Rationale behind the Fund:
In 1994 Post Apartheid South Africa, there was a critical need to address the education standard differential between people of different ethnic backgrounds in South Africa. Twenty years on, there remains a gross shortage of teachers, pupils attending non-fee paying rural schools in Kwazulu Natal are taught in large multi-grade classes by one teacher and are only exposed to English from Grade 4 at the age of ten years. In a mere four years, these pupils have to grasp English which is not their mother tongue, in order to study and to ultimately write their final Grade 7 examinations which will be used to assess their acceptance by a High School. Matriculation examinations in South Africa can only be written in English. Any pupil without a solid foundation in spoken and written English and attending a rural school is disadvantaged from the outset and cannot realise their potential. Russell and Simone hope that in the long term, children of staff members given the opportunity to attend a good pre-primary school will be able to enter a good Primary school and hence a good High school.
The aim of the Sani Lodge Backpackers Educational Fund started in January 2014, is to allow Sani Lodge to play a role in improving the level of education of children in our country by providing financial assistance to staff, thereby allowing them to be able to afford to send their children to schools providing a higher level of education (usually fee paying schools). Sani Lodge wants to encourage staff to send their children to pre-schools at the earliest age possible quality preschools which are not just “child-minding” but really prepare the children for primary school. The children attending these pre-schools will be taught in English from an early age, allowing them to gain entrance to a good quality primary school, where the individual classes are smaller and not multi-grade as in rural primary schools.
Staff at Sani Lodge are screened for eligibility according to guidelines set out by the Education Fund. In 2014, we funded Elihle Mtolo, Lwandle Mtolo, Thando Mthembu all aged 5 years and Stha Mgoza aged 3 years to attend Noah’s Ark Pre Primary school in Himeville and Thembelani Dumakude who is deaf and attends the special Kwa Thintwa School for the Deaf near Durban. In 2015, we carried on funding all these children except for Stha whose mother decided he was still very young and that she would not send him to pre-school that year. 2016 saw Elihle and Thando start primary school in Grade 1 at Faithway School in Himeville, Lwandle repeated his final year of preschool at Noah’s Ark and Thembelani continued at Kwa Thintwa. In 2017, Elihle and Nolathando are both repeating grade 1 at Faithway while Lwandle has now joined them. Thembelani is now in Grade 11 at Kwa Thintwa and 4 year old Asiphile Khubone has started at Noah’s Ark pre-school. We pay 50% of school fees for each of these children. Each of the children receives a termly report categorising their progress. Children of all different ethnic and cultural groups attend Noah’s Ark preschool and Faithway school which imbibes a healthy philosophy of religious and cultural tolerance and acceptance
MIRRIAM MGOZA AND HER SON STHA
MBALI MTOLO WITH HER TWINS ELIHLE AND LWANDLE
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SANI LODGE BACKPACKERS DOES NOT HAVE A 24 HOUR RECEPTION. RECEPTION OPENING HOURS ARE 7AM TO 9PM. GUESTS PLANNING TO ARRIVE LATER THAN 9PM, WILL NEED TO MAKE SPECIAL PRIOR ARRANGEMENTS.