An unusual request calls for an unusual solution – and that was certainly the case at Reitumetse Academy, in Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng, who officially opened the doors to their new classroom on Friday, 21 July 2022. The Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) provided the funding to make the project a reality.
Breadline Africa first encountered the school when Ms Felicia Khusa applied for a toy library to be used by the pre-school. But when the team visited the school, they realised that her primary school stopped at grade 6 – it is customary for primary schools to go to grade 7 in South Africa.
Felicia explained that they didn’t have enough money to build the additional classroom, resulting in learners needing to find another institution to complete their primary school journey. Felicia’s dream has always been to be able to provide this service.
In 2022, Breadline Africa launched its Alternative Infrastructure Project, which seeks to explore new building materials for its infrastructure requirements. It also aims to positively contribute towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The organisation reached out to Ramtsilo, a company that provides waste management and recycling services for plastic waste pollution, which is then upcycled and used in the manufacture of strong, durable flame-retardant bricks. The project has created direct and indirect employment for a number of people, both in the recycling and construction sectors.
The best solution proved to be a 30m2 classroom, providing a learning space for 13 children in 2022. It consists of bricks composed of 30% ethically sourced, recycled plastic.
At the launch, Kekeletso Tsiloane, one of the Ramtsilo co-founders explained that they will also be teaching the children how waste can become a revenue stream for communities.
Breadline Africa representative, Janine McEvoy, thanked everyone for attending, particularly the representatives of DBSA.
DBSA representative, Botho Lobola added: “I am honoured and privileged to address you during this month that we commemorate the gift that was Tata Nelson Mandela. Very importantly, our being here is a testimony to his commitment to education and children. At the DBSA, we are driven by our purpose to build up towards prosperity and make a positive impact on society through infrastructure development. The thrust of our work is to help uplift our communities across our beautiful country and in that vein, we are here to launch the Reitumetse Academy Grade 7 classroom and vegetable garden.”
Mr Sphiwe Khuse from Reitumetse Academy shared his excitement about the new classroom, explaining that the children were so curious about the new structure and couldn’t wait to learn who its residents would be!
“Thank you to Breadline Africa, DBSA and the contractors, especially Ramtsilo,” he said. “We were excited to see the bricks. Our principal saw them on the TV some time ago, and when they delivered, she asked me to bring her one, so that she could see the plastic. On a serious note, we really appreciate the good work that you are doing. We promise to take good care of this gift you have given us. The classroom will definitely go a long way to enhance the learning experience of these young minds.”