THREE new classrooms built by East Cape Fuels at Sobantu Junior Secondary School at Gwatyu farms near Komani have helped ease the crowding of pupils from different grades into one classroom.
Speaking to The Rep this week, elated principal Thobeka Bomvana said she had approached Kim Wigmore of East Cape Fuels to assist the 110 Grade R to Grade 9 pupils who had been studying in appalling conditions. “When I arrived at the school in 2015 I was so sad to see the bad condition it was in. The children were studying in an old house that could have collapsed at any time. We had Grade 1 to 3 in one room with grades 4 to 6 also sharing a class.”
Bomvana said it had not been easy to teach the children, but thanks to the intervention of East Cape Fuels, matters had improved greatly. “Children can concentrate in class with fewer disruptions.”
As most of the parents depended on grants, the children were discouraged and bunked classes. Livestock would also wander into the old building during winter and on rainy days. Construction on the three classrooms started last year. Renovations to other classrooms, painting, a fence and a name board with two water tanks were also provided.
“Now this feels like a proper school. Before we did not have any offices. I used the corner of one of the classrooms to do my work with a lesson happening in the classroom at the same time. We also have a garden now.”
Wigmore said the plight of the pupils had moved the business to become involved.“We found an incredible need there. Children were sharing classes and the preschool was in a run-down house, which was extremely dangerous. Our main concern was for the children.”
She said it was hoped that the business’s involvement would help encourage awareness of the need to assist rural schools, particularly by the government. ’’We believe education is going to solve some of the challenges in our country.”Parent Bukelwa Mtya said they were hopeful the children would now perform better. “The children are more excited to go to school because they now have a proper school.”