R1,5 Million Borehole and Infrastructure Development Impacts Disadvantaged KwaZulu-Natal Primary School
Fresh water, hygienic ablution facilities and infrastructural restoration for so long a wishful dream, are today a reality for the beleaguered Emazabekweni Primary School, a rural, ‘no-fees’ educational institution outside Highflats on KwaZulu-Natal’s south coast.
The dilapidated 93-year-old primary school’s rapid descent to decay recently came to the attention of the South African Muslim Charitable Trust (SAMCT), which provided a R1,5 million injection, totally revitalising the aged school and introducing water-on-tap for the first time. The Zondo & Bux Educational Trust was instrumental in identifying the school’s much-needed requirements and was the project initiator. Having approached funders, the Zondo & Bux Educational Trust was especially grateful to the SAMCT for the funding provided.
Commenting at a recent hand-over function, SAMCT representative, Mr Shabir Chohan, said: “Access to potable water and the availability of hygienic ablution facilities should be a fundamental necessity at any and every school in South Africa. It is, after all, something so many of us take for granted.”
“The reality in, especially, rural areas is regrettably very different. Such basic obligations are sorely lacking at numerous rural schools across the country, a sad consequence of South Africa’s history and current years-long infrastructural backlog experienced by the present Government’s education authorities.”
Emazabekweni Primary School is located in an area lacking direct access to water and has had to cope with inadequate and unhealthy toilet facilities for years, whilst funding constraints, coupled with Government backlogs, have led to infrastructural decay, including leaking roofs – which leave classrooms awash, broken doors and windows, missing gutters, cracked walls and peeling paint.
“That such a situation be so common-place in the modern world we inhabit today is abhorrent and stunts the effective educational development of tomorrow’s generation,” Mr Chohan said.
Clean water and decent sanitation are regarded as providing the basis for a healthy life. Although a scarce resource in South Africa, water is vital for life and should be directly accessible to all citizens.
Mr Chohan said: “The sad fact is that many of South Africa’s disadvantaged rural communities still live without any direct access to potable water for drinking, washing or food security.”
He added that the SAMCT was pleased to provide the finance necessary for the successful sinking of a borehole on the school property, providing direct access to water for teachers and learners.
“The new borehole also provides the opportunity for learners to develop a vegetable garden. This concept is vitally important as it will help alleviate nutritional issues amongst learners. Borehole water may be utilised to irrigate the vegetables, so improving crop production, whilst also providing opportunities for learners lacking water at home. Having fresh, clean water is, however, only half the battle won. Proper sanitation in a school environment is an absolute imperative if disease and its rapid spread amongst learners is to be avoided. Here again, the SAMCT was able to help,
constructing decent, hygienic ablution amenities to replace the school’s existing and totally inadequate toilet facilities,” said Mr Chohan.
He stressed that suitable and well-maintained infrastructure formed the cornerstone of education delivery, describing buildings and equipment as the foundation for teaching and learning.
The dilapidated state of the school’s infrastructure and regular flooding when it rained had ‘negatively impacted teaching’ at the school, although the school’s never-say-die attitude to adversity was to be applauded.
“In spite of its previous challenges and barriers to the delivery of effective education, this school has done a sterling job of making the best of what it had. Its teachers and learners are to be congratulated on never allowing their circumstances to distract them from their educational endeavours,” said Mr Chohan.
The SAMCT’s massive R1,5 million intervention at the school had restored dignity and a sense of pride for all those involved with the school. Some R511 000 of its donation was allocated to a massive repair and renovation project, providing for the replacement of roofing, ceilings, windows, gutters, doors, the removal of dangerous asbestos, the patching of cracked walls and painting.
Mr Chohan said: “The outcome is an absolute transformation, making this a much more desirable place to both teach and learn.”
School Principal, Mr ML Dlamini, said of the transformation: “The School Governing Body and I are overwhelmed by the outcome of the borehole and restoration work achieved at our school. Having toilets for both staff and learners, as well as all the other restorative work completed here, is amazing. We salute the SAMCT’s invaluable contribution and undertake – as stakeholders within the school – to ensure the delivery of quality education for the benefit of our learners, in light of an environment which lends itself to teaching and learning.”
He added: “The ability to deliver a better education will benefit the wider community and we must now commit ourselves to ensuring this restored infrastructure remains in good condition, so as to benefit the next generation. We are eternally grateful to Judge Raymond Zondo, the Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa, who has played a major role in the new developments at this, his former school.”
The SAMCT was created in 2008, the result of a partnership between Old Mutual Unit Trusts and Al Baraka Bank for the creation, marketing and distribution of a suite of Shariah Funds. This partnership ensures that the SAMCT is the beneficiary of these Shariah-compliant funds in order to provide funding, services and other resources for the improvement of the lives of the vulnerable, deprived and disadvantaged. The organisation has been singularly successful in delivering sizeable assistance solutions throughout South Africa – irrespective of race or religion – and continues to work to support needy organisations in the fields of health, social development, poverty alleviation and education.
“The borehole and ablution facilities installation, together with the repairs and renovations we have facilitated here constitute but a small contribution towards addressing the myriad of socio-economic challenges facing our country, but I hope that – small as it might be – it will make a tremendous difference to this particular school and its surrounding community going forward,” Mr Chohan concluded.
For more information about SAMCT or
its Emazabekweni Primary School borehole, ablutions and infrastructural restoration initiative, please contact:
Social Responsibility Officer Tel: 084 506 2280