New school kitchen gives pupils keener taste for learning
Hundreds of South African school children are gaining a fresh appetite for knowledge in learning environments that have recently been upgraded with local wind farm funding.
At one school in the Western Cape, the installation of a new, fully equipped kitchen means that its pupils can now be sure of getting two nutritional meals every day, helping them to focus on lessons in the classroom.
Previously, the catering staff at Ceres Secondary operated from the school hall without any means to prepare cooked food.
Principal Wilrozet Strauss credited the new facility, funded by the nearby Perdekraal East Wind Farm, with transforming school life for staff and her 567 youngsters.
She said: "This kitchen has already brought them so much joy. We have seen a significant improvement in our learner’s demeanour, the motivation of our kitchen staff, and the school at large. The staff can cook in a safer space and the equipment is more conducive to preparing quality food.
"Overall, it is a more pleasant and comfortable working environment, and the learners can enjoy nutritionally balanced meals."
The project was delivered in partnership with Breadline Africa, an NGO that is dedicated to providing safe learning spaces for more than 250,000 children across the region by 2023. The Western Cape Education Department was also involved in equipping the kitchen with essential items.
Mainstream Economic Development Manager Jo-Anne Brown explained how its funding formed part of Perdekraal East Wind Farm’s ongoing Asset Based Community Development Programme, which has a keen focus on mobilising communities.
She said: "It gives us great pride to have been able to help Ceres Secondary School, as it is non fee-paying and solely funded by the local government. Children in this area typically come from disadvantaged backgrounds and may arrive at school without food, making it difficult for them to concentrate on their work and learn.
"So, we, together with Breadline Africa, decided to step in and assist the school by providing a school kitchen which will assist in relieving hunger and improve learning."
Meanwhile, in the Northern Cape, Mainstream’s ED teams are celebrating renovation work that has both improved safety for 194 learners and teachers and created employment in the local community.
The refurbishment programme at Loeriesfontein High School included upgraded toilets and sewerage system, electrical rewiring, waterproofing and new concrete roofs; as well as the removal of asbestos-lined water tanks.
More than 20 jobs were supported during the project, with one of the contract firms hired for the work being a joint venture involving a black women-owned company.
Vanessa Fredericks, Economic Development Manager for, told how funding was provided by Loeriesfontein and Khobab wind farms as part of the commitment to promote access to quality education following discussions with the provincial and district Department of Education and the school governing body.
She said: "We are very pleased to have been able to fund the infrastructure upgrade, as we believe that a safe school fosters a better learning environment for children.
"The electrical wiring and fittings were old and non-compliant with current standards, posing a risk of electric shock and fire. With the asbestos tanks removed and replaced with plastic water tanks, learners now have safer drinking water options and there are no longer issues with leaky concrete roofs."
- Perdekraal East, Khobab and Loeriesfontein wind farms were developed, constructed and are now operated by Mainstream for our Africa Joint Venture, Lekela Power. Together, they generate enough clean power each year to meet the annual electricity needs of more than 350,000 averaged-sized South African households.