Newsletter November 2016

Hi All,

Daphne and I are at The Cavern for a few weeks sourcing, buying and delivering toys, delivering porridge and showing potential donors the schools the project assists. We have had a very busy and fruitful time here. Read on to see what has been achieved over the last few months.

Singakwenza, (“you can do it”) Workshop

On Saturday the 15th October we held the third in a series of three “Waste to Toys” workshop, presented by Singakwenza. This workshop focused on the early development of numeracy and was very well received by the 24 teachers that attended. Daphne and I were also very impressed with what can be achieved using waste materials such as different coloured and sizes of bottle tops, egg trays, yoghurt containers, match sticks, cereal boxes etcetera.

Whilst Daphne and I were visiting the schools it was very pleasing to see that some of the teaching aids learnt at the workshop were being implemented.

We still have funds left over from a generous donation made by the Poyton Rotary Club in the UK, who funded this workshop and we will be using this towards the next series of three “Waste to Toys” workshop’s which will take place in the New Year.


In our last news update we highlighted this school which operates out of a small 3 x 3 square metre building and our intention to build them a new school with a 6 x 6m classroom and a 3 x 3m storeroom and kitchen. Imagine our delight when Georg and Gertrud Rotter, visitors from Austria who we took to the school in May, emailed us upon their return to Austria and told us that they would donate all the money needed to build the school. Sindisiwe Khoza, the principal, and her assistant Jeminah Malinga are also very excited and have formed a non-profit organisation (NPO) and have received written permission from the area Chief to build on a section of land close to their existing school. The final application for “Permission to Occupy” (PTO) the land now has to be rubber stamped in Pietermaritzburg. Once we receive the PTO we can start planning the building programme.


This school has been operating very successfully for a number of years and the pupil numbers have grown to over 70. The classroom is very crowded and they really need additional space so that the different age groups can be taught in a suitable environment.

We have been planning to build them an additional classroom for a few years but due to other commitments we have not had the funding. However, now that we have received funding for Sbusisiwe school the donations received for Sbusisiwe can be used towards building a new classroom for Zamokuhle.

We still require approximately R75000.00 to build the classroom.

If you are able to assist with a donation please contact Dave or Daphne by email – – for details.

Marysia Nash and Gemma MacDonald

Marysia and Gemma came for two weeks in May to mentor all our teachers with particular reference to language development. After spending time at the schools they recommended a number of games and toys for us to purchase. This we did and apart from the 13 boxes couriered from Johannesburg, Daphne and I collected a bakkie load from Pietermaritzburg.

With the help of Georg and Gertrud Rotter we distributed all the toys (After I had assembled 11 flat pack toy sink units) to our schools. The teachers and children were delighted and immediately started using the toys. We wish to thank Marisha, Gemma and all their friends and family who so generously donated money for us to purchase the toys.


For a couple of years we have been looking for a way to help our teachers implement the teaching skills learnt during their “Early Childhood Development” courses, but the cost of employing someone to do this was prohibitive. However during discussions with Marysia and Gemma we realised that we already have capable people right here in our schools.

We identified two of our top principals, Gabusile Maduna and Teresa Ndawo as potential “Mentors”. Marysia and Gemma coached them before returning to Scotland. The Rotary Club of Retford agreed to fund the cost of employing the mentors for a two year experimental period. Marysia came again for a few days in August to further train the mentors and at the beginning of September the mentors began visiting one school a week to assist the teachers.

We were a little apprehensive of whether the school teachers would accept the help and whether our idea would be successful. Well, after two months in operation we are absolutely delighted in the improvement in all the schools that we witnessed during our recent visits.

We cannot express enough our thanks to Marysia and Gemma for pointing us in this direction and to the Rotary Club of Retford for funding the mentors.

We look forward to Marysia and Gemma visiting us again May 2017 to see first-hand the progress made.

Hopefully it will not be too long before we can welcome some members of the Rotary Club of Retford to show them the difference their donations have made in the schools.

Rotary Global Grant – Early Childhood Development Level 4 course

The students have had their portfolios moderated and endorsed and the ETDP SETA came and verified them on the 9th November. We are very happy to report that all the teachers passed the level 4 course. We look forward to the students receiving their certificates.


Georg and Gertrud Rotter who visited us briefly in May visited us again for three days in October during which time they were able to visit most of the schools.

Although impressed with what we have achieved at the schools, they observed some schools that still need repairs and maintenance and had other needs. Before leaving South Africa they advised us that they would donate a substantial sum towards this. A donation has been received and we are busy organising repairs and maintenance etcetera.

Georg and Gertrud plan to come to South Africa for a few weeks next year while we are building the new Sbusisiwe school.that they donated the funds for.

In mid November Mr.Ulrich Reimann and Mrs. Bärbel Ifland-Schraeder from Germany came to visit the Royal Drakensberg Primary school and the Khanyisela Project schools. Ulrich has just contacted us and told us that he is donating a full kit (Shirts, complete with team name and logo plus shorts), a goal keepers strip, footballs and bottles to the local Newstand Rangers Football Club. Team manager Sihle Miya is very pleased and looks forward to receiving these for his young players.

Jumble Sale

Early in November we held a jumble sale, but unfortunately it rained (Much needed) which put a damper on the attendance. However those that arrived spent generously and we made nearly R3500.00.

We held another sale at the Hlelokuhle pre-school in Amazizi where we raised another R1700.00

Our thanks go out to everyone who took the trouble to bring us jumble. Please keep it coming!!

A special thank you to Lara Vickers who donated 3 trunks and 3 bags full of jumble


We received a donation of beautiful colourful knitted jerseys, hats and teddies from Joan James and her Teddy Bear Knitting club from Howick.

These were given out to the Siqalakahle and Sbusisiwe pre-schools where the children waited excitedly for their jersey and hat. Thank you very much ladies. Your time and effort is really appreciated. The children were very happy with their new clothes and teddies.

Justine Potter, a regular guest at Montusi Mountain Lodge, is a regular donor to the Khanyisela Project and we wish to say a special THANK YOU for her continued support.

Another special THANK YOU to the Dehn family who have given us a donation every 3 months for many years.

And THANK YOU to the people who make monthly donations of R100 into the project.

We would like many more supporters for our project. 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.

Clara Hadebe – Sivuleleni Pre-school

On the morning of the 26th October we received news that Clara had passed away. Clara was the pioneer of the pre-schools project in the Amazizi Village. She was the first woman to see a need and to create a space in her own homestead to take care of the children while parents went to work. She worked with determination to get ESKOM and The Cavern to assist her in building her school in the 90’s. Clara faced many challenges but remained committed to educating and keeping the children safe. Her greatest gift was perseverance. Her school continues and we will do our utmost to ensure that her legacy lives on.

Final Word

Don’t forget to visit our website –
As the year draws to a close, may we wish everyone a very happy and peaceful holiday season.


Much love,
Dave & Daphne Thurlwell, Megan Bedingham and Jean Carte.
The Cavern – Khanyisela Project Tel : 083 512 0146

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