Doing it for themselves

2019-02-05 06:20
Grade 8 and 9 learners at Fairmount High School in Grassy Park were taught how to make their own sandwiches last week.PHOTO: Earl Haupt

Grade 8 and 9 learners at Fairmount High School in Grassy Park were taught how to make their own sandwiches last week.PHOTO: Earl Haupt

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The latest step in turning Fairmount High School from a place at the mercy of systematic underachievement into a flourishing centre for change took place last week.

The duo from Business Network International (BNI), Malcolm Lips and Sharon Constable, have adopted the school with a long-term view to create an area which can produce agents for change.

They have previously helped out with the school’s library (“Reigniting change”, People’s Post, 7 August 2018) while also introducing the children to marine conservation (“Fairmount supports beach cleanup”, People’s Post, 18 September 2018).

“For us the school is about giving hope and building community with our Parkwood and Lotus River families. With BNI, they have started with the library. They have assisted with the toilets and electricity and then also they have put us into contact with various businesses who can assist the school. The marching band has benefited; the hiking club and environmental club have benefited,” said Fairmount principal Terrence Klassen.

The beach cleanups, through Sea the Bigger Picture, have been such a success that learners have been introduced to diving to which, without the programme, they would not have been exposed. “We had an assembly where they brought in the guys from Sea the Bigger Picture to chat to the learners about conservation, specifically marine conservation and how the learners can get involved. That has sparked so many of the learners to come back and ask how they can get involved with marine ecology – so much so that we have learners diving and scuba diving. It is a step-by-step process that we have embarked on and we understand that it is a long-term process. The ultimate goal is to make sure we have a functional library, our children are fed, that the children are happy when they come to school, they want to be here and in that way we can make a difference in their lives to give them a sense of purpose and hope,” said Klassen.

Klassen welcomed Lips and Constable back on Thursday 31 January when they conducted a lesson with the Grade 8 and Grade 9 classes where sandwiches were made with the help of the children themselves, instead of merely being donated.

“They have identified that the kids are hungry at school and despite our school having a feeding scheme, we cannot cover all the children. It is also just a matter of getting them into the whole swing of getting them involved with the school as well as the learners so they can see people are giving back and how to inculcate into the students the idea of volunteerism,” said Klassen.

Constable added that the value of nutrition should not be underestimated, especially as a number of learners at the school come to school hungry, while also reminding the school of their commitment.

“We are working on sponsorship for them. This is just to make the children aware that we are their partners, fully on board, and we are not just a flash in the pan. We continually will be there to support them and help where we can. We are also here to make the community and business owners aware that we need ingredients, we need bread – even if it is just jam and butter to give the children each and every day,” she said.

Grade 9 learner Kurt Klaasen was grateful for the sought-after lesson.

“I am learning obedience, manners and how to make a sandwich. I feel happy. If I see food then I am happy. I will try to help other people as well. Give them food, make them sandwiches and share,” he said.

Klaasen’s classmate, Ameera Fredericks, also had fun

“I learned that sharing can be fun if you just try. I learned that having a sandwich together kept the class from arguing, it kept us all together, peaceful in the moment and everyone was happy. Thank you to everyone who contributed,” she said.

Meanwhile, Constable highlighted a few plans in the works for the school in the long term.

“There are quite a few projects, like we are still in need of books and instruments for the marching band. We are trying to start an actual instrumental band at the school as well. We have sourced some instructors who will come to deliver instruction to the kids, but most importantly we hope to have the school covered in wi-fi, so that is a big project. We are doing little by little, so any sponsorship is welcome,” she said.

V Anyone willing to help or partner with BNI or Fairmount High School can call the school on 021 705 1826.

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