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SOS Africa provides new classrooms at vital time for Western Cape School

24 Sep 2020

What better way to celebrate Heritage Day in South Africa than to share the exciting news of the official opening of 2 brand new Grade 1 Classrooms at St Michael’s Primary School in Elgin. Organised by the SOS Africa Charity with funding support from the Mordaunt Foundation, the new facilities have enabled the school to reduce their Grade 1 class sizes from 78 to 39 children per class.

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Following the formation of an exciting new partnership between St Michael’s Primary and SOS Africa in January 2019 and the sequent establishment of the charity’s Elgin Education Programme, school Principal Rehard Smith appealed to SOS Africa for support in overcoming barriers to learning faced by the school. After the successful refurbishment of the school’s sanitation facilities earlier in the year, Rehard asked if SOS Africa could also help him address the school's classroom shortage crisis. At the time, the school’s 78 Grade 1 children and 68 Grade 4 children were all cramped into 2 classrooms. With ample land space available to the school and enough teaching staff and resources, the solution was obvious, but no funding had been forthcoming for new classroom facilities.

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As luck would have it, at the time of asking, SOS Africa received a visit from Sharon Mordaunt from SOS Africa sponsors The Mordaunt Foundation. Rehard and SOS Africa's Matt chatted with Sharon about the desperate need for additional teaching spaces at the school and before long, the funding was made available and construction work began on 2 new classrooms.

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The immediate impact of these fantastic facilities has not only enabled the school to halve its Grade 1 and Grade 4 class sizes, but also provide a safe learning environment for these children during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Most importantly, the beneficiaries of the new classrooms have been inspired by the transformation and are now receiving a much higher standard of education at the school.

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“Now our learners can enjoy quality education in a safe environment by observing social distancing, especially in this time of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The new classrooms have significantly dropped or absenteeism rate as learners are less afraid to come to school. We are so blessed that our educational partners SOS Africa have once again invested in our school.” (Rehard Smith, School Principal)

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“The new classrooms have made a big difference to our school. They are well-structured, neat and comfortable and the learners love their new class environment.” (Minnie Williams, Grade 1 Teacher)

“We are all very excited with our brand-new classrooms! Our heartfelt thanks to the sponsors!” (Teresita Blignaut, Grade 1 Teacher)

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