School Calendar Jan-Aug 2019

Posted: January 24, 2019

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Building a school in South Africa

Round Square International Service Project 2015 focused on challenged children in White River
Mustafa Quadir

This past summer, I spent three weeks in White River, South Africa, working alongside 22 students from 13 different countries around the world. Our primary goal for the project was to build a library and a classroom for Lwaleng School, a local primary school in a nearby township with nearly 500 students.
Daily, we would carry over 500 bricks, mix cement, paint, and for the first three days at the project, teach and play with the local students. Working at the project site was an incredible experience, full of laughter, hard work and team spirit. We worked so quickly and efficiently that we finished the library ahead of schedule, and began work on the classroom. 
The team also visited an Uthando (meaning love) Orphanage, a place of safety for up to 25 children, aged between 2 to 16 years, all coming from backgrounds of sexual abuse or child trafficking. At the orphanage, we painted the girl’s dormitory, and engaged the children in various activities. Seeing so many children who have been through mental and physical abuse, as well as child trafficking, carry smiles on their faces inspired many team members. This was one of the most fulfilling experiences of the trip.
Next door to Uthando, is Masoyi Special Care Center, a daycare for mentally and physically challenged children from the community. Prior to the construction of this center, many of these children were locked inside their homes while their parents worked. At Masoyi, we erected and painted a jungle gym that is safe for the students to play on. 
After a hard day’s work, we would return excited for the daily evening activity. They included a performance by the Savuka Youth Dance Crew, Star Gazing, drumming, and singing with a youth choir. I felt these activities were vital for us to experience the culture of South Africa. They also exposed us to locals, and allowed us to see how much we have in common, despite living thousands of miles away. Later in the week, we attended a cultural Church Service, full of music, singing and dancing.
Next, we prepared to have our wilderness experience at the Karongwe Game Reserve. On the way to the reserve, we stopped at Harrie’s Pancakes for breakfast, the beautiful Blyde River Canyon, and Lisbon Falls. The two-night, three-day experience was truly a remarkable one. Not only did the team see the Big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo), but gained incredible amounts of knowledge about a multitude of animals. 
I was one of the four leadership students on this project. This meant that after two weeks, the team that I worked with would leave, and new students would come to continue work on the project. During this extra week, the leadership students took up authoritative positions and assisted the project leaders in many key areas. Perhaps, these were the days that contributed most to my personal growth. I learnt many details that are essential when you are in a position of leadership. We got to lead the orientation, the risk assessment, games and also took turns acting as the project leader, which meant making key decisions at the worksite to ensure maximum productivity.
I witnessed myself personally grow, and it is only when I have returned do I realize that this project gave me a life-changing experience. I returned with more self confidence, knowledge, communication skills and most of all, amazing friends. I feel lucky to be part of a team that bonded so well, students and adults alike.


The Roundsquare Organization

Round Square is a worldwide association of schools which share a commitment beyond academic excellence, to personal development and responsibility.

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