Two Mdan­tasane schools’ ren­o­va­tion leaves them flush with suc­cess

Daily Dispatch - - News - GUGU PHANDLE

Clogged and leak­ing toi­lets are a thing of the past at two Buf­falo City Metro schools.

Phakamile Ju­nior Pri­mary and Fik­ile Gaushe Se­nior Pri­mary school in Mdantsane have newly built ablu­tion fa­cil­i­ties thanks to the African Show Coali­tion In­sti­tute (Tasci).

NPO founder and di­rec­tor Bathandwa Kwababa said the or­gan­i­sa­tion aimed to bridge the gap be­tween un­der­priv­i­leged and priv­i­leged schools.

Tasci wants to bring dig­nity to ru­ral and town­ship schools fac­ing his­tor­i­cal in­fras­truc­tural deficits.

With the as­sis­tance of the Em­bassy of Switzerlan­d, the NPO was able to ren­o­vate 27 toi­lets at Phakamile and in­stall wa­ter lines, basins and tiles.

Kwababa said the fund cov­ered a Covid-19 re­sponse for teach­ers to ori­en­tate and “em­power” them be­fore go­ing back to school and equip­ping pupils with ed­u­ca­tional ma­te­rial for learn­ing.

Kwababa said Phakamile and Fik­ile Gaushe were the first two schools in the metro to ben­e­fit from the con­struc­tion project.

But the project would ex­pand to other schools in need.

“Dur­ing our re­search we were as­ton­ished to find that of the 413 schools in BCM, over 300 had dys­func­tional toi­let sys­tems. This speaks to the mag­ni­tude of the prob­lem.

“When con­duct­ing site vis­its at schools, it’s al­ways dis­heart­en­ing to hear teach­ers and prin­ci­pals dis­cour­ag­ing us from stay­ing too long be­cause there aren’t any func­tion­ing toi­lets, or where there’s only one toi­let,” Kwababa said.

She said Phakamile and Fik­ile Gaushe were schools that dis­played a “com­mend­able re­la­tion­ship” be­tween par­ents, teach­ers and pupils.

“The proac­tive in­volve­ment of par­ents in schools is of ut­most im­por­tance. Schools which have such ex­pe­ri­ences are al­ways well kept, no mat­ter the con­di­tion of the school.”

“Phakamile and Fik­ile Gaushe are such schools which have shown dili­gence in the in­volve­ment of par­ents, teach­ers and pupils col­lec­tively,” Kwababa said.

Phakamile prin­ci­pal Ham­beka Skol­pati was over­joyed that pupils would be “ar­riv­ing to a fresh and new en­vi­ron­ment” in which they would be able to ob­serve Covid-19 health reg­u­la­tions with ease.

She said the school, which serves 850 pupils, was built in 1965 and the core in­fras­truc­ture had not been im­proved over the years.

“The toi­lets were a prob­lem for a very long time. They were leak­ing and some were over­flow­ing with sewage. As the school, we are so grate­ful and happy to have re­ceived brand new ablu­tion fa­cil­i­ties for pupils and staff,” Skol­pati said.

“The fa­cil­i­ties will fi­nally match what learn­ers have at home and they will be able to wash their hands with ease.”

Kwababa, who founded Tasci in 2016, said trans­for­ma­tion of poor and strug­gling com­mu­ni­ties could come about through schools.

“In an ef­fort to do that, Tasci has other ed­u­ca­tional pro­grammes, such as an on­go­ing lead­er­ship en­hance­ment project.

“This project ex­plores cul­tural di­ver­sity and the im­por­tance of self aware­ness among young peo­ple. Learn­ers are in­tro­duced to ori­en­ta­tion ses­sions and are then given tasks to com­plete over a pe­riod.”

“Learn­ers who com­plete each task re­ceive a badge of hon­our. In all, there are 13 badges to col­lect,” Kwababa said.

She said the lead­er­ship pro­gramme had 463 ac­tive par­tic­i­pants in schools in­clud­ing Hlokoma, Simnikiwe, Mzomhle and Tsholom­nqa high schools.

Pic­tures: SUP­PLIED

THE DIF­FER­ENCE: Be­fore and af­ter views of the ablu­tion fa­cil­i­ties at Phakamile Ju­nior Sec­ondary School in Mdantsane. The toi­lets re­ceived a much needed facelift from non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion, The African Show Coali­tion In­sti­tute, (TASCI), which fo­cuses on re­build­ing the dig­nity of ru­ral and town­ship schools.

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