The struggle to learn; Educating Ourselves

Last year on the invitation of my good friend Harmen Oostra, I found myself photographing the Nkente Junior Secondary School situated in the Kentani area of the Eastern Cape. Harmen is Chairman of the Siyafunda Education Support Trust which he and his wife Sanny initiated in 2005. The Trust also managed to establish a Siyafunda Foundation in the Netherlands with the objective of raising funds for the Trust in South Africa.
“It struggles with a lack of space with only 5 classrooms for more than 350 children”
The school is one of the many that have fallen through the cracks in the inept Eastern Cape Education system. It struggles with a lack of space with only 5 classrooms for more than 350 children. There is also a severe shortage of text books averaging only 5 per 100 pupils. A number of classes are given in temporary structures erected by the community. From what I could see, the only sports equipment was a football made of rolled up plastic bags.

What touched me is the attitude of the school and the passion of its teachers. To raise funds they grow vegetables on the school property and sell them to the community. A sewing group raises funds by sewing for the community and this is still not nearly enough.

These children deserve more. If you would like to make a difference in the lives of the pupils from Nkente Secondary School you can make a donation to the Siyafunda Education Support Trust. For more details, contact Sanny Oostra on 011 782 3381 or 072 600 8347

Photographer: Graham Delacy

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