Newsletter November 2015

Hi All,

We have been at a very hot and dry Cavern for a few weeks visiting the schools and assessing their needs for the new school year. Rain is desperately needed here and over all the summer rainfall areas of South Africa. Hopefully the rains will start soon.

We will be back at the Cavern early in January 2016 to help the schools at the beginning of the new school year. Whilst here we will welcome some members of the Rotary Club of Retford and be showing them the progress at our schools.

Rotary Global Grant – Early Childhood Development Level 4 course

The teachers attend the last module of the year this month and have only 4 modules to complete the course in the New Year.

We have witnessed the improvement in the teaching skills throughout the duration of the course and hope that the teacher’s results are good.


Following the success of the Singakwenza, (“you can do it”) beginners toys etcetera from waste materials workshop, we have decided to hold the more advanced workshop.

We had hoped to hold this workshop while we were here in November, but due to the tremendous demand there are no dates available until the New Year. We have booked the workshop for Saturday 20th February.

Due to the efforts of Peter Hale and Nikki Baker a generous donation was made by the Poyton Rotary Club in the UK, which is funding the workshop..

Siqalakahle Pre-school – New Classroom

Due to some unforeseen delays the new classroom has not yet been completed. While we were here the roof has been erected and the ceilings and internal and external plastering done. The finishes will be done and the building complete by the end of November. Early in December we have some Hilton College students coming to paint the inside of the classroom, so it will be ready for the children to use in the New Year.

Royal Drakensberg Primary School – 2016 MTB Day Fundraiser

SAVE THE DATE – 9th April 2016

MTB day start
MTB day start

Come and ride in the magnificent mountains and help raise funds for our beautiful Royal Drakensberg Primary School. Visit

Rotary Club of Retford, England

The wonderful people of the Retford Rotary Club continue to help us in numerous ways. Their first and primary objective many years ago was to collect money for the “Bread Fund. This consisted of supplying a bread and peanut butter sandwich each day to about 200 children. This has progressed into supplying fortified porridge to over 500 children daily. Following regular visits by Terry Dunmore, his wife and often accompanied by other Retford Rotarians, the club has helped us fund gutters and rainwater tanks, a new roof, (to replace one blown off in a storm.), and paved verandas and roofs.


We have just received a donation for us to supply and install much needed ceilings in two school classrooms and for the veranda paving and roof to the new Siqalakahle classroom. Through Terry and the club, the Jervis family generously donated funds to build a small school. Margaret Dunmore and the ladies have, several times, knitted and sent us hats, jerseys and blankets for the children and recently with the latest consignment, Margaret also sent us tooth paste and brushes for the children.

All this is made possible by their continued efforts in raising money by holding garage sales, garden breakfasts, African Dinner evenings, other events and club member’s donations.

In addition, Terry and the club applied for and got us a Rotary International Grant which enabled us to send 10 teachers on an Early Childhood Development level 4 course, supply and install 7 toilets, 7 jungle gyms and buy and issue Zulu and English readers and educational books to each of the 13 schools.

Words cannot express how thankful we are to Terry and Margaret and all the Retford Rotarians who give of their time, energy and money to help to give the pre-school children a better educational beginning in this impoverished, but beautiful rural area of South Africa, a country far removed from England.

All we can say is A VERY BIG THANK YOU.

Big 5 Hike

SAVE THE DATE – 13th to 15th May 2016

This year’s Walking4Education Big 5 hike was a huge success raising almost R500 000 for the Royal Dakensberg Primary school. Next years event will be held over the weekend of 13th – 15th May and will be limited to 75 hikers in which is THE CAVERN”S 75th year. Raise R5500 and spend the weekend on the Cavern. We are challenging all to go big and raise R7500! Let’s see where this goes!

Bookings opened for Walking4Education on the 1st November. Visit for more information. (Be quick. The list is filling up fast.)

Camels Hump – Peak number 5 – Some very weary people
Camels Hump – Peak number 5 – Some very weary people

Jumble Sale

We have just held a small jumble sale at the Cavern and raised a little over R3000.00 towards the Khanyisela funds.

Cavern Staff at the Jumble Sale
Cavern Staff at the Jumble Sale

Don’t forget that if you are visiting The Cavern or any of the other Northern Berg resorts that your jumble will be gratefully received for selling to raise funds for our pre-schools.

Teachers Christmas Party

We have just held a very successful and enjoyable Christmas lunch for 36 of our teachers, assistants and cooks at the Tower of Pizza.

Teachers Christmas Party
Teachers Christmas Party

Everyone received a gift in the lucky draw. We thank the Bergville Spar for sponsoring some Spar gift vouchers which were the most sought after prizes.

Overall Project Funding

As always we wish to thank EVERYONE for all the donations, big and small, which are helping to improve the early childhood development in this beautiful area of South Africa.

We still have a few donors who make monthly donations of R100 into the project, but we would like many more. So if you would like to donate a small monthly amount to this worthy cause it would be fantastic. As we are part of Hearts for Hope we are able to issue tax certificates for any donations made to us.

Contact Dave or Daphne – – for details on how to donate.

Without all your donations, both big and small, the ongoing assistance of the 14 pre-schools we now help in the Amazizi area of Northern KwaZulu Natal would not be possible.

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.

Visit Pack for a Purpose

Don’t forget to visit our website –
As the year end holidays are once again almost upon us, we wish you all a very happy and peaceful holiday break.


Dave & Daphne Thurlwell, Megan Bedingham and Jean Carte.

The Cavern – Khanyisela Project | Tel : 083 512 0146

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