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Education makes us strong - Support Makgatho Primary School in South Africa

Saulsville, Pretoria, South Africa

Education makes you strong and opens doors. Support SAGE Net and my voluntary service at Makgatho Primary School, where I contribute to education through health policy projects and working in the school library.

Rhea Schönherr from South African German Network e.V. (SAGE Net)
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Welcome to Makgatho!

My name is Rhea, I am 19 years old and I graduated from high school in summer 2019. Now I am spending a year in South Africa, where I am doing a volunteer service in development politics as a weltwärts volunteer. My sending organisation is the South African German Network, short SAGE Net, which sends German volunteers to South Africa, but also young South Africans to Germany to do voluntary work.

My place of assignment is the Makgatho Primary School, a township school west of Pretoria, which is attended by children between 5 and 13 years of age.  In addition to daily classes, the school offers free school uniforms and regular meals to the children, who come mainly from poor backgrounds. I am responsible for running the school library and providing reading support in order to strengthen the children's reading skills. Through exchanges with British and German volunteers, the school library has received a lot of new books and materials, mainly in the form of donations, especially in recent years.

In addition to the library, I run a working group called the Soul Buddyz. The Soul Buddyz is a nationwide project of the Soul Buddyz Institute, which is carried out at many schools. In the Soul Buddyz Clubs, children are introduced to social and environmental issues in a playful but also thematically critical way to bring them closer to the community. By sensitizing the children for themselves and their environment at an early age, youth unemployment and drug abuse in the township are to be counteracted. Many children do not have stable housing conditions or even role models, which is why the projects and themes aim to strengthen their self-confidence and their own role in society. An important part of this is the children's own rights. The school can collect points for activities within the Soul Buddyz Club. The aim is to be selected from all Soul Buddyz Clubs at the end of the school year and to go to a camp.   

Every year, the Makgatho Primary School offers space for 2 German volunteers who contribute to the children's education as part of the motivated team. This year it is my turn and I would like to support the children and the school with my ideas. The volunteer project at Makgatho has been around for over 10 years now and is an integral part of the school, as the library and the Soul Buddyz project is run exclusively by German volunteers. The volunteers are supported by the German Federal Ministry for Development and Cooperation. However, 25% of the annual costs have to be covered by own donations, which are paid into a solidarity pot.

The donated money will benefit SAGE Net as well as the South African partner projects, thus ensuring the future maintenance of the projects and the future sending of further German volunteers to South Africa.
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