School refurbished in honour of late hero

2018-04-24 06:01

Hillwood Primary School in Lavender Hill is undergoing a refurbishment in honour of Ian Macdonald.

Macdonald, who dedicated the last two years of his life to learners at the school, died in a head-on collision on 20 February, the day after his 44th birthday.

The Noordhoek resident and father of three was actively involved with non-government organisations since 2002, supporting street children and sharing feel-good South African stories as editor of popular website

Through his involvement with the Partners for Possibility (PfP), an initiative pairing successful businessmen with school principals, Macdonald was instrumental in improving the school’ infrastructure and programmes. To celebrate “The Year of the Teacher” in 2017, he helped modernise the staff room and organised a staff development programme. He introduced boxing and surfing and helped the reading NGO, Shine, establish a programme.

“Ian was committed to having a positive and lasting impression on the students of Hillwood Primary. He loved contributing to society and using his network to help those in unfavourable circumstances. The programme itself was only expected to last a year, but Ian stayed on for almost two years and was committed going forward,” says Rob Broster, a friend.

Following Macdonald’s untimely passing, Broster set up a campaign on donations-based crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy, to honour a friendship of over 25 years in a special way. “Ian didn’t just talk about what must be done – he just did it. When Ian passed, I found myself asking, ‘What would Fella do?’”

“Fella” was Macdonald’s nickname.

Broster, family and friends felt the need to continue his good works. With that “Fella’s Army”, an informal task force of his friends, including builders and project managers, was formed. Broster’s cousin, Suzie, says they felt a sense of introspection. “He made the world a better place, and many of us felt that we needed to carry on his work – hence Rob’s hashtag #WhatWouldFellaDo.

The campaign went live on 15 March, aiming to raise R90 000 to refurbish Grade 1 classrooms at the school to create an environment that promotes active learning. Within 24 hours the campaign had raised an astounding R32 682 and a total of R130 451.66 with contributions from over 62 donors.

“We started this campaign to help educators at Hillwood by creating stimulating, colourful, well-resourced classrooms where learners want to be, and which enable learning in the best possible way. The project will include painting, fixing broken chairs and desks, repairing broken windows and reflooring.”

They hope to improve Grade 2 and 3 classrooms, with additional funding.


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