Posts Tagged ‘education’

Fezeka School, local educators, and Education without Borders volunteers have been organizing a series of motivational talks for students. Ted and Roger, two local volunteers who have been involved with EwB for some time, teamed up with EwB project manager Vimbai, and guest speaker Unathi, to talk to 50 grade nine students. To learn more about Vimbai, please visit this page: http://www.educationwithoutborders.ca/node/124

Here is some feedback from Roger about Unathi’s talk.

Dear Unathi and Vimbai,


Let me once again thank you, Unathi, for an outstanding presentation. There was no doubt in the mind of Ted, Vimbai and I that you really hit a few nails on the head with your eloquence and clarity. You make a wonderful public speaker. I attach a few photos. I also have some video. All will be put on a disc. I can have this ready for you when you return from France and when we meet I can pass it to you.


In one of the videos, you say “it’s not cool to not have a job and it’s not cool to sit at home.” I think this is powerful stuff. The fact that you were once again surrounded by eager learners, demonstrated their wish to learn more from you. The challenge for Vimbai and ourselves is to create follow up from these talks.


I also think the message that there are a variety of jobs is getting across. One expressed an interest in meteorology, the other being a pilot and the one that intrigued me was “how do I become a spy?”


All good stuff.

Below is a summary of some of Unathi’s key points of advice to the students, as well as some photographs (http://s1217.photobucket.com/albums/dd383/educationwithoutborders/Unathi%20-%20talk%20September%2015th%202011/) – Thanks to Ted Weber for these.

-There is career, a job, and a future out there for everyone

-Make a list of your ideal professions and then think where you are now what subjects you need to achieve this as a main goal.

-It is important to know and to focus now on your strengths

-Choose something you enjoy doing, not what you think others think you should enjoy.

-When difficulties occur, choose a teacher adult role model that you can identify with. Choose someone you can trust and who is respected in the community.

-Look for bursaries in the Sunday papers, the internet, or government training grants through Thetas

-Loosing bad friends early on School is a good thing. It is important to hang out with motivated good friends!

-School is a place to learn and prepare for your future, as well as having fun.

-It is no fun being 25 in a township without a job; so use school as a jumping board to get a good job!

-Unathi, who is a respected wine maker and scientist, discussed how agriculture is cool and how she liked nature biology, the trees, the outdoors, and was good at science. She explained to students how science, biology, and respect for nature are key to improving lives, and that there are many careers in these fields for motivated people and women.

Thanks for all the great feed back Ted, Roger and Vimbai on Unathi’s talk. I look forward to meeting Unathi and Vimbai, as well as some of the students when I visit Cape Town next time!



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My partner is studying genetics at one of the universities in the Vancouver area. As part of his early studies he is taking a course in data analysis, studying an application that enables scientists to work with metadata – essentially data about data, or looking at how data can be reinterpreted to give additional unexpected results. In one his classes they looked this data chart: http://graphs.gapminder.org/world/, which was created using http://www.r-project.org/

Click on the first link, it is very interactive!

The graphic plots development and life expectancy against time for the world’s nations, and shows how countries have improved life expectancy as they have become richer and more economically developed. The animation also shows the effects of World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, and the ravages of AIDS on human development.

One can also track individual nations by selecting particular data points and charting them versus time. In the case of South Africa, the effects of AIDS are shockingly noticeable in the 1990’s, causing a massive decline in standards of living for most South Africans.

Education is the best defence against the progression of AIDS. An educated youth can confront this disease without prejudice, and can adopt safe sex practices without stigmatisms. Investing in projects funded by Education without Borders is a way for you to improve human health in South Africa, and help confront this disease over the long term.

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Ted Weber, who many of you know as EwB’s local volunteer contact in Cape Town, recently visited Fezeka School. Here is a brief note from Ted, as well as some pictures he took of the library, staff, and students.

Glen and Marc,

Roger and I were at Fezeka school last week.

Vimbai who is the EwB Project Coordinator for the school was in the Library chatting to Roger and myself with Phumela Mattoti, the Life Skills teacher.

The subject was the up and coming talks, which we are doing for the learners in September. In comes this young man who Vimbai was assisting with his application to study Pharmacy at UWC [University of the Western Cape]. He should do well as he is one of the best students in Physics and maths we hear.

So here are the pictures of the application going into the envelope for delivery by Vimbai, as well as a message from her.

“Hello Ted, 

It was great meeting you too. Thanks for your sms earlier this afternoon.

The Student’s name is Sonwabile Mafongosi.

He is really excited about studying at UWC next year. 

Peace, Love & Joy 

Vimbai Nyatsambo”



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The SEED program at Fezeka is beginning to take root. This is a program funded by Education without Borders and focuses on bringing interactive environmental education to schools such as Fezeka. At Fezeka the SEED program has funded the school food garden as well as the school’s wind turbine, which provides clean electricity to the sciences lab.

As explained by Green Practice’s facilitator Bood Carver, the SEED program is now in its second year at Fezeka. It has helped connect local residents with farming culture, bringing not just students to the project, but also parents, unemployed residents, and elders. SEED’s success is that it not only teaches residents and students about where their food comes from, it also helps build a community around a public space. Public environs are often neglected in urban slums because residents do not have the means or incentives to develop such spaces. Without safe public spaces it is very difficult for residents to develop healthy learning communities.

Below is Bood Carver’s article to us. Feel free to read and comment on it. Who knows, perhaps you have some ideas that can be used to make the garden work even better!


Green Practice by facilitator Bood Carver

In the second year with SEED, Fezeka has really stood out. The caretakers are hardworking and there is a strong farming culture and practical awareness of the need to grow food here at this school. We are fortunate to have such dedicated staff here and some individuals are highly successful gardeners. We try and integrate and respect their techniques as much as possible and often they are included in lessons with learners. This has helped to build a collaborative and successful partnership with the school. The garden is beautifully designed and cared for. It is neat and highly productive. Learners are very interested in many aspects of the garden. Medicinal plants and remedies are a favorite topic, as is global warming and permaculture. It’s amazing to hear how knowledgeable the grade 10’s are on these topics, especially medicinal plants.

There is great community involvement at this school and we are regularly having conversations over the fence with community members. One unemployed father, Mfundo has asked to sit in on occasion in SEED lessons. Another old man often gives great gardening advice from across the fence when he’s walking past. The wind turbine and garden attracts attention to the school and

people feel free to interact spontaneously and often ask questions concerning the garden. We are keen and looking forward to expanding the food garden to produce more vegetables next term.


Great lessons on medicinal plants with great involvement from learners. There was great interest in common remedies, which are derived from plants that we had growing in the garden. Sam Freedom bought a small jar of “Miracle ointment”, made from Kooigoed, Comfrey, Rosemary and Lavender.

The new worm farm and banana spiral are amazing and functioning very well and we have been highly impressed with the size of the vegetables that are growing at this school!



Green Practice

Facilitator: Bood Carver

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