I am not sure any of us at the Bulungula Incubator realised how many different government departments and offices we would need to be working with in order to get this school up and running. Part of setting up a model, is working out who should be providing what, and figuring out how these resources can be engaged. In order to build the school we are engaging with:
· The local and the district Education Offices
· The Provincial Education Department
· The National Department of Education
· The Premiers Office
· The Department of Public Works
· The Department of Health
· The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry
· The Department of Roads and Transport
· The Department of Sport and Recreation
· The Amathole District Municipality
This is what I am busy with at the moment, having discovered who should be providing what I am now seeing whether they can commit to providing it to NO-OFISI. The difficulty is that everything necessarily works on priority lists, and we are not necessarily on those lists. In these cases we have to try to be persuasive to get ourselves listed, or accept that we will have to add it to our rather immense list of things to fundraise for in our project proposal. Getting the final proposal written is taking a little longer than expected but hopefully within the next two weeks we will know who is in and who is out, as this is a fundamental step in the right direction.
These past two weeks have not only been about trudging through bureaucracy. It has been the start of the school year, and there has been a surge in the number of learners enrolled in the school. Last year there were approximately 200 learners, this year there are about 270. This surge in numbers has been accompanied by an incredible lift in community ownership, and participation in relation to the school. Within a week, a large new shack was built which will temporarily house the school. At the same time, the foundations were dug and laid for a two room brick structure, and the walls are, a week later, half way up. The supplies for this were given by the Education Department, but they are not enough and the community has decided to use their profits from the lodge to buy the rest of the necessary materials. This shows incredible community commitment and initiative and seems to show that there is renewed community hope about the provision of education in the village.
We have been very quiet about the other Bulungula Incubator Projects. Craig Ackermann is back to refine the Vegetable Farming project, and he has just created a beautiful, simple, visual planting guide for the seedling nursery and the vegetable garden. These can also be used by others in the village who want to create productive and varied gardens. We were about to start with our second Kid’s gardening competition a while ago, but the seedlings got munched by an errant cow, they are now been re-grown and we will be set to start this again soon.
Once again, thanks to all who have given donations, it is those donations that are carrying us through at the moment. Please do keep an eye on the blog, things are happening fast at the moment.