Visitors spruce up schools

2017-05-09 10:17
A group of Dutch learners and their guides have completed work at Cedar High School and Beacon LSEN School in Westridge

A group of Dutch learners and their guides have completed work at Cedar High School and Beacon LSEN School in Westridge (Samantha Lee)

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A group of birds have already made themselves at home in a newly planted garden in front of Cedar High School.

Made possible by contributions from a group of Dutch learners from the Wolvfert Bilingual School in Rotterdam, a second school also benefitted from their effort.

After completing a painting overhaul of the high school, the group of eight learners, between the ages of 15 and 17, and their guides have moved on to Beacon LSEN school in Westridge.

Dion Fabe, a registered tour guide, has been instrumental in the annual initiative.

“I am exposed to many foreigners. I take them to see the attractions but I also take them to see the townships. They always leave asking what they can do, so we put together this initiative. They choose a project to participate in and then raise the funds and come here,” he said previously.

The initiative forms part of obligatory community service, explains teacher and guide Fransiscus Kusters.

In the Netherlands there used to be a law that every learner had to do community service in his pre-exam year. The law has since changed, but the Wolvfert school still keeps the tradition going.

The school’s learners have visited Ethiopia and Sri Lanka and last year gave Ethel’s Place a makeover (“Drug centre spruced up”, People’s Post, 4 May 2016).

The learners have to raise the funds themselves and identify projects with the help of Fabe.

“Having Fabe in the community he is able to tell us where there is a real need. It shouldn’t be that we come here and tell them what we want to do; there should be a need first,” says Kusters.

The Cedar project included painting toilets and the administration block, installing a new safety gate, a revamp of a classroom that includes a study section and planting a garden that will help with teaching Life Sciences at the school.

At Beacon, the learners’ project included creating three play areas with existing play equipment, planting trees, painting benches and poles and a revamp of one of the speech therapists’ classrooms.

“We chose to paint the benches the same colour as the walls because that is the Beacon colour and us adding the colour will add to the brightness of the beacon,” he says.

The learners will complete their community work today and leave Cape Town on Thursday.

“It is important for us to build relationships with the people and organisations that we work at. What is important to us is not that we are here but rather coming over and supporting them in the need they have but also knowing that it will have a sustainable impact so that when we leave it will stay here to be enjoyed for many more years than just the 16 days we spend in Cape Town.”

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