Tag Archives: Africa

Reaching out to those in need in the Waterberg

An ACTS OF MERCY REPORT – MAY 2023

Sister Grace in the Waterberg
Sister Grace in the Waterberg

Sister Grace continues to support those in need in the Waterberg, encouraging families to establish vegetable gardens to supplement to their meals. As school nurse, she encourages kids to return to school, ensuring they don’t get involved in substance abuse prevalent in Leseding Township. Many school girls continued to receive sanitary pads, pens and pencils.

If you would like to support her work and expenses, you can fundraise or make a donation via The Waterberg Trust’s Justgiving page here

PROGRESS:

  • Unemployed youth are attending learnership courses when they earn a salary.
  • School children have access to their daily school feeding scheme.
  • Families are running small businesses selling farm produce, poultry or clothes.
  • Those registered for Government Social Relief Distress grants continue to receive money.
  • Churches visit vulnerable community members, providing food and clothes.
Warm baby clothes made by the knitting club

Vulnerable school children were identified by teachers and supported with donated clothes or Matric school shirts. Food parcels bought from local supermarkets are collected by close family members.

Baby clothes donated to teenage mothers
Baby clothes donated to teenage mothers

Sister Grace continued reaching out to those in need, however some beneficiaries could not be found as it is harvest time and they have been going to the farms to pick peanuts.

Young Mothers in The Waterberg
Young mothers receiving items knitted by the knitting club

CHALLENGES:

  • Poor sanitation and lack of a water supply within the community.
  • Migration has contributed to an already over-populated community.
  • There are too many potholes to reach those living in informal settlements.
  • Small children are involved in smoking drugs, gambling and avoid going to school.
  • People buy alcohol instead of food for their family. This is a huge problem.
  • Gender-based violence caused by alcohol abuse affects children.
Food parcels for the needy collected by relatives

If you would like to support the needy by making a donation, funds can be sent to The Waterberg Trust in the UK who organise Gift Aid. We have a Justgiving page and can accept cheques or CAF donations.

We would like to thank members of St John’s Church who donated items and guests from Horizon for their ongoing support. The donations make a huge impact on the community.

Report By: Grace

making donations
Distributing donations to the needy in the Waterberg

Help provided for schools of the Waterberg in South Africa

The Waterberg Trust continues to reach out to schools and attend to learners needs. Many learners struggle to read and spell properly when enrolled in High School. Sister Grace is drafting a roster for primary schools to help pupils improve their reading before reaching secondary school. She referred 145 teenagers to the local Government Clinic to help reduce unplanned pregnancy and checks up on teenage mums and supports those who need adherence monitoring – although roads are in bad state after the rains. 

Schools of the Waterberg

Sister Grace says, “I reached out to all the schools to educate pupils about alcohol & substance abuse, bullying, puberty & menstrual issues and general hygiene. These were sessions were planned with teachers to meet each class separately on an allocated schedule.”

Sister Grace donating packs of eco-sanitary pads in schools fo the Waterberg

Learners consulted individually: 355

Pregnant – 10 (4 at Meetsetshehla & 6 at Leseding High School)

Social Issues – 45 (poor living environment, poverty, dysfunctional families, and orphans)

Learning problems – 65 (Those struggling to meet requirements due to visual impairment or chronic conditions who are repeating same grade several times.)

Counseling – 35 (Provided for those taking ARV’s, anti-epileptics, anti-depressants or suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, severe dysmenorrhea, sexual abuse or bereavement.)

Medical Issues – 45 (Asthma, HIV, epilepsy, depression/anxiety, otitis media, dental infection, chronic tropical ulcers and common skin allergies.) All these conditions were seen at different schools.

Obesity – 10 (were referred to see the dietician. They are monitored every 2 weeks.)

If you would like to support Sister Grace’s amazing work, TWT can accept donations on Justgiving in eight different currencies

Leaping obstacles facing schools of the Waterberg

PROGRESS:

The primary school has since merged with Mokolo Primary School with additional container classrooms provided. The total number of learners merged was 240 to Mokolo School which now has a total of 1,316 children.

  • Matric results for 2022 came out. Many did well and passed. Those who failed have been given an opportunity to repeat or/and be assisted to rewrite their final exams.
  • Learners are kept at school longer to attend extra classes.
  • The circuit office for Vaalwater introduced a prize giving initiative to honor and award learners who performed well.  Teachers and schools with a high percentage pass rate (this includes both Primary & High Schools) were also recognized.
  • Prizes given were certificates, trophies. Laptop computers were given to those who performed best.
  • New teachers are filling vacant posts.
  •  Schools conducted inter-school athletics at District level and received awards
  • Grade 12’s attended a career guidance camp.
  • Some school leavers were given in internships in farming & poultry production. Others have been placed in surrounding schools to assist teachers and learners. They get a monthly stipend. Contracts run from 8 to 12 months.
  • A snake handling course was held.
Sister Grace teaching Life Skills in the secondary schools of the Waterberg
Sister Grace teaching Life Skills in the secondary schools of the Waterberg

WE DONATED 300 WASHABLE ECO-SANITARY PADS TO NEWLY ENROLLED GRADE 8s FROM LESEDING AND MEETSETHSEHLA HIGH SCHOOLS. THE DONATION WILL HELP KEEP GIRLS AT SCHOOL WITHOUT MISSING CLASSES DUE TO MENSTRUAL ISSUES. MANY COME FROM POOR FAMILY BACKGROUNDS AND CANNOT AFFORD TO BUY SANITARY PADS.

THANK YOU FOR THIS WONDERFUL DONATION

We will need more next year! If you are able to make a donation, however small, you can find our details on the TWT Donate page here

The Waterberg Trust has found sponsorship for every school girl to receive a pack of Dignity Dreams eco-pads

CHALLENGES:

  • Protests by the community due to lack of transport for learners to school. Many learners had to miss classes for 3 weeks
  • Overcrowding of learners due to merging of a primary school which was moved from privately owned land.
  • Inadequate toilets to accommodate the high numbers of learners.
  • Shortage of staff in surrounding farm schools .
  • Poor communication channels between schools and stakeholders.
  • Undisciplined learners who come to school whenever it suits them.

MATRIC RESULTS FOR 2022:

Leseding High School = 97% Now the leading School in the Vaalwater Circuit

Mohlakamotala High School = 79.7%

Meetsetshehla High School = 60.2%

HEALTH EDUCATION:

Schools of the Waterberg reopened on the 11th January 2023. Some were not ready due to various challenges: there were no busses to transport learners to school, toilets were inadequate and there was a closure of a primary school located on privately owned land.

New classrooms being delivered to Mokolo Primary School

Could you help change lives in the Waterberg, South Africa?

                            

Sister Grace distributing packs of Dignity Dreams eco-sanitary pads in secondary schools of the Waterberg
Sister Grace distributing packs of Dignity Dreams eco-sanitary pads in secondary schools of the Waterberg

ACTS OF MERCY REPORT FOR JANUARY 2023

Sister Grace writes from the Waterberg: “I managed to assist beneficiaries identified this month and moved into one of St John’s Church cottages, which I am renting.” The adjoining church cottage will be used for the Knitting Club, as a counseling room for those going through family problems, and for those who need treatment or adherence support. The cottage can also be used for church related work or by church members who might need a quiet place.

Sister Grace at work in the Waterberg
A meeting held at St John’s Church cottage in Vaalwater

“Since I moved in, I managed to rescue five teenage boys who were addicted to alcohol and involved in substance abuse who are currently placed in different schools. They come once a week to show me their schoolwork and for ongoing counseling. These are boys come from poor family backgrounds where parents are alcoholics. Some are orphans. The matter was referred to the social worker for further intervention.”

Church cottage meeting room in Vaalwater
Church Cottage meeting room in Vaalwater

THE COTTAGE IS WELL SET UP WITH A KITCHEN WITH CUPS, GLASSES AND KETTLE.

Should you need to use it you may contact Sister Grace.

The garden at St John’s Church Cottage in Vaalwater

PROGRESS:

  • Short term job creation has provided opportunities for the youth
  • Social Relief grants were extended. Many are receiving the money on monthly basis
  • Political party leaders and organizations distribute food parcels to needy families
A nutritious sauce made from vegetables grown in a school vegetable garden

CHALLENGES:

  • Dysfunctional families continue to misuse child grants
  • Some foreigners fear accessing medical care due to rumors that they must pay for services or that they might be forced to return without help. This increases poor adherence to chronic medication.
  • Teenage pregnancy remains a big issue in our community. Babies are looked after by grannies when the moms go back to school.
  • Little has been done to clamp down on those selling drugs to the youth. Many lives are destroyed at a tender age with teenagers dropping out of school.
Produce grown in a school vegetable garden
Produce grown in a school vegetable garden

GOOD NEWS:

FOOD PARCELS WERE BOUGHT AND DISTRIBUTED to four families and a man involved in a car accident who is unable to walk.

Food purchased by TWT and distributed to the needy in January 2023
Food purchased by TWT and distributed to the needy in January 2023

KNITTING CLUB: We intend to start knitting blankets and beanies before winter starts and need more wool donated. It can be dropped off at the Farmers’ Hall or church cottages in town.

Clothes being donated to grandmothers in the Waterberg
Clothes being donated to grandmothers in the Waterberg

WE DONATED CLOTHES TO GRANNIES AND NAPPIES TO A TEENAGE MUM

Sister Grace donating nappies for a baby born to a teenager mother
Sister Grace donating nappies for a baby born to a teenager mother

SCHOOL UNIFORM: Sister Grace is working hand in hand with teachers to identify those who need uniform support and shoes. We received a gift of pens and pencils as well as clothes.

Sister Grace gathering butternuts grown in a TWT School Vegetable Garden sponsored by EIMS

SCHOOL VEGETABLE GARDENS: Thanks to sponsorship from EIMS, these are yielding impressive crops. Produce is used for cookery classes and school dinners.

Sister Grace gathering butternuts grown in a TWT School Vegetable Garden sponsored by EIMS
A TWT School Vegetable Garden sponsored by EIMS

We would like to thank all those who donated various items towards the Acts of Mercy. May God bless you all.

If you wold like to support these small but life-changing projects, you can find more information on our HOW TO DONATE page. Even small gifts can make a huge difference.

Sister Grace donating packs of eco-sanitary pads in schools fo the Waterberg

Grateful for sponsorship for our school vegetable gardens

Kind donations from TWT sponsors Environmental Impact Management Services

The final term of the academic year 2022 saw lots going on with Matric examinations, a career exhibition, educational camps and parents’ meetings.

The Department of Education rolled out a circular which stated that all learners must be kept at school, motivated and provided with extra lessons. In previous years, learners would stay home to study whenever they were not writing exams, but many would be seen roaming the streets and others were distracted by noise within the community. Parents were informed and we all agreed that learners must get extra lessons and not miss school.

All grade 12’s managed to attend education camps to prepare them well before they wrote their final exams. They had to go in divided groups with the top achievers followed by the lower achievers. During that time many learners faced challenges due to the pressure of study. Some grew fatigued and depressed. Sister Grace provided pre-exam counseling and provided coping mechanisms.

SEEDLINGS, COMPOST AND SHADE NETTING WAS DONATED BY ANDREW SMITH OF ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT MANAGEMENT SERVICES (EIMS)

PROGRESS:

  • Exams went well without any interruptions within surrounding schools.
  • Dedicated teachers worked longer hours to support learners with extra classes, working over weekends.
  • The Department of Education introduced a Spelling Bee in schools to help learners improve their English vocabulary as some learners are not able to understand nor spell English words. The Spelling Bee Club members meet twice a week after class.
  • Some leaners attended a free computer course funded by Afrika Tikkun in partnership with the Waterberg Welfare Society.
  • Learners who attended computer lessons received certificates at the Farmer’s Hall when various stakeholders were present.
  • 300 reusable sanitary towel packs were distributed to new grade 8 learners at Meetsetshehla and Leseding High Schools in in January 2023.
  • Each school has a vegetable garden which helps to supplement the feeding scheme and is used by students taking a course in catering.
  • Learners continue to enjoy balanced meals from school feeding schemes. These help many from disadvantaged families.

MAHLASEDI, MOKOLO AND MEETSHTSHEHLA BENEFICIARIES ACKNOWLEDGED THE RECEIPT OF DONATED SEEDLINGS AND COMPOST. IT WAS A MOMENT OF EXCITEMENT!

THE CIRCURT MANAGER WAS IMPRESSED BY THE SCHOOL PROGRAMME AS SHE WITNESSED ITEMS BEING DONATED TO VARIOUS SCHOOLS AND THANKED THE DONORS FOR THE KIND SUPPORT

Members of The Environmental Club volunteering to grow veggies

CHALLENGES:

  • A lack or shortage of learning resources such as computers
  • Broken doors and windows
  • Shortage of teachers
  • Some schools will be merged with other schools which will lead to overcrowding and difficulties for teachers
  • Unemployed school leavers could not access study bursaries and are currently sitting at home doing nothing
  • Some learners have dropped out of school while others continue to abscond classes.
  • Some learners are not coping due to peer pressure and poor family backgrounds.
  • Some continued to abuse alcohol and other substances within the school premises
Community workers keep the school veggie gardens watered during the holidays

LEARNERS WITH VARIOUS ISSUES DURING THIS TERM = 120

PREGNANT – 6 (3 FROM MEETSHETSHLA & 3 LESEDING SCHOOLS)

MENSTURAL ISSUES – 30 (girls with dysmenorrhea. Pads and counseling were provided)

CONTRACEPTIVES – 29 (were referred to the clinic and reproductive health education)

ADHERENCE SUPPORT – 15 (on chronic medication ie: HIV, Antipsychotics & depression)

MEDICAL AILMENTS – 25 (Post abortion sepsis, anxiety, depression, asthma, migraine headaches & mental health)

SOCIAL ISSUES – 15 (Poor family support, alcoholism, age discrimination, poverty & food insecuritY)

NOTE: MORE LEARNERS WERE REACHED IN THEIR CLASSES FOR ASSISTANCE WITH HEALTH TOPICS RELATED TO LIFE ORIENTATION ie. Reproductive health, nutrition, bullying and risks of teenage pregnancies.

Sister Grace teaching Life Skills in the secondary schools of the Waterberg

FUTURE PLANS:

Sister Grace will continue to support learners from surrounding schools and motivate them about the importance of education and hard work while running the recycling project, gardening and providing health education. She will also continue to liaise with stakeholders and teachers to improve learning in schools.

Very many thanks go to

Andrew Smith and his team from Environmental Impact Management Services for their kind donations which brought inspiration, joy and encouragement.

Produce grown in a school vegetable garden
Produce grown in a TWT school vegetable garden 2023

If you can offer help or make a donation we have more information on TWT’s Donate page

TWT also has a Justgiving page

Small amounts can make a huge difference and any funds are spent carefully.

A kind donation of Dignity Dreams eco-washable sanitary packs were presented to every girl entering secondary school in the Waterberg

Highlights of 2022

Covid-19 screening continued

As the year 2022 began, our school nurse, sister Grace was still busy checking pupils for Covid-19 every morning and face-masks were compulsory.

Sister Grace in the Waterberg
Sister Grace in the Waterberg

She continues to lead a busy life attending to first aid and a range of medical problems.

Talks on health form part of the life studies curriculum, covering sex education, HIV prevention and awareness, hygiene and food choices.

The Pretoria based charity Dignity Dreams have produced the book My Body #Noshame to be used with the distribution of washable eco-sanitary pads donated to every secondary school girl so they do not need to miss lessons.

Sister Grace has been able to help teens who have fallen pregnant, providing advice and resources.

She involved volunteers in local recycling projects.

Members of the environment club have also been maintaining the school vegetable gardens.

A range of nutritious greens were grown, providing food for the school feeding scheme and hotel and catering lessons. There were watered over the school holidays by community workers.

Outside of school, Sister Grace helped volunteers prepare and distribute food parcels for needy families.

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

The Knitting Club in Vaalwater made some beautiful jerseys, hats and blankets.

The kind donation of a hand-knitted jersey

These were much appreciated over the South African winter when nights are cold.

Hats provided by the Vaalwater Knitting Club
Sister Grace working in Leseding Township

Other clothes were provided for those in need.

Trustees and supporters of The Waterberg Trust in the UK have been busy raising funds to finance these grass-roots projects that help and inspire so many. If you would like to take part or make a donation, please click here for our address and more information.

TWT North Norfolk Cycle Ride 2022
TWT’s fundraising cycle ride in the UK, 2022

Ideas for Christmas gifts that benefit people of the Waterberg

Would you like to make a donation to charity instead of giving or receiving a Christmas or Birthday present?

Here are a number of helpful gifts – that keep on giving:

  • £5 will buy seedlings for a school vegetable garden – enabling pupils to learn how to grow food. The produce is made into nutritious school dinners or used in cookery classes by vocational Hotel and Catering courses. School vegetable gardens are watered and maintained by community workers over the holidays.
Help schools grown peppers, spinach, tomatoes, garlic, carrots and kale.
  • £7 will buy enough wool to knit 7 childrens’ hats – effectively keeping the disadvantaged warm. This gift is a great encouragement to volunteers of the Waterberg Knitting Club who obtain wool at wholesale prices to produce blankets and warm clothing for the needy. They are distributed by nursing Sister Grace when she conducts home visits and pave the way for her to help the needy.
The Vaalwater Knitting Club
Hats to keep children of the Waterberg warm
  • £10 will buy a pair of hard-wearing school shoes – equipping disadvantaged pupils and encouraging parents to register their children for school at the beginning of the academic year in January. This results in children walking to school with enthusiasm and prevents a ‘street kid’ culture developing. It is carefully administered by volunteers running Lethabo Kids Club in the township of Leseding.
Girl's school shoes in South Africa
School shoes worn in South Africa
  • £12 will equip a school-girl with sanitary protection while she is in secondary school. Packs of washable eco-pads made by Dignity Dreams, a not-for-profit NGO thats provide sewing-at-home work for women in Pretoria, are distributed by a school nurse after pupils receive a talk on puberty and the importance of contraception. We want to equip every girl in the region so that they do not share pads or miss lessons. This gift encourages communication with the school nurse who is trying to reduce teenage pregnancy that instills poverty and limits girls from reaching their potential.
Dignity Dreams eco-sanitary pads that come in sets of six
  • £15 will buy a food parcel to feed a needy family for a week – food purchased at competitive prices is packed by volunteers and carefully distributed to about fifty needy people in the community every month. It is usually the chronically ill, the elderly, orphans and or very young single parents who benefit, along with needy people who do not qualify for official social security support for some reason. Local farmers add to the food parcels when they can. Food parcel distribution opens the door for additional nursing support with advice on health and hygiene.
Food parcels for the needy
  • £110 will send a pupil on a 5-day residential course at Lapalala Wilderness School – this grants a fantastic opportunity for a promising student to learn about ecology, achieve good academic results and find out about careers in wildlife conservation. It is one of the best ways of promoting understanding about the importance of anti-poaching.
Students learning about conservation at Lapalala Wilderness School in the Waterberg

Many of these gifts benefit schools of the Waterberg and encourage volunteers.

THANK YOU for funding The Waterberg Trust and the projects we support.

Donating through JustGiving works well as UK Gift Aid is automatically claimed and they accept 8 different currencies. Please click here and specify what gift you would like to chose.

donate_white Justgiving button

There are a number of other ways you can donate listed on our website here.

If you would like a card with details of the gift that you can give away, please leave a comment in the comments below and we will get back to you.

Continued support for the needy in the Waterberg

REPORT FOR JULY – AUGUST 2022

Hats provided by the Vaalwater Knitting Club
Children of the Waterberg receiving wooly winter hats from the Knitting Club

Dr Peter Farrant says that Sister Grace continues to do excellent work at various schools in the community. “She is doing home based care, home visits to teenage mums, counselling and support of those struggling with substance abuse, those that are homeless and destitute. This report barely covers the surface of her activity. She attends the schools during school hours. I work with her in a supportive role and also supervise the treatment and therapy as well as monitor the monthly spending and examine the bank account each month.”

The Waterberg Trust
Sister Grace working in schools of the Waterberg

DUTIES:  

Sister Grace has continued to support those needing help and was able to monitor the sick. She distributed donated clothes and disposable sanitary pads to teenage girls.

Some previous beneficiaries have managed to get employed on farms, while others have been helped to start small businesses in poultry, livestock or informal trading by the Department of Agriculture’s subsidy to empower local community members. The beneficiaries who received support applied to the Department of Agriculture. In each and every location there’s a vegetable garden, chickens and livestock.

20220815_152435.jpg

FOOD PARCELS WERE BOUGHT AND COLLECTED

Gifts of clothing

 DONATED CLOTHES AND SANITARY PADS.

MORE PHOTOS ARE AVAILABLE ON POWERPOINT PRESENTATION

Sister Grace working in Leseding Township
Sister Grace donating blankets in Leseding Township in the Waterberg

CLOTHES TO CHILDREN AND ADULTS IN LESEDING TOWNSHIP

CHALLENGES:

  • The sale of alcohol and loud music in the township disrupts learners busy studying and preparing for exams.
  • The Department of Home Affairs is reluctant to renew work permits due to expire by December 2022 ,which causes job insecurity for foreigners.
  • Increase in numbers of teenage pregnancies. Babies are looked after by guardians at home but are vulnerable to malnutrition and illness.
  • Regular community theft by teenage youths who do not attend school and are under the influence of substance abuse and alcohol consumption
  • Increased prices of essential supplies including food makes it difficult for those with low incomes to provide for their families
School girls receiving donations to end period poverty

PROGRESS:

  • Local job opportunities and Social Relief Grants continue to benefit the community.
  • Learners who go to school have access to daily meals from the schools feeding scheme.
  • Guests who visit the surrounding lodges have donated clothes and sanitary pads which have been distributed to those in need or to learners.
  • Locals are benefiting from a recycling project and are able to earn an income after selling the recyclable materials i.e. bottles, card boxes, paper and tins etc

KNITTING CLUB:

A donation of £1 can provide enough wool to knit a hat for a child in need.

The Vaalwater Knitting Club
We continue knitting to bless others

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

I would like to thank St John The Baptist Church at 24 Rivers, guests from various lodges and individuals who have contributed so much towards the Acts of Mercy Charity which continues to help many people from the community regardless of nationality or cultural beliefs. This has made a huge impact. May God bless you all.

Nursing Sister Grace’s salary is provided by The Waterberg Trust who can accept financial donations in the UK and redeem Gift Aid. You can find different ways of how to make a donation here. Do specify how you wish your donation to be spent, if you like.

Donations of bras and wool are much appreciated if you find yourself going to the Waterberg.

A donated blanket hand-knitted in Vaalwater

News from Vaalwater in the Waterberg

Food parcels distributed in Vaalwater from May to June 2022

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.

A donation of beautiful dresses. Boys received jeans or shoes.

CHALLENGES:

  • 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.
Ending period poverty

PROGRESS:

  • 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 Ismail in the Waterberg
Sister Grace Ismail in the Waterberg

FUTURE PLANS:

  • 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.

The gift of a new dress

MANY THANKS TO ALL THOSE WHO KEEP DONATING CLOTHES WHICH HELP THE NEEDY CHILDREN AND ADULTS

If you would like to make a financial donation to help this amazing work proceed, please click on TWT’s Donate page for details here

This work is privately funded and supported by the Church of St John the Baptist at 24 Rivers in the Waterberg

Volunteers collect food parcels from the local supermarket

An end to period poverty in schools of the Waterberg in South Africa

Learners receiving a donation of sanitary pads so they do not miss lessons. They have each received a set of eco-pads with advice that has transformed their lives.

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. “

Accepting a donation of school bags

SCHOOL REPORT FROM APRIL – JUNE 2022

DAILY TASKS:  

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.”

Sister Grace

PROGRESS:

  • 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.
Community members growing food for the school feeding scheme

CHALLENGES:

  • 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.
A learner who is bravely coming for counseling for substance abuse
  • 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.
Learners at Meesetshela Secondary School prepare seed beds before planting veggies

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.

A pregnant learner receiving a donation of baby clothes

MATERIAL SUPPORT:

“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

Some of the clothing donated to primary schools this winter

MEETINGS:

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.”

A learner expecting a baby receives a donation

STATISTICS:

TOTAL NUMBER OF LEANERS SEEN INDIVIDUALLY: 120

PREGNANT: 5 – 3 at Meetsetshehla & 2 at Leseding High School.

MEDICAL: 20 – Asthma, Epilepsy, Arthritis, depression, chronic nasal bleeding & HIV.

SOCIAL ISSUES: 30 – Poor family support, improper home environment, alcoholic parents & no food at home.

MINOR ISSUES: 20 – Menstruation, common colds, headaches, toothache, dizziness, rashes.

ADHERENCE SUPPORT: 10 – ARVS, Epilepsy, asthma, antidepressant & HIV medications.

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.

Swollen hands make it difficult for this learner to hold a pencil

FUTURE PLANS:

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.

A gift of school bags

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

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.

Compiled by: Grace

School vegetable gardens are doing well

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.