GREENWOOD Primary School in Gqeberha serves 850 learners, and runs a dedicated partially hearing unit for learners who struggle with hearing difficulties.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, the teachers and leadership invested many extra hours into putting together learning materials that were accessible to all pupils. They offered WhatsApp lessons, YouTube videos, and even put together printed homework packages that parents could collect.
It was a relief when learners were allowed to return to school in 2021, but with strict social-distancing rules in place, the school implemented a platooning schedule.
Learners attended school on alternating days so that they could each be placed at their own desk instead of sharing.
However, in mid–2021, the Education Department declared that all learners would have to return to school by August 2021.
To comply with the 1m social distancing regulations, every learner needed their own desk.
Desk Drive Initiative
Greenwood’s limited budget had already been over–extended for printing of learning materials, sanitising equipment, and other COVID–19 related expenses. There were no funds available to help ensure each of the 850 learners could sit safely at their own desk.
Gary Pike, headmaster at Greenwood Primary School said, “Despite our limited resources, we strive for excellence, and to provide our learners with the resources they need to succeed.”
It was estimated that the cost of new individual desks would be around R 375,000.
The school put together an innovative ‘Desk Drive’ initiative and reached out to businesses in and around Nelson Mandela Bay to help raise the necessary funds.
Together, Bay businesses raised R 141 198, while another R 321 125 was brought in through private donations.
“We were absolutely blown away by the generosity, especially in such economically challenging times,” said Pike.
“We were able to purchase 670 new desks along with 160 new chairs.”
While R 142,737 is still outstanding, the school hopes to raise the funds soon through more donations.
Passing on the kindness
Greenwood decided to pass on the kindness to other schools in the area that lacked essential resources.
The old double–desks were donated to three under–resourced schools including, Tjaart van der Walt Primary School, Emfundweni Primary School, and Ndzondelelo Senior School.
“We’d like to extend our deepest gratitude to the businesses that contributed to the Desk Drive,” said Pike.
Businesses included, City Stationers, Daisy Business Solutions, KwikSpar South End, Mascodor 152 (Pty) Ltd, Moment Designers Ladies & Gents Outfits, Nomvuyo Fishing (Pty) Ltd, Scotrho Insurance Brokers, The Little Slipper, Toolroom Trust Manufacturing CC and Umsobomvu Fishing (Pty) Limited.