A little boy looks intently at the chalkboard in front of him. He listens to the teacher and absorbs every bit of information. He’s dressed in a pair of shorts and kneeling down on the cold floor. The chair is used as a desk, so that he can write in his workbook. There are no desks, no carpets, few chairs. Almost all the window panes are shattered, letting in the early chill of Winter. My heart breaks at the sight. I know that it will get colder and can’t stand the thought of these children kneeling on the cold floor. I feel like crying.
After that visit, I took to Twitter in the hopes of finding a carpet for the kiddos to rest their knees on. I hope that someone would have one that they were willing to part with.
This took place about a month ago. The lovely Bronwyn answered my plea. She had a carpet that she was not making use of and was more than happy to let us have it for the Teboho Trust kids. I still remember the day we took it into the classroom. On this day there weren’t enough chairs to use as desks and the kids had their books on the floor, so when they saw us bring in a carpet they were delighted. They moved aside to allow us to roll it out in the centre of the room. As soon as we were done the kids raced to the carpet, and what we thought was a pretty decent sized carpet (2mx3m) suddenly seemed so small.
Teboho Trust is a non profit organisation that “empowers the children and our community in order for them to realise their full potential and contribute to the greater society”. Among the many things that they do for the community, they run a Saturday Academy for Grades R to Grade 12. The Academy provides supplemental schooling to the inadequate education that the children receive at the government schools they attend. Due to an unfortunate turn of events, the Academy was forced to look for alternative premises in March this year.
Madibane High, a school rich with South African history but long since forgotten and neglected, became the new home of Teboho Trust. The high school used to house some 1000+ children but now has less than 300 learners. The school was and still is in a dire state but that did not matter to the children of Teboho Trust. They come every Saturday morning eager to learn despite the dilapidated surroundings.
What some of the classrooms look like
I’m happy to say that there has been much progress since the first week at Madibane. We have a second carpet being donated by the kind Mmalegabe. Maybe we can use it in the kitchen so the kids won’t have to sit on sheets of newspaper while they eat.
Through kind donations, the children now have tables and chairs. Thanks to my mum, we also have some pretty posters in the Grade R-2 classroom. I brought some sarees from my last trip to Durban to use as curtains to brighten up the classroom with the swirling patterns and bright colours 🙂
There’s still a long way to go, but there is progress every week. There’s so much more to say but I will leave it at that. If you would like to know more, please visit their website http://www.tebohotrust.org.za . You can make a donation directly on the site if you wish. For those of you who are in Johannesburg, I encourage you to visit the Saturday School.