Vanessa and the ‘unusual school project’

Hey readers,
I know I have been really bad in writing posts on my blog, but as you know time just passes too quickly. Anyway as you see I write in english now… hope that is alright for the all my german readers.

So where should I start? Puh, so much has happend or still will happen :) but this is a different story because today I actually want to write about an unsual school project.

As some of you already know, through the Outreach Project of the Ananda Kutir Ashrama in which I am involved since I am in Cape Town, we support a primary school in Nyanga, ktc. It is one of the big townships here in Cape Town.

Now just for a moment close your eyes and visualize a school. See the picture of your imaginary school in full color… see the kids and teachers… really make your picture alive…

And now, open your eyes again.

Sorry, I have to bring you back to reality. But the school I am talking about is not at all like the one you just have visualized.

I think it isn’t even a real school. How can you call a few containers a school?! Well in this country you learn to see the world a little bit differntly. It is not like most of us think it is. And for the kids of this school life is very different.

But let me start at the beginning:

The Stormont Madubela Primary School is an official private school with about 400 kids and 12 teachers. The school has been running since 1988 and always struggelt finacially. It is situated in Nyanga, KTC a very poor community with mainly rdp (Reconstruction and Development Programme) houses and shacks. The school fees for a year are ZAR 15,- / learner. (I want to point out especially for the people who are not familiar with the Rand that ZAR 15,- would be about € 1,50! Less then a Cappuccino!) But even this, hardly half of the parents are abled to pay, because the little they have they need for food.

The department of education funds the school with ZAR 4500,- / year and learner which of course is far away from beeing sufficient. Everything must be paid from that, books, furniture, salaries, repairs etc. So therefore we have the following situation:

The kids don’t have any books, except grade 1 & 2, they have 2 books each child which we just recently bought. And we will buy some more now because we received donations of some dear friends in germany. The teachers only get irregular salaries.
The conditions of the containers, which are the classrooms, are shocking. They have broken windows and floors, the lights are not working well. There are no or only a few blackboards and they don’t have shelves or cupboards. There is a very poor equipped kitchen, put luckily the Ackerman fund togther with Penninsula feeding programm, provide one warm meal per day and child.
I don’t even want to talk about the poor sanitary arrangements and the not existing isolation which makes the rooms extremly hot in summer and freezing cold in winter.
The insufficient security arrangements are the reason why EVERY school holiday the school has a burglary.

The department of education will withdraw funding if the school doesn’t fulfill their standards and they really don’t care how the school will be able to meet their standards, which are things like: every learner must have books, there must be less kids per square meter then there are now (but of course the containers are too small), the teachers must have certain qualifications (but how can they afford further training if they don’t even get a regular salary), the general conditions of the premisis must fulfill a certain standard too, which I completely agree to, but also here, how can the school keep up with out being able to pay for anything.

You see the situation is quite dramatic but the responsible people don’t do anything about it. They only say that it is a private school and that they must take care of them self.

So if the goverment stops the funding the school will sooner or later have to close and that would mean that all these 400 kids would be on the street without even a little chance towards a better future.

I say, this is not gonna happen! We MUST do something about it and why not think BIG? I think we should try everything to provide a proper school for these children. Don’t you agree?

Synchronicity, as so often it happens in life, brought me to meet a man from ‘The Noon Gun Rotary Club’ here in Cape Town. And when I told him about what I do and about the kids and their school, he immediatly said that this could be a project for them and that I should come as a guest speaker and present this project. So here I am now, one night before the BIG event (I am sure it is not big for them, but it definitely is big for me) and I thought I will share this with the world.

So wish me luck and keep your fingers crossed :)

I will keep you updated!

Love and light


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