Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Waterberg Trust Christmas Bazaar 2019

Sarah's Christmas cake

The TWT Christmas Bazaar on Tuesday 11th December went well, helping TWT riders raise funds as the deadline approaches for the TWT Challenge Ride. They will be leaving the UK on 24th January 2019.

Belinda's Beaded dog collars

There were amazing gifts on offer, including B Vibrant’s beaded belts and dog collars. Libby Blakey Interiors brought a fascinating selection of African themed candles, table mats and bags.

Libby's Christmas candles

Other stallholders included Foreman and Dring, The Corner Shop at Woolhampton, Fino Oilve Oil, Polkadot Parsley and the accomplished artist Lale Guralp. Sophie Neville was there signing books and had a selection of greetings cards available:

Rhino cards for sale 2018

TWT supporters made Christmas cakes, damson vodka, apple chutney.

Christmas chutney

Framed pictures and table decorations were also sold to raise funds for projects in the Waterberg.

Christmas wreath by Catherine Lovell

A number of supporters came along to learn how to make Christmas wreaths with The White Horse Flower Company. You can see examples of wreaths made last year by clicking here. If you would like to book a place for 2019, please email bchaffer@btinternet.com

TWT Wreath making 10

We still one of Elfinglen’s beautiful trays and Clive Walker’s South African wildlife prints for sale. If you would like to purchase one, please email bchaffer@btinternet.com

limited-edition-watercolour-of-rhino-on-an-elfinglen-tray

 

The gift of a vegetable garden

The environmental consulting company Environmental Impact Management Services (EIMS), based in Gauteng, has made the astonishing gift of a vegetable garden to aid Nurse Grace in her work teaching life orientation skills at Meetsetshehla Secondary School at Vaalwater in the Waterberg.

Andrew Smith and his team of twenty environmental scientists wanted to contribute to the work of The Waterberg Trust by making a gift of their know-how before spending a weekend in the African bush.

We never guessed that they would arrive with 33 bags of compost.

The staff and pupils gratefully accepted trays of lettuce, spinach, beetroot and onion seedlings as well as a variety of much-needed seeds. ‘I was speechless,’ Nurse Grace said. It was an answer to prayer. They even brought seed markers.

EIMS also donated garden netting, watering cans, tools and ordered treated poles from a local supplier so that pupils could erect shade-netting to protect the seedlings from birds and drying out in the sun.

The team from Environmental Impact Management Services also bought a year-planner and books that provide information and advice on when to plant and how to gain optimum productivity.  Nurse Grace said, ‘We learnt a lot about keeping vegetables healthy and effective planting methods.’

School exams were in progress but the team were able to meet some of the pupils and explain how best to sustain the vegetable garden established by Nurse Grace a year ago. While Meetsstshehla has been acknowledged as a leading Green School in the Limpopo Province, nurse Grace plans to share the vision with other schools that she visits in the Waterberg.

Nurse Grace had time to discuss other plans for the community. Environmental Impact services are generously donating 95 packs of washable sanitary pads so that all the Grade 8 school girls can participate fully in school activities. A team from Dignity Dreams  in Pretoria will come to instruct both boys and girls on menstrual health when exams finish.

~Explaining to guests about our green school project~

 

Andrew Smith said, ‘We have been involved in developing an air quality awareness campaign for one of our clients over the last 12 months. The programme is aimed at education focused specifically on how burning practices in the homes and communities can negatively impact the air we breath. Burning of waste and the use of coal fires in the home for cooking and warmth during winter are some of the issues the campaign focuses on. We have rolled the campaign out in some primary schools as well and we’ve developed puzzles, colouring books, quizzes and drama competitions. We have asked our client whether they will allow us to use the material elsewhere and we’re waiting for their comments. This educational content might be something Nurse Grace, or other teachers, could use during some of the Life Orientation classes.’

~Showing EIMS part of the garden and how we make compost manure from waste~

Andrew Smith's donation 4

If you would like to make a donation towards the creation of a school vegetable garden in the Waterberg or towards multi-use sanitary pads for pupils please click here detailing your wishes. Sets of sanitary packs cost R220  and last for approx 48 months. We are hoping to raise enough money for all the school girls in the Waterberg to be kitted out.

 

News from Lapalala Wilderness School in the Waterberg

Mashudu Makhokha, Director of Lapalala Wilderness School has sent The Waterberg Trust a report on World Rhino Day celebrations.

 

‘I personally cannot describe the absolute joy of the 42 children attending from 21 rural schools and their individual ‘speech’ giving performances on the subject of rhino conservation.’

In addition to the children, the following organizations in this collaborate event clearly illustrate the power of co-operation in our task of EE:
The Endangered Wildlife Trust, My school my village my planet, Bushpigs (WESSA), Save the Waterberg Rhino, the LWS. In attendance was the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, Welgevonden and Lapalala Wilderness Reserve were also present.

A day such as this reminds one of the wealth of talent that resides in our youth who need no more than an opportunity to express themselves. This collaborative effort on the part of all these fine organizations coming together gives one hope for the future of conservation.

The first Prize taken by Thabang Nkoe (Meetsetshehla Secondary School), Second Prize was a taken by Majoki Masenya (Meetsetshehla Secondary School) and Hope Digashu (Kgaba Secondary School), Third Prize taken by
Mpho Ramasobana (Bathokwa Secondary school) and Thapelo Molefe (Bakenberg Secondary School).

In a world where so much seems negative these days we need now and then with events like this, especially with our youth.

This was made possible by donors’ contributions to our programme, which assists us to be effective in helping our children discover the value of biodiversity in our natural world and our place within it and to identify and nurture Africa’s future conservation champions. Through event like this, we are starting to see those future leaders emerging.

Dr Peter Farrant of the Northern Education Trust based in the Waterberg

Dr Peter Farrant, who works with The Waterberg Trust

News from Nurse Grace in the Waterberg

The Waterberg Trust supports Sister Grace, an experienced school nurse based at Meetsetshehla Secondary School just outside Vaalwater in the Waterberg. She has been reporting on the school programme for June 2018, which started well at Mokolo and Mahlasedi Primary Schools.

Grace 21 June 2018.jpg

~Sister Grace helping children of the Waterberg: This little girl has a chronic illness. She’s an orphan living with her granny who wanted to learn how to take her tablets on her own. She is being monitored and we will continue educating her during school holidays~

Primary school children are being screened using the recent tool which the Department of Education has introduced to all schools to identify early learning barriers, physical, social and health challenges. The information will be kept in each child’s file and used together with a transfer letter when they go to secondary school. Those with problems will be referred to the relevant bodies.

Grace Aug 2018 2

~Sister Grace in the classroom~

Secondary school students were visited by the South African Police Service on the opening day of term. They were addressed on security issues. It was emphasized that they need to report any problems to the nearest police station i.e. rape, gender-based violence, abuse etc. This campaign will also be conducted at the primary schools in the next quarter. The police want to ensure the students are well protected and safe whenever they walk to and from school. Pupils were advised not to move during awkward hours without the knowledge of parents.

Grace Aug 2018 5

The Department of Health team came to screen all the Grade 8 students and gave them immunization. Among the team were the nursing sister, the dentist, nutritionist and optometrist. Those who had health issues were referred to the clinic for further management and treatment.

PROGRESS:

  • After-school and weekend classes continue to help students catch up and improve their performance. During the holiday, the Grade 12s from surrounding schools will continue with extra studies in readiness for their final examination.
  • The Grade 12s had an opportunity to go on a career exhibition trip in Lephalale and Welgevonden game reserves and learn how to choose different careers before they go to college and University.
  • The secondary schools have been assessed in readiness for the final Matric examinations and given new center numbers.
  • Families of students who face challenges with food at home were assisted to access food parcels from Social Development Services and will continue to receive these on a monthly basis.
  •  Stake-holders and the community are positive and ready to work with schools.
  • The Student Christian Fellowship continues to meet once a week. More students have come forward to be inspired spiritually.

Grace 3 21 June 2018~Hospitality students learning more about nutrition and food preparation~

CHALLENGES:

  • Overcrowding of students at primary schools, with more than 50 children to one teacher, means it can be difficult to help those who are not coping nor doing well in class. Some schools have more than 1,200 children.
  • The older girls at primary schools have problems coping with menstrual issues so stay home when menstruating and miss out classes unless we issue them with sanitary pads:

Nurse Grace 6

~Pupils receiving sanitary pads donated by TWT~

  • The number of pregnant girls has increased despite all the education about contraceptives, abstinence and complications of teenage pregnancy.
  • The local Government Clinic has shortage of contraceptive pills and those seeking help are being told to buy from the chemist, which is difficult for those without money.
  • Some girls still hide their pregnancy until it is discovered late by the help of the educators.
  • Teenage moms leave their small babies with parents and grannies which may lead them to develop malnutrition.
  • Grannies who look after orphaned children face many challenges supporting them with schoolwork, as they can’t read nor write.
  • Unstable and poor families don’t care about their children’s future.

 

SUCCESS STORIES:

We continue to sustain and manage the vegetable garden that will go a long way in stimulating the interest and passion to these young people:

Grace 5 21 June 2018~Students learning how to grow healthy food~

Grannies who are guardians of orphaned school children from both primary and secondary schools have formed a support group where they meet to share different experiences looking after the orphans.

Grace 4 21 June 2018

~A support group for guardians of orphaned children in Vaalwater~

They meet weekly, do exercises and have a vegetable garden as a source of income generation. Their dream is to participate in sports like netball to help them cope and to accept the loss of their children. They too need to be involved in counseling and education regarding their children’s behavior and performance in schools.

DONATIONS:

Sanitary pads, bras, first-aid dressings and orthopedic shoes were donated by TWT riders and delivered by TWT Chairman Belinda Chaffer.

Bras donated by TWT Riders

The pads and bras were distributed to Leseding Secondary and Mokolo Primary school students. It really made a huge difference, as many girls can’t afford to buy pads.

Grace Aug 2018 1

One pupil needed an operation due dislocated knee caps. She is doing well, can walk with the help of the orthopedic shoes shoes and is attending school. Sister Grace supports her with daily walking exercises. She will go for her check up in September.

MEETINGS:

  • Parents meeting at Leseding Community Hall
  • Meeting with Social Development Services
  • Limpopo Green Schools for the Earth Program by the Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Health event held at Leseding Secondary School about In-School Risk Behavior.

FUTURE PLANS:

  • Continue to offer extra classes for all students to catch up and have enough time to focus on subjects they don’t understand well.
  • To take our Green School Program Club members to Lapalala Wilderness School where they will learn more and be motivated about environmental and nature conservancy.
  • To continue with health education in schools and focus more on early childhood development, teenage pregnancy and substance and alcohol abuse.
  • To continue supporting girls with free sanitary pads, whenever we get donation, to keep them in school.

STATISTICS:

Total number of 67 students personally consulted for:

  • Health – 20 (dental, diarrhea, severe injury, genital sores, urinary infection)
  • Social ­­­­­­­­­­­– 10 (family problems, addiction, stress, no food, teenage fathers)
  • Minor – 15 (headache, period pains, sports injury, dizziness)
  • Counseling – 10 (HIV/S.T.I, drug abuse, care of baby)
  • Pregnancy – 12 (6 Leseding Meetsetshehla Secondary School and 6 Meetsetshehla Secondary School) NOTE: Number of pregnant students went up after a meeting with all the girls was conducted and they were advised to see the school nurse for a checkup. Some were already 7– 8 months pregnant.

101 Grade 12s (60 from Meetsetshehla and 41 from Leseding Secondary Schools) were assisted with Life Orientation healthy topics and were mentored on how they can prepare for their exams and to understand the questions before answering.

HOMEVISITS:

25 family members were reached to assess their home situation and referred to Social Development Services and are currently receiving food parcels. These families were identified through a follow up of some students who raised issues of not having enough food at home and some are on chronic medication.

Compiled by: Grace Ismail (School nurse/Counselor)

If you would like to make a financial donation to help Sister Grace in her work please click here

If you would like to make a donation of sanitary pads or bras, please email sophie@sophieneville.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highlights of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2018

Ant Baber led the fourth Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride, taking a new route across the Waterberg Plateau from Ant’s Nest to Jembisa on the Palala River to the north, covering 187kms on horseback over six days and crossing seven different game reserves.

Team members from the UK and Bermuda had been busy raising sponsorship, 50% of funds going to Save The Waterberg Rhino and 50% to community projects that uplift the people and place of the Waterberg in the Limpopo Province of South Africa

White rhino on Ant's Nest

While we had excellent game viewing, we also enjoyed very good food.

Meals were served in a variety of different settings, enabling the team to get to know each other and have time to chat to guides and directors of the game reserve. It was a true safari, in that we went on a journey through the African bush.

Coming across wild animals made our spirits soar.

We were able to get unusually close both on foot and on horseback.

What the animals thought can only be guessed.

But the riders wrote to say how amazing it was. ‘I think you have a winning formula as the riding is wonderful but all the extra experiences such as the school, youth club, church and visiting Clive Walker, enriched it and made it a truly unique experience and insight into the Waterberg.’

On the second day we had a real life adventure, helping the local vet.

‘It was a truly memorable adventure’

The horses were used to approaching wildlife as they graze with other animals in the bush.

It was high summer in South Africa so the afternoons could get hot and tiring

and the road was sometimes steep

but each day was full of variety

and we developed a huge sense of camaraderie.

‘…it was just pure fun and I felt so carefree’

We each had time to develop a relationship with our horse.

While the herd enjoyed the grazing we loved finding out about the projects supported by The Waterberg Trust.

It was a privilege to meet the local people.

These included exceptional women changing the lives of children.

‘Apart from the riding, we so enjoyed seeing all that The Waterberg Trust supports. There are some incredible people involved.’

We met the conservationist Clive Walker and learned of  what he had achieved for the UNESCO Biosphere and good to hear his new plans for the Waterberg Living Museum.

It was a privilege to be able to watch wild animals from horseback.

The landscape was ever-changing.

After five days in the saddle we reached the Palala River without mishap and thanks to the teams at Ant’s Nest and Jembisa, we were able celebrated the finish in style.

‘It really was a very special trip and a challenge at that.’

Special thanks go to Ant Baber and his family for looking after us and enabling us to ride across the land of their forefathers and beyond.

It was ‘a really amazing experience’.

The horses needed a good rest and the riders were tired but everyone agreed that it had been an incredible week of exploration.

Nurse Grace at work in the schools of Vaalwater: Part 2

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~

 FUTURE PLANS:

  • ‘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