In recognition of the 67 years of his life Madiba devoted to serving humanity, Waterkloof Estate, a sustainable wine estate on the outskirts of Somerset West, reached out to the downtrodden Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, as part of its continued support for the Community Empowerment Project.
The tone was set by Madiba himself, and in honouring this selfless cause, Waterkloof staff spent the day at Sir Lowry Pass Primary School, dishing out nutritious soup, fresh bread, cool drinks and potato chips to 1 000 needy scholars between the ages of 7 and 13.
“Sir Lowry’s Pass Village is the closest community to Waterkloof. It is here where we choose to make a difference. Working with the Sir Lowry’s Pass Village Empowerment Project, we contributed towards Sir Lowry’s Pass Literacy Programme this year. It is aimed at the literacy development of most of the children aged 3-13 years,” says Claudia Young-Kelly, sales and marketing manager at Waterkloof Estate.
The Trust recently decided to build classrooms for an extended programme, to provide early childhood development as well as numeracy and literacy development for about 1 300 children in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village. The final plan is to build eight classrooms, an office and exhibition room.
“The programme has seen significant improvements in the capabilities of the children over the past three years. Reading improved by 200% on average per annum and literacy by 400% during 2012. It was great to view the progress of these classrooms during our visit on Thursday,” says an elated Claudia.
These scholars live in dire conditions in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village. The lack of education coupled with HIV/Aids, drugs and alcohol abuse have contributed to a 40% unemployment rate, with most of the inhabitants barely surviving, having to live without proper sanitation, electricity and water.
“By reaching out to the school, not only on Tata’s special birthday, but throughout the year, we aim to assist wherever we can to improve the unfortunate social circumstances of this very poor community that has been largely forgotten. At Waterkloof we strive to take action, inspire change and make every day a Mandela Day with a focus on food security and literacy,” adds Claudia.
Last year, Waterkloof in conjunction with the Sir Lowry’s Pass Community Empowerment Project, initiated a donation campaign which challenged individuals and local businesses to donate clothing, educational toys and non-perishable food to the primary school. Waterkloof also donated school shoes and socks to 125 Grade 1 learners and soup, sweets and drinks to all the scholars on the day.
“Education improvement is the only route to a long-term cohesive affluent South Africa,” states Paul Boutinot, owner of Waterkloof.