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 North Norfolk bike ride 2022 held on Saturday 7th May 2022
Grey skies and Great Northern’s cancellation of trains from Cambridge to Kings Lynn was not the most auspicious of starts for the TWT 2022 North Norfolk fundraising cycle ride.
But Barry, plus trailer, and several cars with racks, meant we were in good time for a scrumptious welcome at Kings Lynn with the famous Franklin’s homemade scotch eggs, croissants, hot tea and coffee.
After much munching, chatting and two puncture repairs, the assembled throng of 30 cyclists, in three variable speed teams, were ready for the off.
Following Route 1, we wound our way north up the cycle paths of Lynn til breaking open countryside at the charming village of Castle Riding.
Passing spectacular views of spires and coastal meadows, we entered the Sandringham estate. Only Barry and part of the ‘C Team’ found time to scale the walls for a cheeky view of the Queen’s garden.
The sun shone, legs were fresh and the slight northerly breeze didn’t dampen anyone’s high spirits as they headed north up and down country lanes to our first pit stop at Ringstead Down. Tea and Dutch currant buns, flapjacks and bananas recharged riders young and old as they met up. Much refreshed, the faster A and B teams headed East as the Barry and the back markers arrived.
Taking the narrow inland road that runs parallel to the main coastal road, we passed just a single tractor, before rounding Burnham Market and reaching The Lord Nelson at Burnham Thorpe for the second pitstop. Some were keen to push on for lunch while others took the opportunity to sample some Norfolk ale.
The route took us through the Holkham estate with its long drives, obelisks and landscaped parkland.
From Wells, much to the consternation of the purist road cyclists, route 1 cut cross country up to Wighton. A puncture or two later we emerged to witness the results of the impressive Wighton scarecrow competition.
From there, a mere two hops via the Piper-esque ruins of Binham Priory to Langham and lunch hosted by Sarah Burles.
After much needed refuelling and regaling, cyclists chose their afternoon: relax at Langham, back to Kings Lynn by car, or cycle or onward to Cromer.
It was a hardy dozen that braved a chilly Norfolk fret that blew in over the coastal hills across Felbrigg Hall.
Sadly not the seaside ice-creams by the pier we’d envisaged but cups of hot tea, biscuits and cake from the back of the Whitbreads’ support vehicle.
The route back cross country proved a navigational challenge for Tusa’s A-Team, but included the rhododendron rides of Sheringham Park and steam engines along the North Norfolk railway.
It was just after 7pm that the last riders made it back to Barry and Sarah’s where the after party was well under way with bottles of Italian wines and cauldrons of chilli-con/senza-carne.
Almost £8,000 was raised by the gallant riders for The Waterberg Trust
You can see photos of the projects in the Waterberg that will be supported here
A massive thank you to all the support crews and meal providers. Can’t wait until next year: Saturday 6th May 2023. See you there!
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO TAKE PART IN THE WATERBERG TRUST NORTH NORFOLK BIKE RIDE NEXT YEAR, PLEASE LEAVE YOUR EMAIL IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW
“Thanks, Barry and William for such a great ride yesterday, and to Sarah and Jane and all others for wonderful support and hospitality.” Andrew Tusa
“Loved every bit of it. Great day. Great route, superb organisation, fantastic rescue team, amazing scotch eggs, wonderful people, inspiring cause. Thank you all at Waterberg Trust. Have booked out every weekend in May for next year.” Nick Froi
Very many thanks to you Barry for pushing this hard and getting us all involved and for raising a very decent sum for such a good cause. Loved being part of it this year and look forward to next! Thank you to everyone else for making it such an enjoyable day – from have the reassurance of back up to the delicious spread at the end of it. Ivor
“‘C Group’ knew its place in the pecking order, free of aspiration or status we had immense fun!“ James Bradley
“Thank you everyone for a great day out and hope we raised lots for The Waterberg Trust :)“ Benjamin Aluwihare
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.
Dr Peter Farrant of the Northern Education Trust reports that January and February 2022 have been a very busy time with all sorts of challenges in the schools and the community. As Covid slows down, there is a slow return to normal life. “The uptake of vaccine in the community has been good and, consequently, the severity of infections of Covid has declined.”
ACTS OF MERCY REPORT JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 2022
Sister Grace worked in collaboration with local stakeholders to ensure necessary requirements and social support was provided for 43 people in need. The Department of Social Development referred some families to us as they had no supplies. Others were referred by local religious leaders who asked us to help those in dire need. On being contacted, each beneficiary goes to the supermarket to collect their food parcel.
Sister Grace liaises with church elders and reassess beneficiaries before providing support. “I come across challenges like loss of shelter due to rain, no food or essential supplies, and orphaned children left with no proper guardians to look after them.” Other issues have been violence-related due to misunderstandings, with youngsters involved in domestic theft, alcohol and substance abuse. “I noticed that many children who live with secondary guardians lacked proper care. Their social grants are being misused.”
Insecurity in our community is on the rise, which has led to houses being broken into and belongings being stolen
Increase in teenage pregnancies. Girls aged between 14 – 20 are expecting and drop out of school
Social grants are mismanaged: funds intended for buying food are used for gambling and alcohol
Youth with addictions have no access to rehabilitation due to lack of funds. As a result they still roam within the community, abusing drugs such as glue, smoking nyaope, and sharing injections. Those addicted are between the ages of 10 -20 years.
Increase of prices for essential supplies and food stuffs including clothing.
Inadequate food supplies from the Department of Social Development.
I do face difficulties reaching out to many families due to damaged roads but am able to call or send someone to deliver messages and food.
WHAT WE ARE DOING:
Helping teenage school girls who fall pregnant
“TEENAGE MOMS HAVE BEEN BLESSED WITH BLANKETS AND BABY EQUIPMENT. ALL ATTEND DIFFERENT SCHOOLS.”
“TEENAGE PREGNANCY IS HUGE PROBLEM IN OUR COMMUNITY. MANY OF THESE GIRLS DON’T WANT TO USE CONTRACEPTIVES REGARDLESS OF ALL THE REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH EDUCATION OFFERED TO THEM.”
ONE MOZAMBICAN NATIONAL WAS UNAPPROACHABLE, AFFECTED BY MENTAL ILLNESS, UNTILL WE INTERVENED AND SENT HIM FOR MEDICAL HELP.
Sister Grace says, ‘I collect his medication from the clinic every month to ensure he doesn’t default treatment.’ He now seems to be doing well
“THIS MAN LIVES IN A SHACK WHICH WAS BLOWN AWAY BY WIND AND HEAVY RAIN. I PROVIDED FOOD AND A BLANKET BEFORE REFERRING HIM TO THE SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT FOR ASSISTANCE WITH PROPER SHELTER.”
“I am thankful for the sanitary pads and clothes donated by Horizon guests, which I was able to distribute to those in need. The sanitary pads benefited school girls who received them with gratitude as they will not miss out classes due to menstrual issues.”
The Department of Social Development managed to provide food parcels to those with valid identification documents.
The work of The Waterberg Trust is being added by a Knitting Club in Vaalwater who have been making blankets and clothing for the needy. Please let us know if you would like to donate money for us to purchase wool, at a reduced price, in the comments below.
ACTS OF MERCY REPORT DECEMBER 2021
Dr Peter Farrant writes to say: “Grace has been busy in the community as you will see. We were able to distribute some seven bed bases and mattresses to deserving people…a lodge in Welgevonden was up grading, and a member of our community assisted with mattresses. Food inflation is a significant problem. The support is therefore needed. Many thanks for the support you give…it is greatly appreciated.”
Upon identifying those in need Sister Grace bought food parcels and essential supplies during the festive season. She writes to say: “I did my normal assessments in a different way through telephonically and referrals from the community due the rising numbers of Covid 19 cases… This time I did not invite more people to the supermarket but bought food and sent volunteers to deliver it to avoid overcrowding.” She supported a grieving family, who sadly lost a teenager, with a food parcel as the mother is unemployed and had no source of income.
We had 78 beneficiaries this month.
Neglected family members being left without any support, food or shelter. Some beneficiaries abuse social grants intended for buying food. Instead they use the money to buy alcohol or for gambling, which means they have no food for their family
Increase in alcohol and substance abuse leading to Gender Based Violence and Community theft
Unattended children roaming the streets. One child aged two years was found on the street alone. He was handed over to the local police station for identification as he couldn’t talk.
Some elderly parents live alone without primary caregivers and some of are on medication which needs supervision.
Poor adherence in some mentally ill patients. They do not understand the proper dosage for their treatment
To ensure that the community, various church leaders and other stakeholders are involved in the Acts of Mercy Activities. i.e. to assist those who are homeless, reunite homeless people with their families and provide appropriate shelter.
The knitting club will continue to knit blankets and warm beanies before winter.
Sister Grace will engage with families who are neglecting their chronically ill patients and encourage them to support, provide basic needs and ensure they take their medication regularly, as prescribed.
She will continue to educate families about the importance of being responsible, help them to understand the purpose of social grants, and to refer those with ID documents to Social Development to be registered in the system.
She would like to express appreciation all those who donated clothes, sanitary pads, beds and finances to the Acts of Mercy.
We would like to thank local people for their kind donations of food, clothing and household items.
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.
Sister Grace revisited existing beneficiaries this September and October, identifying those needing help and support in the Waterberg region.
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.”
Some beneficiaries send family members or friends to collect food parcels on their behalf.
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.
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.
Many learners have access to daily meals at various schools and are occupied with their studies.
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:
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.
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.