23 May Our Farm Children
When we started Lindani in 1998, we established a pre-school for the farm children. Martha Moatshe, our Administration Manager was the pre-school teacher. It was a great success but in the end little children go to ‘big’ school and so we had to close it. When the next wave of ‘littlies’ arrived, Government had established a Grade 0 at the local school so we have never re-opened it.
One of the frustrations of running Lindani has been watching our farm children struggle through the education process. Despite valiant efforts by the teaching staff, the school has been so under-resourced and neglected that what it offers is certainly near the bottom of a pretty rotten education pile. A few years ago, when the annual allocation of funds by the State was R12 000 per child per annum, virtually all the money went towards paying the Eskom bill.
Some of our children have, despite considerable odds, managed to get a matric that enables them to attend a TVET college and the funding now available from NASFAS is certainly helping. The monthly living costs of approximately R2000 are nevertheless a burden which those of our staff who are on the national minimum wage cannot meet unassisted.
We made some pathetic attempts to provide support to the local school but the challenge was way greater than what we could offer. In response to an appeal, many of our guests responded generously with children’s books and our staff reading room is actively used by the children – under the supervision of one of the Grade 7 children who is a natural leader.
We are about to install Wi-Fi in the training and reading room at the staff village and have started wondering if there is some way in which we can use it to benefit the farm children’s education. We have little understanding of education at Lindani but know that technology is making an increasing impact as a vehicle for those who can access on-line material.
We would welcome guidance from any of our wider Lindani family if someone could guide us as to the direction we should be following. These children deserve a better chance than they are getting so that they can compete with urban children on a less unequal basis.
Sam van Coller