Local Initiative Changing Lives

Cathy Labuschagne MPP

DA Western Cape spokesperson for Education in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament

This week Tuesday, 11 September 2012, the Standing Committee on Education visited the Media Centre on Timberlea Farm as part of an oversight visit. Initially, when it opened in 2009, the Timberlea Media Centre focused on Adult Basic Education and Training but soon realised that there was a greater need amongst the young children living on the farm. Currently, 25 children living on the farm voluntarily attend the afternoon sessions at the Media Centre.

The Media Centre at Timberlea has developed into an educational centre with a dedicated and dynamic on-site facilitator, as well as eight computers equipped with the educational software – CAMI Software. CAMI Educational Software is specifically designed to help with literacy, numeracy and reading. These are a great advantage to the development of learners attending the resource rich Timberlea centre.

The Media Centre at Timberlea is funded by the Waitrose Foundation. This foundation was set up by the Waitrose Supermarket in the United Kingdom in 2005, with the aim of improving the lives of farm workers and their families in the communities that supply fruit to the supermarket. Together with Timberlea, eleven other farms in the Western Cape are scheduled to become Waitrose Foundation Farms before the end of 2012.

As DA Spokesperson on Education in the Western Cape I am excited about the prospects for educational development, especially among rural communities. I support the Standing Committee enquiry to the Principal of Rietenbos Primary School, where some of the learners attend school during the day and who was present during the visit, to track the progress of these learners.

It is amazing to see what can be achieved when the good will of companies and the determination of those passionate about quality education are combined. I commend Marian Jeffeys (Timberlea) and all those involved in realising that despite all the inadequacies in education, they can make a difference to the children living on farms in the rural areas. Thank you for identifying the potential of our children and for enhancing it.

This wonderful initiative is proof of creating better opportunities for all by working better together.

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