We recently had the privilege of opening a computer room at the local farm school. For those of you in the first world this may not sound like a very significant event but for the schoolchildren who have very little access to information technology and research resources (the nearest library being not particularly well stocked and about a 6km walk from the farm) it was a momentous occasion.
Last year it was bought to our attention that the majority of our staff’s children weren’t progressing past Grade 8. We set up a meeting to discuss this with the local primary school and to identify what could be done to provide the children with a more solid foundation, particularly in mathematics and language.
The teachers identified three areas that they thought should be most importantly addressed.
1. There was a need for a remedial teacher to provide additional attention to those children that were struggling to grasp basic concepts.
2. The establishment of an aftercare facility to provide children with the support that they were not getting at home to do their homework.
3. A computer room would enable students to learn computing skills but more importantly provide them with some fantastic educational software.
We were able to address the first two areas almost immediately and Excelsior started an aftercare facility for the Excelsior staff’s children and employed two remedial teachers at the school. The third was to take a while longer. All the local farmers whose employees’ children attend the school, were approached for the funding of the computer room. All donated in varying degrees, and the special room was built. Khanye, an NGO, provided computers, furniture and software with the whole project costing about R400 000 (about $54 000).
It’s great to see wine sales translate into the funding source for such incredible projects!