We like to share our involvement with social development and education projects with our guests and offer them the opportunity to visit them.Guests can visit the children of our staff at the houses of their relatives in Tshiozwi by car or mountain bike. The children love showing their living environment and village. Tswelopele crèche, Vele school and Vhutsilo Mountain school are interesting projects to add a visit on our various tour programmes. Teachers, learners or volunteers show you around and give information about the work they are doing with children in various age groups.
Vele School on the mountain ridge at Gogogo – a hip, rural ‘green school’ with Oprah’s help
Vele School in northern Venda is a public school with an eco-efficient and learner-centric campus design. The main characteristics of the school’s design are the efficient use of energy, waste and water in combination with special care given to social relevance. The school uses natural resources in an innovative way such as solar power, natural heating and cooling solutions, rain water capturing and compost toilets.
Vele is situated at Gogogo in deep, rural Venda, established with funding from the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, the Creating Schools Charitable trust and the Department of Education in Limpopo. The school has perma-culture food-gardens to provide vegetables for the learners and a well-stocked library, computer centre and a state of the art math’s and science lab used by surrounding schools too. Madi a Thavha support the school by organising training in public relations skills and tour guiding to learners and also trained 2 women from the community in sewing skills, now doing a variety of sewing work for the school, teaching learners as well. During our tours to Northern Venda guests can visit Vele school too.
Vhutshilo Mountain school – peer educators supporting HIV positive children
Vhutshilo Mountain School started their school for AIDS orphans in a mobile-home with the enrollment of 3 orphans, one teacher and her loyal domestic worker. Now they have 59 young students and monitor 115 HIV+ children from 19 villages as part of the outreach program.
Vutshilo works with the local HIV Clinic. Children from the school also become role models and in turn become peer educators to support other HIV positive children so they can live free from stigma.They also established an income-generating project for the orphan school leavers, so they can stand financially on their own feet. Madi a Thavha and our guests visit the school regularly. Madi a Thavha is involved in training at Vhutshilo: our handyman Paul, and our Textile & Design studio team do sewing and carpentry training and our lodge’s staff trained the crèche’s cooks in healthy food preparation. We also buy recycled glass beads from the women at Vhutshilo and make necklaces that we sell in our CraftArt shop again.
The school can be visited during our tours to Northern Venda. Guest are invited to support this project by sponsoring an orphaned child to provide balanced meals, clothing, medical assistance, schooling and a stimulating environment to grow up.
Tswelopele crèche in Indermark – Moving forward
Tswelopele is a creche in Indermark in the Blouberg region, 70 kilometers West of Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge. Tswelopele was founded in 2000 by Fredericka Ralephata, and cares for 160 children. Fredericka is supported by 14 members of staff who work for a small salary in the crèche. The people who work in the crèche are very creative and with limited financial resources provide playing and learning opportunities. The children can play with a real old car, they built a train and made toys such kitchen utensils, beds for dolls and a radio from cardboard and paper mache. Tswelopele provides two meals to all children per day and transport them from home to the crèche and back.
Madi a Thavha can organize a visit to the crèche for guests. If you have space in your luggage, it would be nice to bring old puzzles, colouring books, pencils, English children’s books and educational toys and games. Any small donations are appreciated, these are used for staff training and improving the buildings.