New classroom for Grade R learners

Thanks to a donation of R350 000 from Ford South Africa and Ford Credit to the Gift of the Givers Foundation for the construction of a new Grade R classroom and early childhood development (ECD) centre at Weenen Primary School in KwaZulu-Natal, it was officially opened.

Ford Gift Skool2

Located 35km from Estcourt, the rural school accommodates a total of 356 learners from Grades R to seven, with the new classroom and ECD facility caring for the youngest learners at the school. Ford Credit donated R250 000 to the project, with Ford South Africa contributing a further R100 000. Construction started at the end of 2021 and was recently completed, ready for the start of the 2022 school year.

“Education is the key to unlocking the economic potential of South Africa, and it’s a valuable tool for empowering and uplifting communities,” says Neale Hill, President of Ford Motor Company Africa. “Funding the new Grade R classroom at Weenen Primary School is vital in giving children from this rural area a solid educational foundation.

The new Grade R classroom at the Weenen Primary School.
Inside the new classroom at the school.

“It is a privilege to partner with Gift of the Givers Foundation again on another crucial project, which reaffirms Ford’s commitment to the country and caring for the people of South Africa,” Hill says. “The team from Gift of the Givers, under the guidance of Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, does exceptional community work across the country, and we commend the foundation for making a meaningful and long-lasting impact on peoples’ lives.”

The Grade R learners were previously taught in a physical education change room with poor ventilation and lighting, which served as a less than ideal space for the children to truly learn and grow. With the newly constructed classroom, Weenen Primary School can now accommodate 45 Grade R learners in a suitable learning environment.

Navindren Naidoo, principal of Weenen Primary School, expressed immense gratitude to Ford SA, Ford Credit and Gift of the Givers for the new Grade R classroom: “The school has been trying since 2008 to obtain sponsorships to build the much-needed ECD centre and Grade R classroom, but to no avail until 2021 when Ford and Gift of the Givers came to our rescue.

The recently completed classroom has allowed more learners to be enrolled for the start of the 2022 school year and has also made it possible for Weenen Primary School to accommodate children with disabilities. “The school is immensely proud to announce that this year we have enrolled a physically challenged Grade R learner. This ensures that we are able to give learners with physical disabilities equal opportunities for education, which wasn’t previously possible owing to the limitations of the facilities,” Naidoo says.

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