UK pupils help Zwide primary school

Reed’s School pupils Ryan Moss, left, Charlotte Maxwell and Jack Fletcher, right, all 17, with Emzomncane Primary School pupil Songezo Mayekiso, 13, and principal Thembisa Mdyogolo
Reed’s School pupils Ryan Moss, left, Charlotte Maxwell and Jack Fletcher, right, all 17, with Emzomncane Primary School pupil Songezo Mayekiso, 13, and principal Thembisa Mdyogolo
Image: Yolanda Palezweni

Pupils at Emzomncane Primary School in Zwide might mistake their no-fees school for a private facility when they arrive for class on Monday, thanks to the sterling efforts of good Samaritans from the UK.

The school now boasts a playground upgraded with artificial grass, a revamped assembly area, and numerals and spelling posters for grade R classrooms, as well as a water harvesting and gardening project under way.

This was made possible through the ongoing partnership between Reed’s School in Surrey, England, and Port Elizabeth-based Calabash Tours, aimed at improving facilities and developing schools in disadvantaged areas of the city.

Annually the Reed’s School assigns a group of pupils to help with the revamping and construction work, and also with after-school engagements with pupils and teachers.

Reed’s School teacher James Norman said they had been active with the partnership and project since 2005 and had assisted different schools each year for a two-week period.

“Reed’s School students with the help of their community and parents do fundraising throughout the year to finance the construction work,” he said.

“The experience is a real character-building time for the students.”

Reed’s School pupils Charlotte Maxwell and Jack Fletcher, both 17, said the aim was to make a difference in the children’s lives.

“We are here to assist and make the lives of the children simpler, and give them what they never had,” Charlotte said.

“The pupils were very welcoming and kind to us.”

Emzomncane Primary School grade 7 pupil Songezo Mayekiso said the help from the UK was a blessing.

“We are very happy for what they’ve done. Now we will be able to attend assembly without fear that our shoes would be dusty and muddy,” he said.

“We are also grateful for their help with our studies, it will make a huge impact.”

Emzomncane principal Thembisa Mdyogolo said the school was a no-fees school and relied on the government.

“We try by all means to develop the school with fundraising, but it’s never enough – it is in a disadvantaged area and most parents rely on grants.”

Mdyogolo said Reed’s School had proved that not all heroes wear capes.

“I now walk proudly around the school – it feels like it’s a Model C school,” she said.

“I’m very grateful to Calabash and Reed’s School.”

Reed’s School recently also did renovations at Issac Booi Primary School in Zwide.

Each year the partnership also holds a sports day in which 10 schools compete.

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