From classroom under a tree to a wooden classroom

Mpumalanga pupils who were taught under a tree leaped for joy when they entered their new timber classrooms on Monday 26 September 2011.

 The timber classrooms were formally handed over at Beketelani Primary School in Blairmore near Amsterdam on the previous Friday afternoon.

 “I am very happy about the new classrooms because we are now going to learn even when it’s raining. We used to learn under a tree and it was hard for us,” said pupil Sphamandla Sangweni, 13.

 The three classrooms were handed over by representatives of Komatiland Forest (KLF) and Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Benedict Martins.

 KLF spokesman Leslie Mudimeli said the company wanted to help the school, which is situated near a KLF plantation.

“This is an historical event for the company and the community of Blairmore,” said Mudimeli.

 He said the company consulted the Mpumalanga provincial education department before building the timber structures.

 He said timber structures had various benefits, including being quick to build and environmentally friendly.

 “Timber structures have high insulation properties making the cost of heating and cooling (less) during the different seasons. Timber is good for building purposes as it is sustainable and renewable, which makes it a resource that has a low environmental impact,” said Mudimeli.

 The deputy minister said government was looking forward to using timber structures across South Africa.

 “We are looking forward to building more timber structures for different purposes throughout the country,” said Martins.

 Nokuthula Mthethwa, chief financial officer for the Ehlanzeni educational region, thanked KLF for the donation.

 “I would like to thank KLF for building the classrooms for these children. Children from rural areas and farms also deserve better. These timber classrooms look exactly as those that have been built with bricks,” said Mthethwa.

 School governing body chairwoman Thembisile Nkosi said the structure would help improve learning.

 “Some of our learners were still learning under a tree because we did not have enough classrooms. I hope now they will able to concentrate and grasp everything that their teachers impart,” said Nkosi.

However, she said the school, which has seven teachers, was still without tap water.

 “We don’t have taps or any other source of water. If the trucks from Komatiland and the other one from the municipality don’t appear to deliver the water, our children are forced to go to the nearby well in order to collect water,” Nkosi said.  By Masoka Dube – BuaNews

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