The BI Scholarship Programme was launched in our August newsletter and the response was sufficient for us to pay the deposits for our first 4 learners: Zethu, Linewu, Thulile and Linathi. They completed Grade R at the Jujurha Education Centre last year and were identified as having the potential to excel academically. Last week, accompanied by the father of one and the grandmother of another, the excited group left Nqileni village early one morning with Annette – their destination:UmtataInternationalSchool. Two of the children had never been to Mthatha before and all of them were wide-eyed as we drove through the gates of the school but they were soon put at their ease by the warmth of the welcome from Mrs Madikizela, the Principal, Mrs Ike, the experienced Grade 1 teacher and the many friendly learners and other enthusiastic teachers they met as we were taken on a tour of the school.
It was a joy to visit the Grade 1 classroom, a bright, busy space where rows of readers are displayed and clearly well used. There, as in all the other classrooms we visited, we were impressed by the happy, confident learners who agreed enthusiastically that we had chosen the right school!
The computer room, Biology laboratory and other well built classrooms are resources that most rural schools can only dream of.
The impressive school hall was in use by the matrics writing their trial exams.
The campaign for funds is ongoing and we hope that a commitment of as little as R100 a month will be forthcoming from enough people to sustain this programme for our children. We are convinced that, despite the inevitable challenges which will have to be met, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for academically talented children from Jujurha Preschool to start their walk out of poverty.
If ever there was a way to change lives, this is it!