Tag Archives: South Africa

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.

News from schools of the Waterberg

SCHOOL REPORT FROM JANUARY TO MARCH 2022

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.”

LEARNERS BEING SCREENED BEFORE CLASS. THOSE WITH CHICKEN POX or SCABIES ARE SENT HOME

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. 

CHALLENGES:

ADDRESSING LEARNERS ON DANGERS OF GENGER BASED VIOLENCE AND BULLYING AT SCHOOL AND WITHIN THEIR COMMUNITY
  • 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

PROGRESS:

  • 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

Sister Grace in the Waterberg

FUTURE PLANS:

  • 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

Explaining how to use washable sanitary pads

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.

MANY THANKS!

Even very small amounts of money go a long way to help the people of the Waterberg and enable learners to achieve their dreams.

2022 news from the Waterberg

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.”

Nursing Sister Grace Ismail working in the Waterberg

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.

If you would like to make a donation to help, please click here for more information

Collecting food parcels for the needy

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.”

Purchasing food for food parcels for those in need

CHALLENGES:

  • 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

A knitted blanket was donated to a 14 year old expecting a baby

“TEENAGE MOMS HAVE BEEN BLESSED WITH BLANKETS AND BABY EQUIPMENT. ALL ATTEND DIFFERENT SCHOOLS.”

The kind donation of a hand-knitted jersey

“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.”

Re-gaining health in the Waterberg

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

A man whose home blew down in the storm

“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.”

DONATIONS:

“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.

Even very small donations go a long way in the Waterberg where funds are carefully monitored by Dr Peter Farrant. There are different ways you can give detailed on our website here.

PLANS:

As we have moved to level 1 of lockdown restrictions, many people are back at work. Some are receiving the Social Relief Grants to enable them to provide food for their families.

“I will continue to reach out to those who are in great need and encourage those with income to spend it on basic needs instead of alcohol and gambling.”

Learners have access to daily meals from all surrounding school’s feeding schemes.

“I will continue regular meetings with the local Police Victim Support Unit, religious leaders and with social workers to ensure community members have access to services they need.”

FOOD PURCHASED FOR THE NEEDY by TWT Donors

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

Sister Grace monitoring the development of a baby

The Board of The Waterberg Trust met this week to review projects being supported in the Waterberg region of South Africa.

One of the Trustees, who had just returned from a visit, was able to report that Sister Grace has been busy looking after people’s health and welfare in schools and the wider community. One of her objectives is to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies, which take girls out of school and entrench poverty.

The Knitting Club have been busy producing the most beautiful blankets, hats and shawls, providing comfort for the very young and very old in the Waterberg. Sister Grace distributes these while making home visits when she can check that patients are taking their medication and have enough to eat.

Care for the elderly

Thanks to our supporters’ kind donations, The Waterberg Trust continues to work in partnership with St John’s Church ‘Acts of Mercy’ initiative to help those in need through the pandemic.

Sister Grace distributing hand-knitted blankets

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

Food parcels donated to the needy in the Waterberg

These are collected from outside the local super market by friends or relatives of the needy. Local farmers donate food.

Food for the school nutrition project is being supplemented with vegetables grown in school veggie gardens by the Environmental Clubs.

Food parcels being collected

TWT has set up a ‘Dignity Dreams Club’ to raise funds to purchase eco-packs of washable sanitary pads for every girl entering secondary education. This is an important, low-cost initiative that gives girls confidence and means they do not miss lessons. Some were taking absence from school for five days a month.

Sister Grace explains how to care for washable sanitary pads.

The pads come with a book for teachers and are distributed with a structured sex-education talk about puberty. TWT is aiming to provide 400 packs a year at a cost of £15 each. The pads are carefully made by Dignity Dreams, a non-profit organization in Pretoria who provide work for the disadvantaged. They last four years. If you would like to help by making a small donation, please click here

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

Handmade blanket and hat

TWT donors enable learners in the Waterberg to go on a residental course at Lapalala Wilderness School

Thanks to The Waterberg Trust supporters who made this life-changing experience possible

‘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.

Learners from Meetsetshehla Secondary School in Vaalwater learning about rivers

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.

Students learn about recycling, biodiversity and gain practical help if they are seeking a career in tourism and wildlife conservation. For further details of the course, please see Lapalala Wilderness School’s website here.

Learning to identify plants of the Waterberg. There are approx 340 different species of trees in the area.
  • 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

Leaners on a game drive through Lapalala Wilderness where they saw lion and a variety of antelope

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.’

Students learning about nature conservation and the job opportunities in tourism and wildlife management

‘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.’

Leadership and communication skills are nurtured on each course.

‘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.’

Thank you letters from some of the students

The children were truly grateful for the opportunity and wrote to thank the director of Lapalala Wilderness School:

A letter written 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.

Back at school: some of the students who attended the Lapalala Wilderness course, with Sister Grace
Extending knowledge learned at Lapalala Wilderness in the school veggie garden established by the TWT corporate sponsor in South Africa: Environmental Impact Management Services.

For further details about Lapalala Wilderness School, please click here

Can you join the Dignity Dreams Club?

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

Could you change a schoolgirl’s future?

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

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

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

Can you help?

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

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

Click here for our page on ways of making a donation

Sister Grace using a book on how to use the pads

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

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

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

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

Sister Grace showing pupils how the washable pads work

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

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

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

Speaker Verita Shikwambana from Dignity Dreams

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

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

A note of thanks from one of the students

3rd Covid-19 Emergency Food Parcel Distribution in the Waterberg – July 2020

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– VOLUNTEERS AND BENEFICIARIES HELPING TO PACK FOOD PARCELS IN VAALWATER-

Thanks to our generous supporters, emergency food parcel distribution in the Waterberg has continued every month. Nurse Grace has conducted an assessment on how this is going, conducting home visits to beneficiaries. These are her photos and finding for the month of July 2020. We will be able to provide an update for activities in August soon.

Some recipients have managed to find a source of income or work and received a UIF payment to enable them to buy groceries for their family. Others still have no source of income or only work on certain days of the week when they are paid according to the hours worked. New beneficiaries have been identified including teenage mothers who depend on the child social grant.

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– SUPERVISED FOOD PARCEL DISTRIBUTION –

Kind donations were received in the form of clothes, sanitary pads and bedding, for which acknowledgements and thank you messages have been sent. These came from individuals, St John’s church members and The Fold children’s home. Those in need were grateful.

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This enabled bedding and kitchen utensils were donated to a homeless, elderly man who has no family and no known identity.

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Knitted blankets were also distributed thanks to kind donated wool for the knitting club ladies.

CHALLENGES faced in the township of Leseding:

  • People spend money on alcohol instead of buying food for their families.
  • Gender-based violence.
  • School children roaming the streets – some get involved in crime and physical violence.
  • Child-headed homes with no parents to guide nor provide.
  • Patients with poor adherence due to lack of food and family support.
  • Foreign nationals with no identity nor family.
  • An expectancy of receiving food parcels regardless of employment.

However, many needy adults and children are benefiting enormously. More food parcels will be purchased when new list of beneficiaries is ready. If you wold like to make a donation to help provide for the poor, please click here.

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2nd Covid-19 emergency food parcel distribution in the Waterberg

Since the rural population of the Waterberg in the Limpopo Province of South Africa relies heavily on tourism, many people have been suffering from lack of income during Lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The Waterberg Trust has launched a Covid-19 Emergency Appeal to raise funds to provide those in extremis with basic food so they can feed their dependents.

TWT has partnered with the Church of St John the Baptist who have been raising funds locally and providing volunteers to deliver nutritious food parcels consisting of 10 Kg Mealie meal – the staple carbohydrate, 2 Kg sugar, tins of fish in tomato sauce, tins of baked beans, 2 litres cooking oil, 7 Kg potatoes, 1 Kg packet of powdered milk, 250g teabags and packets of Koro Krunch. The plan was to include 2kgs of flour, but it was out of stock, so a bottle of mayonnaise was added instead.

In May 2020, we were able to feed 167 adults and children, as reported here.

In June 2020, we have been able to do the same again but, with winter pressing in, we need more funds to keep going. No one in the area has contracted Covid-19 but food security is an issue and the recipients and deeply grateful:

“Can’t thank you enough for what you have done.” Karabo

“Thank you for the food parcel.” Priscilla

“Thank you for always remembering me at this difficult time.” Lizzy

 

Nurse Grace who is managing the project reports:

  ACTS OF MERCY REPORT FOR JUNE 2020

DAILY TASKS:

Follow-up home visits were conducted to those who received food parcels to check if there is any income or job opportunities for them. Some had returned to work and some were doing business, whilst some are still struggling to get income and support their families.

New families have been identified and added to the beneficiary list. Social development also provided a list for those in urgent need of food parcels. School children in certain grades are back to school and are able to have food from the feeding scheme program, and those at home at home continued to study through television and radio broadcasting lessons.

Distribution of clothes donated locally

CHALLENGES:

  • Many families are still struggling to feed their families due to low income
  • Jobs may be lost and lead to increased unemployment
  • Alcohol and drug abuse has risen, leading to gender based violence
  • Increase in teenage pregnancy and school dropouts during lockdown
  • Everyone in the community wants to receive free food parcels even though they don’t qualify.
  • Some people still walk around without wearing masks

SUCCESS STORIES:

Some small businesses were allowed to reopen, generating income to support their families, others found new jobs and surrounding Schools reopened after meeting the required standards to ensure learners and staff are protected from contracting the Corvid-19 virus.

School children are able to have a meal at school and be able to study longer to catch up on their studies.

Food parcels were distributed to the vulnerable families including foreign nationals.

 

Nurse Grace on a home visit

STATISTICS:

TOTAL NUMBER OF HOMES VISITED 75

OF WHICH 40 WERE FOLLOW-UP AND 35 ARE NEW BENEFICIARIES

Food parcels – 34 distributed: 20 identified by social development and 14 assessed during home visits

Clothes donation – 20 people (children & adults)

Counselling – 15 (adherence to chronic treatment, gender- based violence, basic hygiene measures at home, alcohol withdrawal syndrome and coping techniques due to job insecurity and no income)

Teenage pregnancy – 12 teen moms from different schools both primary and secondary

Referrals – 28 (application for birth certificates, ID documents and social relief grants)

FUTURE PLANS:

To continue working with the Social Development Services as they have a database for those who are in urgent need of food parcels and social matters, other stakeholders such as churches and organizations.

Education and support to the community about Corvid 19 virus prevention and regular hygiene measures and importance of wearing masks will continue in the local language.

Food distribution to be conducted during mid-month unless there’s an emergency referral then it can be attended to immediately.

If you could help by making a donation please click here for TWT’s Justgiving page

If you would rather send a cheque, please chick here

Any support with make a real difference and help transform lives.

 

Lockdown report from Nurse Grace in the Waterberg

Nurse Grace helping lady in Leseding

-Nurse Grace conducting a home visit in the township of Leseding-

DAILY TASKS:

During this Corvid-19 pandemic lockdown I dedicated my work in the community to educating families and school children about the Corvid 19 virus signs and symptoms as well as basic hygiene measures to ensure they understand ways of transmission and how they can prevent community infection. It was during that time that I also made home assessments and identified those families that needed support with food, clothes and proper shelter.

The Waterberg Trust Food Parcel distribution during Lockdown

-Food parcel distribution to the unemployed during Lockdown-

School children were encouraged to study at home. I also helped those in Matric, through a WhatsApp group, to share ideas and questions for specific subjects. Others were encouraged to access learning through direct teaching from television and radio broadcasting programs at scheduled times. Counselling support service was provided to those facing serious issues and referrals were made when needed for further management.

CHALLENGES:

  • Lack of food in many families due to no income.
  • Family disputes leading to physical injury i.e. fighting and verbal abuse
  • Increase in gender based violence
  • Loss of jobs and insecurity
  • Suicidal attempts in some learners due to emotional stress and poor family support
  • Increase in alcohol & substance abuse in some learners as they are not going to school
  • Increase in crime rates like house breaking, shops and schools
  • Undocumented foreign nationals who have no job nor proper income

Nurse Grace helping a homeless man in Vaalwater May 2020

-Nurse Grace helping the homeless in Vaalwater-

SUCCESS STORIES:

Through the kind donation of funds from The Waterberg Trust, Church of St John the Baptist at 24 Rivers, individual donors and fellow Christians who donated clothes, many people were blessed with food parcels, clothing, bedding and shelter. The criteria for food donation was: vulnerable families, school children and foreign nationals who could not afford to buy food. Thorough assessments, through home visits, were completed and a list drawn of beneficiaries.  Some were referred by the Social Development and Lethabo Kids Club.

Nurse Grace with food parcels purchased in suppermarket

-Sorting TWT food parcels before distribution-

FUTURE PLANS:

To continue reaching out to the vulnerable community and those in urgent need for support.

The next food parcel distribution will be the second week of June to avoid month-end overcrowding when people are busy getting their social grants and buying goods. During mid-month is when most families run out of food supplies.  We will work with Department of Social Development who will help to distribute the food parcels. Those food parcels which are supplied by St John’s and TWT will be clearly marked and carries a personal note for the recipient.

We will continue to liaise with stake holders to avoid duplication of food distribution in the community i.e. Social Development Services staff, religious groups and other institutions which are involved in helping the community.

Nurse Grace with donations of clothes, bedding May 2020

-Sorting donations of clothes and a bed-

STATISTICS:

Total number of people visited and assessed 150 during Lockdown

Food parcels – 75 (TWT funded 40 – St John’s Church and local individuals funded 35)

Clothing parcels – 30

Providing shelter – 2

Counselling – 10 (Gender Based Violence, Sexual abuse, suicide attempts & fighting)

Referrals – 13 (Application for birth & ID certificates, Social grants and food parcel application)

Treatment support – 20 learners reached and assisted to collect medication from clinic and needed adherence counselling.

The above duty commitment was made possible because of the support received from donors, fellow Christians and individuals.

May God greatly bless you for supporting our community during this challenging time.

Nurse Grace and reciepient in Leseding May 2020

ACKNNOWLEDGEMENT MESSAGES FROM SOME OF THE BENEFICIARIES THAT RECEIVED FOOD PARCELS:

  • ‘On behalf of my family I would like to say thanks to St John’s and The Waterberg Trust, the donors and supporters. May the almighty Lord bless them, thanks –’ Emmy Banda
  • ‘Thank you very much you are really God sent’ – Lisa Mofokeng
  • ‘Thank you for the food parcel we appreciate your help Sister Grace’ – Dikeledi Mokoena
  • ‘God knows your heart’ – Julia Ntomane
  • ‘I don’t know what to say but only God will bless you more’ – Maria Nel

Report compiled by: Grace Ismail. Note: The people who appeared on the photos gave consent and agreed that their pictures can be used and shared with sponsors.

Thanks to kind donors in the UK, The Waterberg Trust has been able to send enough funds for a second allocation of food parcels but we winter has set in and we don’t know how long the emergency will last. Schools have gone back but tourism, which is the main source of employment in the district, remains shut down.

To see more photos of the food parcel distribution, please click here.

If you would like to make a donation to TWT’s Covid-19 Appeal, please click here for TWT’s Just giving page (please leave a brief message) or here for the address to which cheques can be sent.