July 2022.

Three social workers are being funded across eight schools in the Gamagara area, as part of the REISA Ubuntu Schools Project, to address challenges relating to learning barriers.

“Through the social workers’ extensive engagements with learners and educators, various challenges around learning barriers have been brought to light and successfully addressed. The Ubuntu Schools Project is instilling trust in the communities we serve, making people aware that change is possible, and that we are willing to go the extra mile,” explained Veronique Isaacs, Project Community Operations Officer for REISA, which is funding the appointment of these social workers, as part of its Socio-Economic Development Programme.

The Ubuntu social workers work closely with the school’s disciplinary committee, the school based support team, the Representative of Council of Learners (RCL), and parents to address behavioural problems. Individual and group therapy sessions are provided to meet the needs of learners, and when necessary, learners are referred to relevant stakeholders for further intervention.

“The most rewarding part of my job is watching my clients’ lives change positively, especially when they are able to rise above adversity and take control of their own lives. We have seen learners reintegrated into school not because they are pleasing anyone, but because they realise the importance of building a better future for themselves through our encouragement,” said Keotshepile Dorcas Lekhobe, one of the social workers for the Ubuntu Schools Project.

Improved self-esteem among girl learners is just one of the many programme successes, in addition to an increase in learner motivation, engagement in productive activities, and most importantly a reduction in learner dropout rates.

“We experience many social challenges in the school environment, as many of our learners come from broken homes. However, as a result of this programme, learners, educators, and parents now have access to social networking support for personal or professional concerns.  It is comforting to know that if we were unable to provide the necessary support, we can refer individuals to professionals who can assist,” concluded Gamagara High School Principal, Mr Mervyn Goliath.

The schools currently benefiting from this programme include: Sishen Primary, Kathu High School, Deben Primary, Gamagara High, Noord-Kaap Primary, Maikaelelo Primary, Langberg High, and Sishen Intermediate Mine School.

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