A New Teacher Resource Room at Ukhanyo School

One year ago the teacher resource room at Ukhanyo School looked like this – more of a cluttered storeroom really.

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Masicorp volunteers Fran Louden and Paul Dibley put forward a proposal to refurbish the room and create a space that was practically useful for the teachers. We are enormously grateful to Astellas Pharmaceuticals who donated the funding that has enabled their vision to come to fruition. The new look Teacher Resource Room was formally opened on Thursday 19th November.

Fran and Paul designed the layout of the new room in consultation with the schools teaching staff and a special thanks must go to Paul for another fine job with the cabinetry. He also laid a new hard wearing, easy cleaning floor. The teachers now have a dedicated room in which to reliably access the internet and formulate, print and administer their numerous teaching and assessment tasks. The room is arranged in eight work stations, one for each grade, and each contains a desktop computer and cabling for personal laptops, all networking to the internet and a new printer as well.

Here is Tosi, one of the Ukhanyo teachers, sitting at her new desk.

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Dale and Ziane from Spy Computers in Longbeach Mall have also been very helpful and provided much of the installation as a donation. Mr Jilana, one of the school’s teachers and an electrician, has also assisted with the wiring and he will now assume responsibility for the operation and maintenance of this resource. This is all the more impressive because much of the project has physically been pulled together over the last few weeks, when access was not always possible due to the security problems in the community.

It is always very rewarding when donors can see the results of their funding on the ground and this was exactly what happened last Thursday. Forty-eight representatives from Astella were present in Masiphumelele after arranging a visit to Cape Town through local ‘destination managers’ Green Route. Green Route arranged for all of the visitors to tour Masiphumelele on bicycles as part of the AWOL township tour. The numbers involved were larger than a normal tour so the group split into three and visited various parts of Masiphumelele, including calling in to see the latest developments at Masi Educare. Thanks to Sally, Zwai and (former Masicorp bursary student) Zizi from AWOL for leading the three groups and coordinating a much larger tour than normal.

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Everyone from Astella finished by visiting the school where they were entertained and participated in some interactive fun with the learners. Some of the group stayed on to paint murals focused on school values, while the sportier types played soccer with the staff and learners.

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Our thanks to everyone involved in making this project a reality for the school.

The Ukhanyo Primary School Makeover Project

Masicorp is extremely grateful to the many donors around the world that fund the programs we provide in Masiphumelele. One of the most rewarding parts of our work is to host our donors when they visit South Africa to see how their funds have been used on the ground. This week we had the opportunity to welcome Viv Daubenspeck, past president of Torquay Rotary Club in the UK and her partner Brian Gunn. They came to see the two wonderful projects that Torquay Rotary Club funded – first they went to Ukhanyo Primary School,  the Ukhanyo Classroom Makeover Project has made a huge impact.

handshakeThe project began in March 2013 with the aim of making the school’s classrooms a safe, clean and stimulating learning environment for all pupils. All 35 of the schools classrooms are involved and the makeover provides learning equipment (e.g. new modern whiteboards to replace blackboards), repairs to broken windows/roofing and painting the walls in bright stimulating colours. Importantly, the project has generated a sense of ownership in the school by its learners, their parents and the staff – as we recently reported with regard to the This is Our School project.

The improvement to the schools facilities has helped the teachers to teach more effectively and the pupils to learn more effectively. The school is a brighter and more welcoming space with many teachers taking a personal pride in their own classrooms and providing extra’s themselves such as brightly coloured lampshades. All this has been made possible by the fund raising efforts of the members of Torquay Rotary the The Rotary Club of Fredrikstad (Norway) who became an integration partner and Rotary International – we have much to thank Rotary for! Added to all this, St Mary the Virgin Parish Church in Torquay also worked hard to raise funds. Well over R100,000 raised across the far side of the world for Ukhanyo – what a great story!

Viv and Brian toured the school with Masicorp project leader, Fran Louden and her brother Paul Dibley – Paul is a craftsman who works as an unpaid volunteer for Ukhanyo where he has done much of the work himself and has been responsible for organising the rest

The project is scheduled to run through to June 2014 and is well on target. It is going so well that it was a struggle to find areas that still needed attention to show Viv and Brian. As Paul himself explained: “Before, you could stand in one spot and see so many problems, now you have to go looking for them!”

IMG_3579Here is Viv accepting on behalf of the literally hundreds of donors, a framed ‘thank you’ from the school at the end of their visit. (From left to right: Andrew Smith [Masicorp president], Fran Loudon [Masicorp project leader], Michael Thyali [Ukhanyo Primary School Principal], Paul Dibley [Masicorp craftsman volunteer] and Viv Daubenspeck [Torquay Rotary Club]). Not in the picture is Rotarian Warwick Whelan, also a past president of the club, who with Viv was the driving force behind the fund raising for both projects.

(Many thanks to Christine Adendorff Photography for the pictures on this blogpost)

The Royal Navy Help Out at Ukhanyo Primary School

Ukhanyo Primary School has recently received a visit from staff from HMS Richmond of the Royal Navy, who are on operations in False Bay at the moment. Twelve volunteers from the ship  used their visit to South Africa to paint walls, clean and undertake basic maintenance at Ukhanyo Primary School.

navy-paintAble Seaman Michaela Fell from Portsmouth, who is on her first deployment with the Royal Navy, was one of the group who went to the school.  She said:

It felt like such an achievement helping this disadvantaged community.  The children who we were working with absolutely loved it.  They got really involved with the painting.

At the end, we shared out our packed lunches. It seemed to make a real difference to the kids; just a small bit of chocolate and some crisps. It was a really great day.“

On behalf of everyone at the school and Masicorp, many thanks to the Royal Navy for their time in Masiphumelele.

You can see more details and an extended photo gallery on the M.O.D. news pages here.

This is Our School

Since March of this year, Masicorp volunteer Paul Dibley has been kept busy with a major project to makeover Ukhanyo Primary School’s 35 classrooms. Paul has committed three years of his time to make the learning environment cleaner, safer and more attractive for Masiphumelele’s primary school pupils. The project, which is funded in large part by generous donations from The Rotary Club of Torquay, is repairing broken windows, painting old walls, installing shelving and replacing old blackboards with modern whiteboards.

whiteboardLook carefully in the picture above and you will see how the old blackboards have been transformed once the modern whiteboards are in place. They are being used for a series of murals to encourage ownership of the upgraded facilities. In the school reception and each of the Grade 6 and 7 classes (the rest are yet to be done) there is a board that says “This is our Class” and each learner has handprinted and signed the board. Teachers, learners, parents and support staff (security, cooks, cleaners, admin, sports coaches) are all taking part.

teachersThe boards are interactive – every afternoon as the children depart they walk along the wall placing their hands into other known hands, playing, comparing sizes and roles – who’s who in the school. Many thanks to Masicorp’s Fran Louden (Paul’s sister) for highlighting the project. Fran volunteers in the schools science lab. Now when she comes into class and holds up her hand and asks “Whose class is this?”, in unison the students put up their hands, open palmed, and say “This is our class!”

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New Furniture for Ukhanyo Primary

Last week saw a delivery of over 40 used chairs and tables to Ukhanyo Primary in Masiphumelele. The kind donation came from our friends at Reddam School and was collected by Masicorp’s Al Ritchie (seen in action on the photographs below).

Also many thanks to Jan O’Conner for helping to coordinate the delivery and being on hand to welcome the delivery and organise their collection with a group of the school’s pupils.

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