At the Rotary District 9350 annual conference in May 2016 this project was awarded the prize for best international project! The (Powerpoint) presentation to motivate this award is attached at the end of this post. Our congratulations and thanks to ALL who have been involved.
How does a project start:- often through friendship.
In 1999 a member of Kopervik Rotary Club, District 2250 in Norway, approached Wynberg Rotary Club. Magne Hallaråker, who at that time was the chairman of the International Committee of Kopervik Rotary Club, was also the principal of Åkrehamn Technical College. Through his school and with donations from his rotary club, he managed to organize a container of dictionaries, as well as funds enough to purchase 4 computers and 2 printers in South Africa.
It was suggested to the club to start a school project for a few schools on the Cape Flats, and Ken Williams, who was a member of the Rotary Club of Wynberg and a retired principal of Stephen Road Primary School, assisted with contacts to his former school, as well as to Montagu’s Primary School. These two schools were the beginning of a project, which has become a very successful upliftment for some of the schools in Grassy Park / Lotus River area.
To uplift the scholastic experience and opportunity for children in schools in impoverished areas by providing assistance in accordance with the needs of the learners.
- To connect with and utilise contacts in overseas countries who are prepared to assist with funding and bursaries in identified schools in the Wynberg Rotary area.
- To work together with the schools and their executives in identifying needs and providing assistance with educational and sporting facilities.
- To provide bursaries for learners whose access to funds is limited, for the furthering of their education, through to tertiary level. The success of the ongoing support from the 2 Norwegian schools is mostly based on the annual visits by teachers and students who experience directly the continuous need for assistance.
Selected learners from the first two schools were sponsored to visit one of the donor schools in Norway to further broaden their horizons or simply to see how the problems of education are being addressed in Norway and bring these insights back with them to Cape Town. On occasions teachers and principals have been sent to the London IT in Education Expo to attend talks and workshops on utilising advanced technology in planning lessons or using technology in the classrooms for the enhancement of lesson quality. This was sponsored by one of the donors.
With the huge problem of gangs and drug abuse in the poorer communities, sports equipment for four codes has been provided as part of the schools’ curriculum and for extra mural activities. It is envisioned that inter-school matches will be arranged in order to keep the interest alive and to increase the level of participation in the communities linked to the various schools.
Currently the project is supported by Oddemarka Junior School and Haugaland College.
The project supports 5 primary and 2 high schhols in the Grassy Park / Lotus River area: Perivale Primary, de Duine Primary, Montague Gift Primary, Lotus River Primary, Stephen Road Primary and Fairmont and Zeekoevlei High Schools. Every year teachers and learners from the Norwegian Colleges visit us and the recipient schools, which certainly helps to keep up the interest.
And where are we now? Over R6 000 000 has been raised (just over R600 000 in 2018/2019) for IT equipment, libraries, etc and for direct bursaries for over 5000 learners.
The helping hand has a number of side benefits not directly involved with the project – personal friendships developed over the years has seen a number of members of our club being hosted by the Rotary Clubs in Norway, with Wynberg in turn hosting teachers and learners and members of Norwegian Clubs.
Other side-effect benefits include active involvement of MOT in our schools, as well as the development of the annual North South IT in Education Conference, hosted by the Technical Colleges of Cape Town and False Bay. We also arranged for one of our principals to attend the Principal’s Academy (held at UCT Business School during the working year), which he completed with 65% aggregate!