GCIS brings hope to Orange Farm school

Friday, October 25, 2013

Orange Farm – It was smiles and an all-round jovial atmosphere as learners at Solwazi Primary School in Orange Farm, outside Johannesburg, got their Friday off to a good start.

Pupils and staff at the school were paid a special visit by members of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) management committee (MANCO), who came bearing gifts.

Deputy Chief Executive Officer: Content Processing and Dissemination at GCIS, Harold Maloka, said they were first alerted to the school’s need for play facilities at the launch of Freedom Fridays on 20 September by learners from Redhill High School, who had visited Solwazi.

“When we heard the cry from the school that they need sports facilities as part and parcel of building the school after it was privately established, we wanted to make sure that we make a difference,” said Maloka during the school visit.

He said GCIS management individually dug deep into their “personal pockets as an organisation to live up to this particular dream, together with these kids”.

GCIS MANCO made a R5 000 donation to Solwazi Primary School. They also donated over 50 soccer balls and goal posts.

The school needed R25 000; R20 000 had been previously raised.

“We felt that we should raise the money that was needed... We, as a collective, raised the other R5 000 that was needed to make a difference in a child’s life.

“In our quest … to build a country that is prosperous … and able to produce the type of learner that will be able to make a better life for themselves – that particular journey starts in a school,” said Maloka.

The school opened its doors to pupils on 18 January 2012. It caters for children from grade R to grade seven. To date, the school accommodates 611 learners.

School principal William Mphela and the children welcomed the GCIS officials warmly. “We feel blessed and honoured to have you here,” said Mphela.

“We currently have eight classrooms and a hall that houses a further two classrooms,” he said from his small office, which is located in a container with a wooden finish inside.

Mphela said the school relied mostly on donations, given that it did not yet receive a subsidy from the Department of Basic Education. Schools first have to be in existence for a year before they can qualify for a subsidy.

“With the funds we collect, we buy things that the school needs such as stationery,” said Mphela.

Grade R students pay a monthly R100 for school fees, which includes a meal during school hours. The school has no electricity and operates on a generator.

The school is registered with the Gauteng Department of Education, and is also registered with the Department of Social Development as a non-profit organisation.

Mphela forms part of the 18 teachers at the school, tasked with educating the children.

There are plans to extend the school with a further eight classes and an administration block by the end of 2014.

The school has made a difference in the community since its establishment, as children no longer need to walk long distances to attend school in other areas.

Children no longer have to cross the Golden Highway, where they risk being hit by cars, to get to school. Prior to the building of the school, the nearest other school in the vicinity was 21km away.

Freedom Fridays

The GCIS visit to the school took place on Freedom Friday, a campaign launched to mark the lead up to the country celebrating 20 years of freedom and democracy.

The initiative encourages citizens to use every Friday from September 20 until the end of December 2014 to celebrate the milestones of the country’s freedom. 

Vedala Lazarus, the marketing manager for the school, said the response to the call for donations for the school has been positively received.

“We operate in an underprivileged area. Most parents do not work. We operate using the bare essentials,” said Head of Department at the school, NG Masondo. - SAnews.gov.za

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