Gift of education from UK Mission friend
On Thursday 2 July, Tony Watkins, a retired maths lecturer at the University of Plymouth, visited Cardinal Napier to hand over educational kits for the children at Emolweni School at St Leo’s. Also present were retired deacon Lawrence and principal of the school, Lindiwe Maduna.
Suitable for children in the foundation phase (Grade R to Grade 3), the kits comprised colourful workbooks, puzzles, charts, flip cards, geometric shapes and educational toys aimed at stimulating enquiring young minds.
After seeing the need first hand during a previous visit to the Missions, Tony collected the money for the kits from his colleagues at the University, in lieu of a retirement gift. Mrs Maduna, could not contain her delight as she handed him a personal ‘thank you’ card.
There are 910 children at the school in the Valley of 1000 Hills, a poor rural community west of Durban. When she became principal in 2006, there were just 300 learners. The huge increase in numbers has led to overcrowded classrooms and enormous pressure on the school’s very limited resources.
A long-standing Mission Patron, Tony ‘s interest in visiting South Africa was sparked when he saw a photograph of another UK Mission friend being shown round the church at St Leo’s by Deacon Lawrence. He plans to return again next Easter and has asked to spend a few days at Emolweni School as a ‘classroom assistant’.
Coping with a large class of energetic six and seven year olds will be very different to lecturing University students – but no doubt Tony will find it an incredibly rewarding experience. We thank him most sincerely for his interest and his generosity.