“Purpose is the reason you journey. Passion is the fire that lights your way”. Our purpose was to take our Waste2Toys workshops to some communities in the Eastern Cape. The passion that lit our way came in abundance from the parents, educators, community workers and children that we had the privilege of teaching. What an amazing experience to be able to drive almost 3 000km through 3 provinces, and encounter the enthusiasm and commitment that we did in the 118 delegates we taught. The exciting part is that these delegates have daily contact with more than 3 500 children!
We encountered a little oasis at our first stop in the middle of Lingelihle Township near Cradock. The school that Alfie Blume, Mrs Ncede and Mrs Beja are running is such a special little place, with a small patch of green lovingly nurtured in the centre of a dry and dusty community. It is so heartening to see a township school where the principal and teachers are so enthusiastic about education. We shared our ideas with all of the Junior Primary teachers, as well as some educators from other schools in the township and neighbouring farm schools. The warm response we received had very little to do with the 39 degree heat we experienced!
St George’s College in Port Elizabeth hosted our next workshop. With delegates from APD Nelson Mandela Bay, Early Inspiration Practitioner Support Services, local farm schools and school outreach pupils, there was a buzz of enthusiasm and energetic participation in all the activities, and we are very grateful to Catherine Logie for coordinating this for us. Some of the St George’s College pupils were discussing how they could involve the local old age home in the process of making resources for underprivileged creches in the area – what a great way to involve the community!
Marianne Crane, from Woodridge College and Prep School, was the person who sparked this journey to Port Elizabeth. She included teachers and pupils from the local community, as well as pupils, teachers and parents from Woodridge, in the workshop. There was a wide range of ages present, but always the same smiles and laughter when we got them to test the toys they had made! When even the headmaster joins in and makes a skipping rope from bread bags, you know that this is a special school.
Our final workshop was hosted at St Francis College. Caryl Logie, a retired teacher, coordinated a group that included teachers, creche caregivers, members of the local church that work in the community, creche mentors, remedial educators and Grade 7 pupils. This enthusiastic bunch of people participated fully in all the activities and left with their bag of samples that they had made, ready to inspire the children they are involved with. It was such an awesome morning!
A journey of this nature would not have been possible without generous donors, and a huge shout out needs to go to the two major sponsors, Barloworld Transport and the Emirates Airline Foundation, who made this trip possible. It must be wonderful for them to know that thanks to their donation, more than 3 500 children now have access to the toys and knowledge that Singakwenza shared. What a great investment!