When we established Suni-Ridge in 1992, most of the workers at surrounding farms were very poor and no school had been established for their children. To provide a school for these children was to be our first community outreach priority.
Our first school building was situated in the premises of an old pineapple factory close to Suni-Ridge and volunteer teachers provided lessons for the children. Unfortunately we were given notice to move and we found ourselves unable to find other premises, so we borrowed a large South African Defense Force Tent and moved the school into this tent which we erected under a huge maroela tree.
This photo shows some children, many of whom are AIDS orphans, from the False Bay school, spending a day at our reserve.
Days like this are invaluable, as children learn how to interpret habitat and wildlife, as well as cultural conservation (including the medicinal use of plants and trees). This is something that would have been handed down by their parents.
Eventually the Kwa Zulu Natal Department of Education agreed to assist our school, which we named False Bay School. It was built on land that we acquired near to Suni-Ridge. Qualified teachers were also provided by the Department to teach at the school.
Today False Bay School serves a very important group of underprivileged children. Many of these children are sadly aids orphans who are living with extended families in the area (perhaps a grandmother, aunt or uncle) or sometimes even acquaintances of family.
They often do not have access to sufficient food or a balanced diet and for this reason our school also provides the children with a feeding scheme.
Their poverty and challenges at this early stage in their lives, do not change the fact that they have – like so many privileged children – those wonderful characteristics which are special to all children.
Also see our Young Environmental Ambassador’s Leadership Course for older children.