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Mhondoro Wilderness School
A unique opportunity has been created whereby several lucky boys and girls will receive a life-changing education. These are children who would not, under normal circumstances, have the benefit of quality education.
An excellent education is not readily available in Africa. It is a fact that young children in Africa do not always get the opportunities they deserve. This is a complex issue that is difficult to solve on a large scale. However, much can be done when addressing a small, geographically targeted group.
The statistics are shocking. Some groups estimate that only two out of 10 toddlers or young children receive quality early education that instils learning – fostering and enabling the skills and brain development that is required to succeed later in life.
A large part of this school’s infrastructure has already been funded by Frank and Myriam Vogel. The Vogel family’s MF Foundation has created this important community development initiative and provided the essential infrastructure to launch the project.
An opportunity now exists for benefactors to co-fund the school’s small operation that will enable the next phase of this project, which is already two years in the making.
Brief Description of the issue
The school aims to feed and educate several children from the local workforce while providing essential demographic diversity in skin-color, gender, age and background.
- Local schools in South Africa are underfunded, understaffed and over-populated.
- Local schooling for young children on a private level is prohibitively expensive and not affordable to many working parents.
- Accessibility in terms of physically getting to school is challenging due to limited public transport.
- Top-level learning centres for young children are non-existent in this region.
- Some educators claim that the learning of Mathematics and English comprehension at a young level is at a very poor level in this geographical region.
- Diversity is lacking in some schools as geographically some cultures live in certain areas only, which limits the children’s exposure to different cultures and backgrounds.
The school will focus on 11 subjects allowing for unique skills to be developed: The school is open to children 2 years+ and older
Mathematics and English will follow the Kumon Maths Learning Program. It will start by developing the child’s very first math skills, including counting, writing numbers, mental calculations and even addition and subtraction.
The Kumon Reading Program starts pre-readers off with a fun “look, listen and repeat” worksheets.
Colorful illustrations help connect words to familiar objects, to start putting words together. From here the child will progress to identify nouns, verbs and adjectives, and use them within sentences.
Bush skills and other subjects will follow the Field Guides Association of South Africa (FGASA) workbooks that are specifically created for young children.
Mathematics can be a major stumbling block for many children. The Kumon Maths program can take a child from mathematics to calculus. Training in this field from an early age in an exciting way and fun will provide individual children with a competitive edge.
English as a global communication and business world language is rarely written accurately and often not spoken properly. This program teaches the young learner to learn and comprehend in a fun, visual way – from a young age.
Research suggests that the majority of adults do not understand, nor appreciate the detail, intricacies, and often complex processes of our natural world. Connecting a person from a young age to nature and the learning it offers, will further develop the individual as a responsible and caring global citizen.
Practical learning is an essential part of the child’s path to learning activities. This will instill skills that are rarely owned by children, let alone adults, and will greatly assist the child in making the transition to a working adult.
For more information about the Kumon math and English programs you can visit:
Mhondoro’s Wilderness Educational School is based in Welgevonden Game Reserve where an old storeroom has been transformed into a building fit for learning. The building is situated right next to a protected playground, which will allow children to be under the watchful eyes of teachers and tutors at all times.
The school will be open from Monday mornings to Friday afternoons, allowing weekends for the children to rest and play.
Children will follow learning programs that are age-specific and presented according to a schedule that incorporates a full day’s activities.
Learning will take place in digital format utilizing digital learning pads, TV, and Wi-Fi, and of course, practical sessions spent in the field or on projects.
Workstations will be created, and all learning and creative activities will be monitored and captured for feedback purposes.
Children will receive recognised learning accolades after competence and understanding are shown. Each child will be encouraged to excel in the group, but also as individuals. The school will provide private education unequaled in the area, with personal and individual attention from a qualified teacher.
Once enrolled in the school, children are referred to as “cubs”, relating to the young born from lions, leopards, and other mammals. Like cubs, young children have a lot to learn before integration into society as an adult can occur! This school will provide that opportunity and much more.
School finances will be overseen by Ronel Breytenbach, Marketing Manager of Mhondoro Safari Lodge and Villa. A mother of two herself, Ronel co-managed the re-launch of Mhondoro in 2016. Ronel also oversees the payroll of Mhondoro, ensuring that staff are paid on-time and fairly.
School infrastructure will be maintained by the maintenance team of Mhondoro Safari Lodge.
The teaching position will be based on a 3-year contract. The teacher will spend Monday to Friday in class working with the children. Extra- curricular activities will be overseen by experienced field rangers.
Methods and measurement tools
The school success will be based largely on the role players involved and of course on the children integrating properly accepting the school as a fun and wanted part of their young lives.
Progress and successful completion of learning will be shared in monthly newsletters by email and social media using children’s results and photos + video
generated for that purpose.
The teacher will generate the children’s results and the content that will be shared. The result will be shared as per the completion of the curriculum.
Normally it is very expensive to get involved in education programs abroad and in Africa. It is even more difficult to follow the progress and receive reports of this nature.
This school with its limit of 4 children in the Ist year is a perfect opportunity to get involved in world-class learning program and the sponsorship of some of Africa’s children.
Even though sponsorship is most important the parents will also carry cost. This is to ensure ownership and regular interest and involvement.
The schools setting also provides opportunity for visitors to go on a world-class safari experience while seeing the children in action. Discounted rates will also be made available to sponsors as a show of appreciation.
Mhondoro and its owners have done the Ist step, with the assistance of local parents and a sponsor we can start it up and add to the many successes already spearheaded by the Vogel family in Welgevonden Game
RSA Bank details:
The Friends of Mhondoro Trust
Investec South Africa, Johannesburg
Netherlands Bank Details:
IBAN: NL37INGB0004983020 BIC: INGBNL2A
ANBI – Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling
The Dutch tax authorities have granted the MF Foundation ANBI status. Donations to the MF Foundation that comply with the applicable rules are therefore tax-deductible. More information can be found on the website of the Dutch tax authorities.
https://www.mffoundation.nl/ (website of the fund in the Netherlands)