full list of projects supported by TWT, please click here.

Handmade blanket and hat

Acts of Mercy bearing fruit in the Waterberg

Sister Grace revisited existing beneficiaries this September and October, identifying those needing help and support in the Waterberg region.

OUR FORMER PATIENT THANKED THOSE WHO HELPED HIM OFF THE STREETS AND SENT HIM TO HOSPITAL FOR TREATMENT. THERE’S A GREAT IMPROVEMENT! HE IS NOW STABLE AND BACK AT WORK. SISTER GRACE MONITORS HIS ADHERENCE AND PROVIDES ONGOING COUNSELING.

A total of 50 beneficiaries received food parcels this month. Sister Grace says, “I make sure there’s no overcrowding at the supermarket as per Covid-19 regulations.”

VOLUNTEERS HELP TO PACK FOOD PARCELS

Some beneficiaries send family members or friends to collect food parcels on their behalf.

 FOOD PARCELS BEING PURCHASED AND PACKED AT A LOCAL SUPERMARKET

PROGRESS: Good relationships with stakeholders such as the South African Police, the local Government Clinic and the Department of Social Development, enable members of the community to be referred effectively and receive the help they need. It’s good to receive timely feedback after interventions so progress can be monitored.

A HOMELESS MAN BEING PROVIDED WITH CLOTHES AND FOOD ON DAILY BASIS. POLICE WERE INFORMED AND THEY TOOK HIM TO THE HOSPITAL FOR MENTAL ASSESSMENT

Some families received food parcels from political leaders during campaign events. Others were promised employment and short term contracts in areas such as road maintenance. This will ensure many families have an income to provide for their families.

School meals

Many learners have access to daily meals at various schools and are occupied with their studies.

Food parcels for the needy in the Waterberg in October 2021

Sister Grace says, “As lockdown restrictions have been reduced, many people are back at work.” However, there is still need in the community. She has been using ‘Acts of Mercy’ funds to help a number of teenage orphans who are in school:

TEENAGE MUM WITH A MONTH OLD BABY RECEIVED FOOD PARCEL AND WASHING POWDER. AN ORPHAN, SHE LIVES WITH HER ELDERLY GRANNY
School shoes and a belt
ORPHANED LEARNER RECEIVED PAIR OF SOCKS AND SHIRT FOR SCHOOL

PROGRESS:

  • Job opportunities are being offered for longer periods.
  • Some community members were offered free skills development in hairdressing so that they can find employment or run their own hair salons
  • Teenage girls from surrounding Schools were blessed with disposable sanitary pads donated by Horizon Horseback clients who also gave R500 cash towards Acts of Mercy.
PADS DONATED BY HORIZON HORSEBACK CLIENTS WERE DISTRIBUTED TO 150 GIRLS

The Waterberg Trust is raising funds to equip all schoolgirls in the Waterberg with sustainable eco-sanitary pads, as you can read here, but these disposables are a welcome stop-gap.

Even the smallest gift will help Sister Grace continue her work helping the needy in the Waterberg. If you would like to make a donation, please click here for contact details. Funds are very carefully spent and are hugely appreciated.

FOOD PURCHASED FOR THE NEEDY IN SEPTEMBER 2021

                

Can you join the Dignity Dreams Club?

School nurse Sister Grace distributing packs of Dignity Dreams washable sanitary pads for schoolgirls

Could you change a schoolgirl’s future?

Did you know that the majority of secondary school girls in the Waterberg can miss a week’s education every month? Can you imagine what this means to their future life chances?

The reason? They lack sanitary protection. You can change this. For just £15 a girl will receive 6 re-suable Dignitary Dreams sanitary pads with two pairs of pants that will last them for 5 years. This is an educational  game-changer, ending shame and improving self-esteem for vulnerable teenagers.

It’s simple, it makes an immediate difference, and has a lifelong benefit.

Can you help?

The Waterberg Trust aims to provide all girls in secondary schools of the Waterberg with an eco-friendly pack of Dignity Dreams reusable sanitary protection.

Please join the Dignity Dreams Club and commit to an annual donation of £15 (or more) in order to provide a girl with sanitary protection.

Click here for our page on ways of making a donation

Sister Grace using a book on how to use the pads

Students are given a talk on puberty and how to use the pads before they are distributed. It is a good opportunity for them to ask questions and learn how to avoid an unplanned pregnancy.

The NGO Dignity Dreams issue a book for teachers to use, helping them to give engaging talks on puberty and the female reproductive system in line with the curriculum. There is also an instruction leaflet in in pack.

The book commissioned by Dignity Dreams for teachers to use when distributing the pads

There are six pads in each pack, designed for washing with Sunlight soap in cold water, rinsed in salty water and dried in hot sun. They are made by outworkers for Dignity Dreams, which is a not-for-profit employment scheme running in Pretoria. In effect, you’d be supporting two charities at once.

Sister Grace showing pupils how the washable pads work

The girls like the design of the pink and green stripped underpants that come in the packs. One pad is equivalent to 144 disposable pads. They say they are both helpful and durable.

Another class of secondary schoolgirls received a pack of re-useable pads

The Waterberg Trust first distributed Dignity Dreams pads in January 2019 thanks to sponsorship from TWT donors and Environmental Impact Management Services who kindly brought a speaker up from Pretoria. You can read about how we equipped 210 girls here.

Speaker Verita Shikwambana from Dignity Dreams

Secondary schools in the Waterberg have an annual intake of 460 girls. This year, we have managed to equip 145 girls entering one of the schools. We need another 315 packs as soon as possible. If you could help with a few it would be hugely appreciated. The girls and their parents are truly grateful.

The total number of girls in the secondary schools of the Waterberg is 948. To help them all we need to purchase another 593 pads. At a cost of £15 for a pack (+courier charges) our aim is to raise £8,895 for this project.

A note of thanks from one of the students

Challenges facing secondary schools in the Waterberg

Nursing Sister Grace who works in schools of the Waterberg

Dr Peter Farrant of the Northern Education Trust writes to say that Sister Grace continues to be a steadying influence in the community and at the school in these uncertain times. Here is her lastest school report:

SCHOOL REPORT FROM JULY – SEPTEMBER 2021

DUTIES:  Grade 12 students wrote their trial examinations prior to their final Matric examinations which will start in October 2021. These helped educators to assess and prepare students for final exams. Examination centres were visited by officials from the Department of Education and centre numbers were provided.

These grade 12 students attend school on daily basis, including weekends, to ensure they are well prepared. Meals are provided for learners as many come to school without eating or from disadvantaged families.

I offered pre-examination counselling, encouraged and motivated them to study and work hard so they can pass their final exams. Some were exhausted as they have to stay at school for the whole day. Others pupils continued to attend school on a weekly rotational schedule.

Learners with challenges received regular counselling and support throughout the term i.e. those with mental illness, pregnant learners in their third trimester and those with psychological issues.

Some of the challenges faced by learners:

Sister Grace with learners
  • Some are writing while pregnant and might miss out exams as they will be on maternity leave. Two pregnant teenage moms are at home awaiting delivery.
  • Poor sanitation. Mobile toilets are substituted though there are not enough to accommodate all.
  • Over-age learners can cause trouble and are bad influence to those who want to learn. These students smoke on school premises, abscond classes after eating and do not submit their assignments and projects.

PROGRESS: Some dedicated teachers give their time to help learners during their free period

Meetshetshehla High School received donation of 300 new desks to replace the old ones to ensure leaners sit comfortably in classes.

New desks being delivered to Meetsetshehla Secondary School

Teachers attended workshop about preparation of exams and invigilation.

Feeding scheme provides meals for about 350 learners daily

TRAINING:  

I attended a Leadership Collaboration Training Programme in the Waterberg District Community aimed at uplifting the Waterberg District, and showing how the private sector can work with the Government on various projects.

Representatives from various sectors attended i.e. the surrounding lodges, municipal workers, Schools and Private Intuitions.

The Hanns Seidel Stiftung funded the training, which is accredited. Participants will receive certificates.

MEETINGS: I attended meetings with the South African Police Victim Support Department (SAPS) and discussed how they can locate those selling illegal drugs, which is destroying the youth and leads to Gender Based Violence.

The Social Development and the local Government Clinic.

The officials from the Department of Education District office visited and interviewed me about bullying in schools and other challenges that I encounter amongst learners from surrounding schools. We agreed that if there’s any suggestion of school challenges that I should email them for attention.

Effort being recognised

STATISTICS: TOTAL NUMBER CONSULTED INDIVIDUALLY IS 151 (HIGH SCHOOLS ONLY)

PREGNANT – 5 (3 Meetsetshehla & 2 Leseding High School)

ASTHMATIC – 3  

COUNSELING – 45 (Psychological, Adherence to treatment, Bereavement, Substance abuse & HIV/STI)

MENSTRUAL ISUUES – 60 (provided with disposable pads)

OBESITY – 6 (referred to dietician)

CONTRACEPTIVES – 32 (referred to the clinic for preventive plans)

Schools closed from 1st October and will re-open 0n 11th October 2021 except for the grade 12’s who will continue to attend extra lessons.

Thank you so much for your continued support. If you would like to make a donation to support this work, please click here for further details.

Sister Grace consulting pupils in school

Helping the needy in the Waterberg

Sister Grace in the Waterberg

ACTS OF MERCY REPORT AUGUST 2021

Nursing Sister Grace writes, “I worked with the Social Development team, making home visits and registering those in need of social support, while helping those who are eligible to apply for the Social Relief Distress Grant (SRD). Many people were successfully registered and will be able to receive the grant as planned by the Government. Foreign nationals who have valid identification passports were also registered. During the registration process the Department of Social Development handed out food parcels to identified families and those with passports. Political leaders also distributed clothes, blankets and sanitary pads to the community.”

Youth benefiting from the scheme

I REFERRED 25 UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE TO REGISTER FOR A SOCIAL RELIEF GRANT WHICH WAS SUCCESSFUL AND 15 WILL RECEIVE MONTHLY FOOD PARCELS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT.

SCHOOL CHILDREN CONTINUE TO ACCESS DAILY MEALS FROM THE SCHOOL FEEDING SCHEMES

“Employment opportunities were created in our municipality. Members of the community, including youth, were hired by the Expanded Public Works Program (EPWP) to work in different allocated sectors. This helps many families receive an income. More informal traders are selling farm produce and other items. Some families have vegetable gardens on their premises, which help to generate income and supplement meals.”

CHALLENGES:

  • Essential supplies and costs have increased, which leads to many families running out of food before the month end.
  • Dysfunctional families don’t  buy food for their dependents in spite of having an income.
  • An elderly man, the uncle of a mentally ill beneficiary who is under our monthly care and support, was physically beaten and injured by his son. The matter was reported to the local police for further investigation.
  • Alcohol consumption is a huge problem. Some people buy alcohol rather than food.
  • Increase in teenage pregnancy

FOOD PARCELS WERE DISTRIBUTED TO 58 INDIVIDUALS IDENTIFIED AS NEEDY

Acts of Mercy food parcels, August 2021

BENEFICIARIES PACK THEIR OWN FOOD PARCELS. THOSE WHO CAN’T REACH THE SUPERMARKET HAVE THEIRS DELIVERED BY VOLUNTEERS

Fewer food parcels were distributed than in previous months thanks to an increase in Social Relief Distress Grants

KNITTING CLUB

We continue to knit blankets, jerseys and shawls, which are distributed to those in need. A big thank you to the dedicated ladies who do the knitting. Wool is purchased with money kindly donated by supporters.

One of the completed blankets ready to be donated.

HEALTH EDUCATION:

Sister Grace says, “I reached out to the community and encouraged people to get vaccinated against Covid-19. The number of those receiving the vaccine has been amazing for both adults and youth. The local clinic keeps me posted on the availability of vaccines. I stress the importance of taking treatment for chronic conditions, as prescribed and educate family members on health, basic hygiene and access to contraceptives for teenagers.”

Donations, however modest, are hugely appreciated. Funds are spent very carefully. If you would like to help support the poor in the Waterberg, please click here

A beneficiary collecting their food parcel

SUPPORTING LETHABO KID’S CLUB 2015-2021

Lethabo Kid’s Club – a place of fun, food and life lessons has been closed due to Covid Lockdown. They usually come running every Wednesday – 300 to 700 children each week.  It is their special day where they know they ‘belong’. Lethabo means ‘happiness’.

The Waterberg Trust has been supporting Lethabo Kid’s Club’s ‘Back to School’ project since 2015. The aim is to ensure every child is registered to go to school at the beginning of the school year in January by whipping up enthusiasm and ensuring they are equipped with school uniform.

The foundation also aims to:

  1. Teach the children about Jesus, and that He loves them
  2. Provide good nourishing food to supplement sometimes meager diets.

Exciting Bible Stories that teach ‘Jesus loves you’ and life lessons are taught by the older youth and young adults.

Yummy peanut butter and jam sandwiches and fresh farm milk satisfy their hungry tummies. Many may not have had anything to eat all day and this is after school. Eager hands and anxious faces reach out for food.

Special days during the year are ‘Sausage Roll Day’ where each child gets his own sausage roll, yogurt and cool drink. These are lovingly prepared by the local Academy who love participating in this gift to the children. At Christmastime, we give each child a t-shirt, bright and colorful with a special logo on it, such as, “Jesus loves you”, “My best friend is Jesus”, and “Jesus is my Good Shepherd” Psalm 23, and a little lamb. All year, we see older and new t-shirts around the community and at Kid’s Club.

Our biggest project the past few years has been buying school clothes. With so many children in need, we specify ‘one’ thing each – most need shoes or a new school bag. This is so important to them as they are often mocked by other children if their shoes are broken or their shirts are too small or torn. If we determine that a child has a greater need, we buy the whole kit for him. This huge project is sponsored by The Waterberg Trust (TWT) with much love.

Hard-wearing school shoes costing under £10 a pair

Assisting high school matriculants with tertiary studies is a natural outgrowth of Kid’s Club.  Most of these students have grown up in Lethabo Kid’s Club and now are looking forward to getting their futures established. Our organization for this is The Kholofelo Association, ‘Giving Hope to Youth” –  a registered NPO in South Africa. Students are assisted with school fees, accommodation, food and transport where necessary. We’re seeing wonderful growth in them as young adults studying diligently and preparing for jobs as chefs, in tourism, electrical engineering, child care, office management and IT studies. While their courses are not on a university level, they do give a ‘step up’ in qualifying for a job. With only a High School Matric and no experience, they otherwise find themselves without hope.

We’ve spent more than 20 years giving and loving children and youth! Now we see many as young adults with jobs. They always come back to their ‘roots’ at Lethabo Kid’s Club. There is still that sense of ‘belonging’.

We are confident that the children and youth are being taught life lessons which will stay with them all their lives. Will you join us in changing lives! There are a number of different ways you can donate here

News on Food Parcel Distribution in the Waterberg for families in need

Thirty families in need of support in the Waterberg are being visited to ensure they have enough food and essential supplies. Education on basic hygiene measures is also offered. We are helping two child-headed families, some who are chronically ill, a man badly bitten by a dog, women with small children left with no means of support, an old woman with no ID card and many other needy cases.

120 individuals benefited in November and 94 in December 2020

TWT aims to support those who do not receive any social grant money, who are unemployed with no source of income or support, and are in urgent need of help. Those already on the Social Development system have been handed over to a social worker who has provided 18 families with food parcels donated by Shambala Game Reserve.

Nurse Grace works with Choppies supermarket and volunteers from St John’s Church who help to pack food parcels and deliver them to the elderly and those who can’t reach the supermarket due health issues.

We have been able to help those in crisis: thieves broke into one man’s house, stealing all his groceries whilst he was at a funeral. Another man had a fire at his house and needed clothes for his six children.

If you would like to make a donation to The Waterberg Trust Covid-19 Appeal to assist the needy, please click here.

A WIDOW AND HER DAUGHTER BOTH COME FROM LESOTHO HAVE NO ID BOOKS . THE DAUGHTER HAS NEW BORN BABY.  AFTER LOSING HER HUSBAND IN AUGUST 2020, HER INLAWS TOOK THE FURNITURE AND LEFT THEM WITH NO SUPPORT OR FOOD.

Progress!
School children attending school benefit from the feeding scheme program
Those receiving grants are able to buy essential supplies for the family.

Some people are back at work while others now sell produce at the local market
Job opportunities for local community members in various sectors are emerging.

SCHOOL UNIFORM was bought for a boy from a dysfunctional family who now has counseling.
Current Challenges:
Increase in food prices.
Some families arrive late or find it difficult to collect the food.
Four children below the age of 10 are being neglected by their mother due alcohol. The issue has been handed over to social development for intervention.
5 families were abusing social grants. The cases were reported to the social worker.
Some people are becoming dependent on food parcels and do not want to work.

House break-ins and stealing within the community is worrisome with young boys involved in stealing from their parents.
Huge families are unable to feed their dependents.
Re-opening of taverns contributes to insecurity and unnecessary expenditure. This results in many drunken people leaving no food for their family.

Poor living conditions in informal settlements with poor sanitation and no water. Youth hang around quiet streets where they smoke, drink alcohol and abuse substances.
Cases of  gender-based violence resulting in physical injury and assault needed to be reported to the Police station.
One men was severely injured and needed to be taken to hospital.
Teenage pregnancies remain a challenge.

News of Covid-19 shielding from School Nurse Grace in the Waterberg

DAILY DUTIES:

Routine screening of all learners continues to take place before they enter school premises, when temperatures are checked and a register is signed. We ensure pupils are wearing proper uniform and are not carrying any items that can cause danger to other learners. This gives the school nurse an opportunity to identify learners who hide their pregnancy.

All staff members and any guests are also screened to ensure preventative measures are adhered to. Motivational speakers came from different political parties, the Department of Education, private companies and religious leaders who came to motivate learners during this hard time and to encourage them to study so they can achieve their dreams.

This was the last academic term for all schools in South Africa, with final examinations for grade 12’s. All other grades continued to attend in a phased manner, on weekly rotation, writing tests to enable them progress to the next grade.

Earlier in the year, Grade 12 learners in the Waterberg district attended a 10-day preparatory camp, run by the Department of Education, to prepare them for final examinations.

PROGRESS:

  1. Schooling continued without interruptions or problems.
  2. Grade 12’s wrote their examinations successfully.
  3. Social media communication with parents from certain schools helps circulate info, using a WhatsApp group and a Facebook page.
  4. Media learning (through TV and radio) helps learners to study whilst at home. 
  5. Extra classes were provided for learners to ensure they catch up from where they lacked with teachers willing to help.

Regular visits and monitoring of teachers by the Department of Education has ensured they are maintaining teaching standards.

The assistant agent Josias also helped the grade 12 on how to apply for University bursaries with the required information needed. This gave learners more courage and strength for the upcoming final examination.

The Mayor talking to learners at Meetsetshehla Secondary School

CHALLENGES encountered from September to December 2020

  1. Stress and anxiety cases are seen in learners due to pressure of studying for long hours together with a lot of schoolwork and assignments to be completed.
  2. I encountered two cases of teenage girls attempting suicide, one due to family issues and the other in denial to her positive HIV test from the clinic. Counselling sessions were conducted and will continue during the one-week holiday through home visits.
  3. Learners who are abusing drugs are finding it hard to cope with study as they are tired, feel weak and lack concentration.
  4. Some over-age learners are stuck in the junior phase. e.g. A 21-year-old still in grade 8 continues to come to school without progressing. The grandmother who is her carer refuses to allow her to go to a special school. There are several in this category. I plan to address this matter with the School Governing Body (SGB) and School Management Team (SMT) .
  5. Gender-based violence has increased among learners due to petty issues. Those found guilty go to a disciplinary hearing.
  6. Some pregnant learners are hiding pregnancies until a late stage and the policy regarding return to school after delivery is not being followed. I plan to raise this matter with the SGB and SMT.
  7. There is no internet access from the nursing office, therefore, I receive messages late and am unable to communicate with stakeholders on time when invited for meetings, other events or to send reports. The solution has been to provide monthly data.

Challenges due to Covid-19

  1. Some learners remove their masks when in class and some forget them at home.
  2.  No physical activities for learners to keep them busy due to the Corvid restrictions e.g. Sports, gardening and athletics
  3. Little ones from Primary Schools are not coping with wearing of masks and need close assistance.
  4. Some learners are not coping with the phasing of school attendance programme, requiring them to stay at home during rotational schedules.
  5. Some learners dropped out of school and are staying at home and some engaged in bad behavioural acts like drinking alcohol and substance abuse and domestic violence.
Preparing for a home economics class

STATISTICS for September-October when 95 learners were consulted individually:

Medical issues: 25 (Asthmatic, Epilepsy, Dental Abscess, depression, and HIV, Poor Vision and ear infections)

Social Issues: 45 (family problems, lack of support, No food at home and no proper clothes, suicidal attempts, self-stigma, depression

Substance Abuse: 10 (5 from Meetsetshehla and 3 school-dropouts and 2 from Leseding High School)

Counselling: 15 (HIV & Stigma, dangers of substance abuse, teenage pregnancy & how to deal with depression)

Pregnant: 6 (3 Meetsetshehla Secondary School & 3 from Leseding High School)

*********

STATISTICS for November-December when 100 learners were consulted individually:

Medical Issues: 25 (Herpes Zoster, HIV/STI, Dog bite, Asthma, Epilepsy, Visual Impairment)

Social Issues: 35 (Substance abuse, Family issues, no food at home, poor living conditions and lack of parental support)

Counselling: 25 (Depression, HIV Adherence and prevention, Contraception benefits and side effects, ways for substance and alcohol withdrawal Syndrome)

Pregnant: 8 (5 Meetsetshehla and 3 Leseding High Schools)

Minor Issues: 7 (Menstrual issues, Headaches and dizziness)

NOTE: During final term number of learners who consulted were less as they don’t come to school every day when writing exams, they are given time to study at home before writing.

FUTURE PLANS: 

  1. To continue supporting learners who are faced with various challenges
  2. We hope to cooperate with a local pastor to establish a drug rehabilitation centre in Vaalwater, which will benefit many youths who are struggling with addiction.

If you would like to sponsor school children by providing school shoes or washable sanitary pads, please click here

Nurse Grace has been making preparations as schools open in the Waterberg

Nurse Grace profile picture in TWT uniform 2020~School nurse, Sister Grace Ismail~

Schools in South Africa re-opened today, bringing a number of challenges in the light of Covid-19.

Nurse Grace has written to say, “I have been busy preparing schools, to ensure classrooms are cleaned and sanitised, also to plan the screening area for learners.” Masks are obligatory for all – by law.

Ever since schools in South Africa closed in March due to shielding, Sister Grace has been helping pupils with their studies at home. “I am attending to issues and challenges presented by learners. I have been in contact with the social development services to seek help for problems in the community.”

Sister Grace helping learners with studies through Lockdown

-Home schooling in the Waterberg –

Thanks to over fifty kind donors in the UK, who responded to The Waterberg Trust Covid-19 emergency appeal, Grace has been co-coordinating the procurement and distribution of food parcels to the needy, working with volunteers from St John’s Church ‘Acts of Mercy’ initiative. You can read more about this here.

Nurse Grace buying groceries for food parcels

-Nurse Grace purchasing groceries for food parcel donation- 

Grace writes: “The next purchase will second week of June.” If you would like to help with the purchase of food parcels by making a donation, however small, please click here for The Waterberg Trust’s Justgiving site or here to send a cheque.

Winter is on its way, with clear sunny days but temperatures dropping radically at night. “I have been handling clothes to the community which are donated by Horizon and Bulls Eye”. She has also been distributing knitted blankets. “My targets are school children and vulnerable elderly.”

Grace has now returned to work in the schools of the Waterberg, including Meetsetshehla Secondary School, where she is based. If you would like to read more about her work, please click here.

Nurse Grace at Meetsetshehla School in TWT uniform