Newsletter June 2018

Hi All,

I can’t believe we are almost halfway through the year and Daphne and I are back for our second visit this year helping the Khanyisela Project’s 15 pre-schools. There is lots of Jumble to sort, mark and sell, school painting, book and toy libraries to organise and porridge, knitwear, toys and stationery to distribute.

Read on to see what we have been up to:


Belgian Early Childhood Education University Students

Once again we were fortunate to have two Belgian students doing their university internship here in South Africa. Jana Melis and Evelyn Van Herpe lived, for almost three months, in Amazizi and worked in some of our pre-schools. It was obviously a big culture shock for them, but they adapted magnificently even with the cold water they had to cope with for almost 10 weeks.

This is what they had to say about their experience:

Our first time in South Africa and what a great time!

Evelyn and I learned a lot from the locals in Amazizi. They enriched our vision about development and education. We saw that money is not always the solution. It’s all about simplicity and being creative with materials you have (like bottle caps, empty cookie boxes …). We gave them inspiration by doing activities with those materials but they also taught us that we don’t always have to go to shops to buy toys and other educational material. We realized what simplicity really means and that luxury is not required to give a child a good education.

It also was a great experience to be a part of the Baby Boost project from Marysia. Together, with this wonderful women, we inspired mothers how to interact with their babies. This project showed us the value of stimulating the brains and development of babies.

We’re blessed that we could work together with this great project to support the pre-schools. We hope to see some more students of Artevelde University College in South Africa next year.

Jana Melis and Evelyn Van Herpe


Baby Boost

Marysia Nash came from Scotland for a third year to mentor our teachers in their classroom environment and to hold a second series of classes for “Baby Boost”.

Together with two lovely boosters Fikile and Sibonolelo, Marysia coached a new and enthusiastic group of caregivers on how to interact with their babies.

With her experiences during the two pilot sessions Marysia has fine tuned the Baby Boost programme and is in the process of applying for a grant for funding future Baby Boost sessions.

This will include, at each of the five locations, a course of seven group sessions, three individual home visits, 14 playgroup sessions after each of which the carers will choose a book and toy from a library of appropriate books and toys to take home and then return at the next playgroup session. The library will have a range of books and toys suitable for children 6 months to 2.6 years.

Daphne, with Fikile’s help, has stocked the first book and toy library, which will start operating in the new school term.


Sbusisiwe School

This little school, which we built and opened at the beginning of this year with an enrollment of 35 pupils, now boasts a total pupil compliment of 53 children. In the two and a half years since we started assisting the school it has grown from 12 children.


Jumble Sales

Once again we arrived to find mountains of jumble so generously donated to the project. So much in fact, that we struggled to find our bed in the room.

Daphne has developed a system to sort and mark the jumble whilst watching television, proving once again that a woman can multi task!!!

We have held five jumble sales, one at The Cavern and four in the rural Amazizi area raising just over R15000 and we still have some left. The money raised will go towards the purchase of some books and teacher training.

Our thanks go to all the guests, friends and family who took the trouble to sort, bring and donate all the jumble over the last few months. It not only raises funds for the project, but also the rural community benefits in buying very reasonably priced clothing.


Football Boot Appeal

Football is one of the few sports that our local community has facilities for, although many of them consist not of grass pitches, but clay/gravel ones.

At this time of the Football World Cup we appeal and ask if anyone has any unwanted football boots (all sizes) please consider donating them to us to distribute amongst the local community.


Knitwear / Cushions

Now that winter has arrived we have given out all the winter woollies and blankets.

Our thanks again to ALL the ladies both here and overseas who take the time to knit the blankets, jerseys and hats for the small children. A special gift now that winter has arrived.


BIG5HIKE for Education

The Big5Hike For Education is the yearly major fund-raising event for The Royal Drakensberg Primary School. This school is attended by 80 children from our local area, most of whom come from under-privileged homes.

This year 115 hikers took on the daunting, for many, 18km hike, raising an impressive amount of just over 1 million Rand towards the school.
There were lots of sore legs on the Sunday morning following the hike.

Come and join us next year in May.


Project Funding and Dontations

I know I repeat myself, but all donations, be it time or money, are appreciated no matter how big or small. It all goes towards what we think is a worthy cause, in the hope that in a small way we are contributing to the improvement of education, which is so desperately needed in our beautiful country.

If you, or if you know anyone who wishes to make a donation to the Khanyisela Project, please contact Dave or Daphne – projects@cavern.co.za – for details on how to donate or visit our website:


Don’t forget that The Cavern, in an effort to get more donations for the Khanyisela Project, is now linked to “Pack for a Purpose”.

So if you are visiting from overseas or have family or friends visiting from overseas look at the website to see how you/they can help. We have listed our needs on the Pack for a Purpose website.


Don’t forget to like us on FACEBOOK

Best wishes to you all,

Dave & Daphne Thurlwell, Megan Bedingham, Jean Carte, Georg Rotter and Liesje Carter

The Northern Drakensberg Khanyisela Project Tel : 083 512 0146

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