Report on Trip to South Africa December 2015 to March 2016

by July 11th, 2016 Reports

SIZANANE 2016

Departure: Toronto December 28, 2016

  • Meeting with secretary of school on January 2, 2016 – reviewed events at school since last visit – premature deaths of 2 teachers and director of education; high absenteeism due to illnesses; new school governing board elected; new funding from Dept. of Education for a full-time nurse, 2 Occupational therapists and a Psychologist over the past 6 months
  • School opens January 13, 2016. Visited the school on 15th January. News of premature death of 2 young female teachers in the last quarter of 2015. The department of Education now provides for a full-time nurse and occupational therapist. School now has 300 special needs children. Met with staff, nurse and therapist. Morale is low following death of the teachers and some children. Many children and staff are mentally depressed. Agreed to regular medical visits to the school.
  • January 29, 2016. Attended Matric prizes and gift awards ceremony in Rayton to honour outstanding graduates. We awarded Lenovo laptops to the best female and male matriculated students in the district. (pictures)
  • February 5, 2016. Sizanane Staff (50) recognition awards. Morale very sombre with grief of the 2 dynamic teachers. All staff were given vouchers equivalent to 1 week of groceries. Some teachers were awarded Lenovo laptops to assist them with their duties. These gifts created an ecstatic atmosphere and the staff were overjoyed. This sparked an enthusiasm in them to focus on achieving the most with the children. A vote of thanks and gratitude was made with speeches by the teachers to honor each of the donors of the Kungwini Dream Fund.
  • Purchased Oxygen cylinders, masks and other emergency and clinic equipment from Pretoria. Purchased sporting equipment and canopies from Johannesburg. Frustrations with making payments – 1st a deposit; then the order; then a dozen calls to confirm; then the balance; the errors; etc. Orders placed for woodwork and metalwork equipment; knitting and embroidery equipment; and hairdressing equipment. Awaiting price estimates before confirming- still waiting!!!
  • February 6, 2016. Visited a rural clinic which I had started 37 years ago in the barren homelands of Kwandebele (where black people were to live when they were forcefully expelled from the cities). This was now a huge town with paved street, electricity and water and sewage. The trees have grown so much that landmarks were difficult to find! It was a very emotion, heart rendering experience – personally and professionally!
  • March 4, 2016. The last day of my visit to the school was filled with a farewell celebration for us. Students, parents and staff thanked us and the donors KDF for our presence, activities and donations to the children and staff.
  • From a medical viewpoint, we had to screen students and staff for a very contagious respiratory infection and treat and isolate them. Medications are being provided by the Department of Health. This infection was likely responsible for the illness and deaths.

Return: Toronto March 7, 2016