Special School Goes for Green

Humanity is very good at making excuses for not delivering, so it is always refreshing to meet people that make things happen against the odds. This was the case at a sharing workshop for the WESSA/WWF Eco-Schools held recently in Polokwane by the department of water affairs.

A visually impaired teacher, Hulisani Netshituni, addressed the gathering and described how Tshilidzini Special School was improving their environmental footprint. Since 1971 the school has taught children with hearing, physical and visual disabilities and is situated in the village of Shayandima. The school has 483 learners the majority of which are hostel residents.

Through the Eco-Schools programme, funded provincially by De Beers and nationally by Tetra Pak, the school is improving environmental learning, appreciation and management. In their first year of participation the eco-committee chose the theme Resource Use and was awarded a bronze award. To monitor water usage some taps on the school grounds were locked.

Water bills were substantially reduced by installing 50 mm pipes for drip irrigation in the food garden and resuscitating an old borehole. The use of groundwater is preferred as the water does not contain chlorine. Buckets with taps have been placed in classrooms so that water is readily available for learners and teachers to use. Silver status in 2009 was achieved by the school taking on a second theme namely Healthy Living.

Under this theme the food garden has been expanded with the support of the community to provide vegetables to the hostel and a compost heap has been started. In this case study it is clear that not only do water, soil and air have less demands at an Eco-School but the participating school produces environmentally sensitive citizens and saves money at the same time.

For more information go to www.wessa.org.za or to register for 2010 contact the Limpopo regional co-ordinator on Cel: 083 746 2239 or Email: cathy@dzerefos.com.

By Cathy Dzerefos

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