Bay learners benefit from German ambassador’s tour

2018-02-07 06:01
German Ambassador Martin Schaefer donated several hundred Tutudesks to the learners of Emfundweni Primary School in Zwide last Wednesday, January 31.Photo:SUPPLIED

German Ambassador Martin Schaefer donated several hundred Tutudesks to the learners of Emfundweni Primary School in Zwide last Wednesday, January 31.Photo:SUPPLIED

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GERMAN Ambassador to South Afric, Martin Schaefer recently embarked on a tour of the Eastern Cape, from January 30 to February 2, to visit education initiatives, engage with German and South African partners and make stops at academic institutions.

One such visit was made to Emfundweni Primary School in Zwide, where he delivered several hundred portable school desks, known as Tutudesks, in support of the Desmond Tutu Tutudesk Campaign.

The campaign estimated that three million children in South Africa attend school without the benefit of a desk to work at, which prompted the German Embassy to sponsor 1 000 Tutudesks that learners could place on their laps to provide them with a stable surface to write on and use during their lessons and at home when doing their homework.

The campaign has been providing portable school desks since 2012.

“We are delighted to support this important initiative, which has already assisted more than 1.5 million learners at schools in 24 African countries.

“Tutu’s work and commitment to building a better future for all South Africans is an inspiration to us,” Schaefer said.

The Tutudesk Campaign is personally led by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who said, “I was a barefoot township urchin. I went to school where there were no desks.

“We sat on benches and when the teacher asked us to write, we knelt down on the floor and used the benches we had been sitting on as desks. I wish Tutudesks had been available in my day!”

During his tour of the Port Elizabeth region, Schaefer also paid a visit to the Masifunde NGO, which provides educational and life skills support to learners from impoverished communities.

Germany’s Development Cooperation has been in partnership with Masifunde since 2012 through the Youth for Safer Communities Project (YSC).

Through peer-to-peer workshops in the classroom, the project inspires high school learners to recognise the personal role they can play in making their schools and communities safer.

During the workshops, learners nominate “Local Heroes of Safety” from among their peers, who then receive support to start school safety projects, such as debate clubs, drama groups and awareness campaigns.

The project started in Walmer Township and has since expanded to more than 35 schools and reached 8 000 learners.

Schaefer engaged with volunteers at Masifunde and handed over a donation of books to Masifunde’s library to allow learners to advance their skills.

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