Today, the children at Lettie De Klerk Primary School received a gift that will give them a lot more to look forward to when they come to school each day. They received a brand-new container kitchen from Breadline Africa, a non-profit organisation that provides converted shipping container infrastructures to educational projects across South Africa.
Some 60 km from Graaff-Reinet, you will find Nieu-Bethesda, a somewhat isolated town, with only two roads leading in and out, situated at the foot of the Sneeuberge.
Nieu-Bethesda lies in a narrow valley, it has no streetlights and is only about 1,6 kilometres wide and 3,2 kilometres long – home to a little more than a thousand people. Lettie De Klerk is the only primary school in the area, and was started by a local farmer’s wife more than 100 years ago. Under the capable leadership of very enthusiastic and dynamic principal, Barbara Vaaltyn, the school is home to 250 children, ranging from Gr R to grade 7, in pre-fabricated classrooms. It is a dual medium school offering classes in Afrikaans and English. All of the learners’ families depend on social grants, as there are limited employment opportunities in the community.
The school provides one meal per day to all children, which is funded by the Department of Education. The school is well known in the area because of its excellent performance in sports – this teaches the children discipline, respect for rules, joint achievement and co-operation. Dusty shoes are to be expected, because this is the Karoo, as the children take turns to line up with plates waiting to be filled with nutritious food, this could possibly be their only meal of the day.
The school did not have a kitchen and daily cooking took place in a cramped corner of a classroom. One can only imagine how difficult it was for the children to concentrate during teaching time!
Things changed for the better at Lettie De Klerk School today; together with the community, the children celebrated the handover of the brand new container kitchen. With Breadline Africa’s sponsorship of this much-needed kitchen facility, the school will be able to use the class for teaching purposes only and have a hygienic, safe place to prepare the children’s daily meals.
About Breadline Africa:
Breadline Africa, one of the biggest suppliers of converted shipping containers for poverty relief in Southern Africa, has provided more than 250 containers to poverty-stricken communities since its establishment in 1993. The South African based NGO believes that every child has the capacity to do something phenomenal with his or her life. When a child’s imagination is unlocked, possibilities and options are opened up, allowing them to choose a path for their own future. Breadline Africa enables this journey by providing initiatives and infrastructure to support childhood development in Southern Africa. The renovated containers are used as early childhood development centres, school libraries, community kitchens and ablution blocks.