“For to be free is not merely to cast off ones chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of other. – Nelson Mandela.
With April being freedom month, our project updates reflect on how we continue to work towards bringing about socio-economic and environmental freedom through use of the P.E.A.C.E. Model in a number of our initiatives.
SEKELEKANI COOPERATIVE UPDATES
In spite of the recent floods that have befallen KwaZulu Natal Province causing an unmitigated disaster and unusually higher than normal rainfall, Sekelekani Cooperative have continued with their day to day activities. During the first week of April, they managed to send over 1,529 tonnes of their harvested chilli produce to the market. This should give the Cooperative a very favourable financial return based on the quality of their produce and the current lucrative prices being offered by the market. Furthermore, the Cooperative have continued harvesting more chillies, in the expectation of sending these to the market in May. With regard to their apiculture project, the group checked all 40 beehives, which are all currently populated. Progress in checking the hives has been slightly hindered by the current rainfall being experienced in the province, and we will provide an update in our next report.
Over the past few weeks, we have received feedback on the impact that #Bikes4ERP has had on various beneficiaries over the past year, with all stories pointing to the fact that the project had made it easier for students to travel to and from school more efficiently and on time, thereby improving their academic results. Our beneficiaries at Mabea High School all passed their Grade 12 finals, with two of them obtaining Bachelors and Diploma. The School’s pass rate went up to over 60% from a previous under 50%. Seikgoni School anticipates an improved Grade 12 result this year, as the bike beneficiaries gear up for their final exams later in the year. Tlou Matome School’s pass rate moved from 48% in 2020 to 79% 2021, whilst Tumakgole School had a 72% Matric pass rate last year, with beneficiaries of #Bikes4ERP doing exceptionally well. We look forward to more positive feedback, and we continue to express our gratitude to the dedicated team, sponsors and above all, beneficiaries who continue to work towards ensuring the success of this project.
WATERBERG WAVES FM
For the month of April, Waterberg Wave FM which is funded and supported by ERP focused on celebrating Earth Month. This saw Letticia Mahlatji being interviewed on Wits FM on Earth Day, where she spoke about pertinent issues around climate change, green houses gases and the effects of their carbon footprint on the earth, and how Covid-19 impacted on various aspects pertaining to to air quality and climate change. Letticia also covered various topics throughout the month of April. These included careers in agriculture, in particular around farming and how these can create jobs for unemployed youth, whilst also educating the listeners on simple gardening tips that can be used at a household level. With Eskom recently announcing the continued roll out of various loadshedding stages, the radio station also touched on energy saving tips that can be employed at a school, at work and at household level as a way of promoting responsible energy consumption. Through Letticia, Waterberg Wave FM also looked at topics around pollution, water borne diseases and natural disasters especially in relation to the current flooding and tragic loss of life, infrastructure and livelihoods experienced in KwaZulu Natal Province- a development which has since been declared a national disaster. All this was over and above the daily ERP programme hosted by Letticia which among other things seeks to promote the ERP strategy of conserving elephants and rhinos through poverty alleviation.
VAALWATER CENTRE PROGRAMMES
One of the key goals of the Vaalwater IT Lab is to cater for vulnerable young people, specifically focusing on introducing them to basic computer skills relevant to the forth industrial revolution. During the month of April, a total of 98 participants had the opportunity to access basic computer training courses, including participating in a coding programme. The Lab also provided students from the surrounding schools with an opportunity to conduct various school-based research programmes. Over the past 2 months, total of 175 learners had the opportunity to access the IT Lab, which is commendable. Most of the learners could not access internet at home, and noting that the local library closes early, the IT Lab became an integral part of how they conducted research or accessed information after hours. With regards to sustaining the Lab, the management, led by Zach Sekhu currently piloting various income generating services including photocopying, printing, research and sending emails. Over the past two months, the lab has observed an increase in people in need of these various services, indicating a growing market for these services. It is however worth noting that school going children and youth do not pay to conduct their school-based research, as a way of encouraging them to make use of the lab.
TESTIMONIAL ON OUR IMPACT FROM A FORMER BENEFICIARY
A few years ago, ERP, through our support of the Vaalwater Centre, gave assistance to George Boya, who was running the IT Centre at the time. George managed to grow his own social enterprise, which has continued to grow and effectively impact the youth in Vaalwater. Here’s George’s own testimonial regarding how our assistance has aided in the growth of his business:
“Because of ERP’s assistance, I am now able to train 100 students over a 6 week cycle, providing the youth with opportunities in the IT space. I’m most grateful to ERP for assisting me in the early stages of my work, as this has enabled me to provide over 65 villages with access to information and IT learning, whilst also amplifying ERP’s impact in and around various Vaalwater. For this I say, Thank you ERP and the P.E.A.C.E. Foundation”