Edublox make learning fun for Hout Bay learners

The ability to learn is a crucial life skill that many people take for granted as it is such a natural part of  daily life. Unfortunately more than 20% of South Africans are faced with learning disabilities. 

Susan du Plessis, Director of Educational Programs at Edublox, says, “Children with learning disabilities are often let down by the automatic learning processes that take place in the brain. The ease of understanding new information, that should be effortless, becomes difficult and learning becomes frustrating.

“Research has shown that with brain training exercises, children are able to learn and read faster, more easily and with greater comprehension,” du Plessis adds.

Edublox, a South African company that helps children and adults with learning disabilities through specially developed programmes, have introduced a bursary program for learners with learning disabilities in less fortunate communities. “Not being able to learn is debilitating and learners from these areas have a lot to contend with as it is,” says Zainu Allie, Edublox franchise owner and facilitator in Cape Town. “We have been working closely with 16 learners from schools in the Hout Bay area since April this year.  With the safe, fun and challenging environment that we provide the learners at our Centre in Claremont, we have seen delightful results despite them only being able to attend lessons once a week.

“When we first met the group they were noisy, disruptive, argumentative, lazy, disorganised and disrespectful, and had given up on themselves, Allie says. “Eight months later, the learners arrive with smiles, are eager to be challenged cognitively, keen to read and chat to us about their dreams of becoming a soccer player, a singer or a dancer. They are also telling us of their improvements at school and how they now understand their work. We have seen a definite improvement in reading, concentration, visual and auditory memory. I am extremely proud of their progress especially as many of the learners do not speak English as their first language.

“I was particularly touched,” smiles Allie, “when one of the learners, who had been struggling a lot with poor academic results and low self-esteem, proudly asked his mother, ‘Guess who got full marks in their spelling test today?’ and beaming from ear to ear pointed to himself.”

Forming partnerships are important for Edublox, “we are very grateful for the partnerships that we have fostered,” Allie indicates and adds, “Sheila Hofmeyr, from the Hout Bay Educational Trust, has been instrumental in getting the learners from Hout Bay to Claremont and providing them with weekly lunches.”

The Edublox methodology is based on 30 years’ practical experience combined with 50 years of intensive research about reading and learning. Even learners who are seriously dyslexic can be helped to overcome their problems completely by following the Edublox program. For more information on Edublox contact: Zainu Allie on (021) 671-2409 / zainu@edublox.com or visit www.edublox.co.za

Sustainable designing for the future

Human civilisation’s destruction is inevitable especially with the onset of climate change and the simultaneous peaking of global oil supply; both of which have always been considered and discussed in isolation. The International Union of Architects (UIA) Sustainability by Design Conference that will be taking place from 29 – 30 November 2011 in Durban will be addressing these pertinent issues and discussing other factors which need to be taken into consideration when it comes to sustainable designs for the future.

Four different scenarios based on the interrelationship between climate change and the peaking global oil supply as put forward by David Holmgren, co-originator of the permaculture concept, will form the framework for the structure of the UIA Sustainability by Design Conference.

Each scenario presents an internally steady consistent and convincing look into the four futures that are highly credible and possible; each materialising very different kinds of energy mixes and strategies, including settlement form and patterns, mobility patterns, urban/rural and formal/informal dynamics, economics, governance, politics, culture and spirituality. The scenarios look at various intersections between benign to severe climate changes as well as slow to rapid energy decent.

In order to foster an all-encompassing debate, a workshop with a group of speakers drawn from various disciplines ranging from urban design, transportation, biodiversity, financing, sustainability, to African culture and philosophy will generate a truly multi-disciplinary approach.

The conference will primarily adopt participatory charrette and interactive formats, with speaker-panelists introducing their positions, problematic and points of perspectives in four-minute sound bites opposed to formal presentations, followed by professionally facilitated debates where the audience will be invited to interact with the process and the various points discussed

Lloyd Macfarlane, Director at alive2green says, “One of the intentions of the conference is to sketch the beginnings of the broad outlines of a built environment sector response to climate change that may serve to equip Conference of the Parties (COP) negotiators at next year’s COP18 in Seoul.”

For further information on the UIA Sustainability by Design Conference visit www.uiasustainabilitybydesign.org

Early Childhood Development Centre launches in Swellendam

Swellendam – It was with much excitement and jubilation that the youngsters from Railton, Swellendam moved into the brand new premises of the Mickey Mouse Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre earlier this week.  

The Mickey Mouse ECD Centre is a non-profit organisation that was established in 1996 when the need for early childhood education was identified in Swellendam and the surrounding farming communities where many children were not receiving any form of pre-primary education.  Until recently, the centre’s 235 learners (aged between 0 and 6 years), were being accommodated in the local Community Hall, but the hall did not have sufficient space for the growing numbers or sufficient facilities to stimulate inquisitive minds.

The dream of building a school for the community was initially that of Ms Kriel, the former principal, who started the groundwork on the project. Unfortunately, due to limited funds, the project was never completed. When Patricia Williams took over the reigns as Principal on Kriel’s retirement, she pursued the dream of building an ECD Centre to provide a safe haven and quality education for the children of the local community.

Williams approached the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) and was overjoyed when her request for funds was approved. Shortly afterwards, Worcester Minerals (Pty) Limited, distributor of The Coca-Cola Company products in the Boland and Southern Cape Regions, also adopted the Mickey Mouse Centre as part of their “Live for a Difference” campaign and assisted with much needed additional funding to get the building completed. Several other local businesses also showed their support and commitment, and so the Centre was built, one brick at a time.

“We started raising funds for the building about three years ago” Williams explains.  “And with generous sponsorship from the NLDTF and Worcester Minerals, as well as the commitment and hard work of the teachers, parents, community and local businesses, we were able to start building earlier this year.”

“This project was driven by our love of the children,” explains Williams. “They are so vulnerable and need all the love and attention they can get to succeed and make the most of their difficult circumstances.”

It was an incredibly proud moment for Williams at the launch of the Centre, when she received the registration forms for the Mickey Mouse ECD Centre from Mr Blankenberg from the Department of Social Development.

Swellendam Mayor, Nicholas Myburgh, also attended the auspicious occasion and reiterated, “Children are our most valuable asset and we need to invest in their futures. Today is truly a highlight for Swellendam; I am proud to be here and to see what the community of Railton has achieved. This goes to show that people with the necessary drive and vision can make dreams a reality; you are truly an inspiration and an example of what can be achieved.” Myburgh added that the municipality would continue to make a contribution to the sustainability of the Centre.

“Offering Early Childhood Development Services to create healthy environments for children to develop holistically, especially in communities that are in less fortunate areas, is very important to us,” Rae Bjerre, General Manager of Worcester Minerals, indicated. “A key to the success of the Coca-Cola brand is understanding the importance of investing back into communities. It is important for us to help build healthy sustainable communities. A positive contribution in communities and supporting education has the power to expand and increase the understanding between cultures and we accept the responsibility to make a positive difference in our world. We are extremely proud to have been a part of this project and delighted to have played a role in Swellendam being able to open their doors to the Mickey Mouse Centre,” Bjerre concluded.

Bill Egby, President of Coca-Cola South Africa indicated that he is very proud of this initiative, and the Worcester Minerals team. “It is heart-warming to see how everyone has pulled together to uplift the community in such a way.”

Yolinda Krige from the Department of Social Development in Caledon said, “Making children feel safe from a young age is pivotal for their development. Research has shown that children who feel safe, feel better about themselves, learn better and adjust to working environments a lot easier later in life. We are incredibly proud of this Centre of Excellence and will be using it as a model for others to follow, and to showcase what communities are able to achieve if everyone works together.” Krige concluded with a quote by Dr James Dobson, “Children are not casual guests in our home. They have been loaned to us temporarily for the purpose of loving them and instilling a foundation of values on which their future lives will be built.”

For more information about Mickey Mouse ECD Centre contact (023) 348 4700 or for more information on the projects that Worcester Minerals are involved with, please visit www.penbev.co.za

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What is in the air that we breathe?

Atmospheric pollution affects the quality of our air in many areas in South Africa, especially where there is industrial activity, such as coal burning power stations, and oil refineries.   While this type of pollution more immediately impacts on human health, it is also a major contributing factor to the ‘greenhouse gas’ emissions which threaten to disrupt the fragile balance of our planet.  The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) urges both industry and individuals to pay more attention to combatting air pollution.

The IWMSA’s President, Stan Jewaskiewitz says “In the case of air pollution, we need to find ways of reducing our dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels and minimising the resultant carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that are produced. It is critical that we create awareness of this serious issue.”

Large bodies of air cannot be contained, so the pollution thereof can only be controlled at source and we cannot retract harmful gases once they are released into the atmosphere.   Globally, power generation alone is responsible for one quarter of the planet’s CO2 emissions, and there is no question that there is a much greater incidence of respiratory, as well as other diseases such as cancer, in areas close to fossil fuel-burning plants.  The consequences extend even further; to both productivity and the economy.

Jewaskiewitz continues “The question of climate change is becoming more and more crucial, largely due to ever increasing volumes of CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere, and compounded by deforestation taking place around the world.

“It’s not only the industrial sector that is responsible for these emissions although they certainly produce the lion’s share.  In less advantaged urban and rural areas where access to electricity is difficult or not affordable, and people depend on fires for heating and warmth, levels of smoke and other pollutants are unacceptably high.  Often, on the African continent at large, mounds of waste are set alight, including hazardous materials:  an extremely dangerous and harmful practice on many levels.

“We spend long hours commuting, and our cities and roads are often packed with vehicles belching forth toxic fumes due to non-compliance or inefficient operation.  This remains a problem despite the fact that there are by-laws in place which aim to regulate emissions, especially from vehicles using diesel fuel.  One study conducted in Los Angeles, a city renowned for its brown haze of smog, determined that up to half their residents’ total exposure to harmful air pollutants occurs while people are traveling in their vehicles.”

Jewaskiewitz concludes “The IWMSA is proud to rank amongst its members, professionals in their fields, who voluntarily give of their time and expertise to further the cause of taking conscious action in all the arenas of waste management through continuous education and training.  We hope to inspire people to think of innovative solutions to reducing waste at source, including that of air pollutants.”

The IWMSA is a professional, multi-disciplinary organisation with voluntary membership established to promote the science and practice of waste management and is a non-profit organisation. For more information visit: www.iwmsa.co.za or contact the IWMSA on 011 675 3462/4.

Waste in Business – Beyond compliance, towards opportunity

 

How should waste be managed by businesses; especially following the promulgation of the Integrated Waste Management By-law in 2009? Many businesses do not know what is expected from them or what to consider when it comes to managing the waste that is generated by their organisation.

Businesses are required to reconsider their current waste management practices and implement more sustainable solutions. To assist with this process, Alive2Green will be convening their successful ‘Waste in Business’ Seminar on 09 November 2011 at Emperor’s Palace, Ekurhuleni.

Lloyd Macfarlane, Alive2Green Director says, “The seminar has been structured in such a way to provide a platform for sharing and discussing information regarding the new legislation. Local businesses will be provided with information for them to make more informed waste management choices and to implement waste-aware practices.” Macfarlane continues, “Businesses will receive information so that they can understand what their responsibilities are in terms of the new Waste Act and the by-laws specifically pertaining to the City of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni municipalities. The economic opportunities created by this legislation will also be under the spotlight.

“The Seminar also aims to consider the detrimental effects of current waste disposal technologies and the advancement of renewable and sustainable solutions” adds Macfarlane.

This Seminar will bring together some of the country’s leading business stakeholders who play key roles in initiating sustainable waste management and reduction projects, including manufacturers of products and technologies that will change the way we deal with waste in South Africa.

Waste Management experts will lead the discussions, Macfarlane says, “we are delighted at the high calibre of speakers that have been secured for the seminar who will be speaking on a wide spectrum of waste management issues within businesses. Government buy-in is critical for the success of these seminars, and we look forward to welcoming  Mrs Edna Molewa, the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and Ms Makhosazana Baker, the Director of Waste Management and regulation for the City of Johannesburg as our key note speakers.”

Other experts in the waste management industry who will be presenting at the seminar include Rodney Reynders from Tetra Pack who manages all their environmental initiatives for the Sub-Sahara Africa region.

Lorraine Jenks, an activist and advocate of greener practices in hospitality operations and procurement and the founder of ‘Hotelstuff’ and the ‘Greenstuff’ link, will be focussing on Waste management challenges and solutions within the hospitality and tourism industry.

Executive Director of the Packaging Council of South Africa (PACSA) and Chairman of the Recovery Action Group (RAG), Andrew Marthinusen will be discussing the future of the paper and packaging industry supply chain waste hierarchy and Angus Ryan will lead the discussion about ‘Greening the Office’.

“Apart from these speakers who will be discussing pertinent waste management topics, we will also have leading businesses that have integrated waste minimisation into their company ethos, who will be presenting case studies in the form of break-out sessions which will allow delegates to interact and to learn from others’ experiences”, Macfarlane adds.

An exhibition of the latest waste related products and services will be incorporated into the seminar. Networking sessions have also been scheduled to give delegates an opportunity to share ideas.

For more information on the Waste in Business Seminar, please visit: www.alive2green.com/content/waste-revolution/conferences.html or contact Cara-Dee Carlstein, 021 447 4733 or e-mail – ccarlstein@alive2green.com

PenBev uplifts Early Childhood Development Centre in Swellendam

The small community of Railton in Swellendam is very excited to be opening the doors to their brand new Mickey Mouse Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre on 15 November 2011.

The Mickey Mouse ECD Centre, a non-profit organisation, was established in 1996 when a need for early childhood education was identified in Swellendam and the surrounding farming communities where many children were receiving no form of pre-primary education.

Until recently, the centre’s 235 learners (aged between 0 and 6 years), were all being accommodated in the local Community Hall, but the hall did not have sufficient space for the growing numbers.

The building project was spearheaded by Patricia Williams, Principal at the Mickey Mouse Centre. Williams, who has been involved with the Mickey Mouse Centre for the past ten years, realised the growing need to facilitate the children and was determined to make a plan to accommodate the growing numbers. The foundation of the building was in place but due to limited funds the project was never completed. Williams approached the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) and was overjoyed when her request for funds was approved. Shortly afterwards, Worcester Minerals (Pty) Limited, distributor of The Coca-Cola Company products in in the Boland and Southern Cape Regions, also adopted  the Mickey Mouse Centre as part of their “Live for a Difference” campaign and assisted with much needed additional funding to get the building completed.

“We started raising funds for the building about three years ago” Williams explains.  “And with the generous sponsorship from the NLDTF and Worcester Minerals, as well as the commitment and hard work from the teachers, parents, community and local businesses, we were able to start building earlier this year. We are delighted that the new Centre is ready to be launched on 15 November,” Williams enthuses.

“Offering Early Childhood Development Services to create healthy environments for children to develop holistically, especially in communities that are in less fortunate areas, is very important to us,” says Rae Bjerre, General Manager, Worcester Minerals. “We are delighted to have played a role in Swellendam being able to open their doors to such an initiative,” he concludes.

The driving force behind this initiative has been Patricia Williams, her personnel and the committee’s love for the children, “They are so vulnerable and need all the love and attention they can get to succeed and make the most of their difficult circumstances,” she explains. Williams attributes the success of the project 100% to God. Her motto in life is ‘God is greater than my mission and even greater than my vision’. “I had initially only wanted to revamp a classroom,” she says, “but God’s vision was greater than mine and today we have this magnificent building for the children of the community. It is far greater than I ever imagined.”

Williams is looking forward to re-charging her batteries after the completion of the project but won’t be sitting still for very long. “There is still a lot that I would like to do with the Centre,” she explains. “I hope that this centre also opens the door for job opportunities, especially for the young people in the area,” she explains.

Please join us for the launch of the Mickey Mouse ECD Centre and meet the dynamic team behind this project:

Date: 15 November 2011

Time: 11:00 – 14:00

Venue: Mickey Mouse ECD Centre, Railton Swellendam

RSVP: regine@reputationmatters.co.za 021 790 0208

Accredited waste management training empowers employees and aims to improve service delivery

The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA), in collaboration with Interwaste, is proud to announce the launch of accredited training courses in the field of waste management. 

Skills development is essential for effective waste management.  Training enhances organisations’ ability to deliver a better service; empowering employees with the knowledge and ability to take control of their waste. Trained staff can only make effective decisions and action if they are properly equipped to do so and have a clear understanding of their business operations. In addition, training courses which have been accredited by the Local Government Sector Education and Training Authority (LG SETA) empower those who complete them by adding to a tally of credits earned towards a recognised equivalent qualification.

Stan Jewaskiewitz, President of the IWMSA, says “Recently, the IWMSA called for interested parties to share their accredited material with us, and after careful evaluation of the proposals received, we are delighted to have entered into a partnership with Interwaste.  The IWMSA, in partnership with Interwaste, will now offer accredited training to groups of a minimum of 20 individuals per session, and we welcome any enquiries in this regard.”

Various unit standards are available within the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) levels one to four, and suitably qualified members of the IWMSA have been encouraged to register with the LG SETA as accredited assessors and moderators.  The IWMSA will co-ordinate the training programmes from their Head Office using a national database of properly accredited facilitators.

Interwaste’s Group Human Resources Director, Rajas Pillay adds, “Interwaste is proud to be affiliated to the IWMSA in offering an accredited training programme, and we anticipate positive outcomes for the waste management industry through this collaboration.”

The IWMSA will also continue to run non-accredited waste management training programmes that cover the broader aspects of waste management.  Jewaskiewitz notes, “This highly effective basic training has been well received by both private organisations and governmental agencies alike, and continues to grow in popularity as a much needed and credible educational tool.”

The subjects covered by the non-accredited Basic Waste Management training progamme include topics such as a basic introduction of waste management definition; integrated planning of waste operations and systems; collection transfer and transport of waste; waste minimisation, treatment and disposal of waste as well as the evaluation and implementation of service delivery.

For more information on the accredited and non-accredited training provided by the IWMSA, or to request a quotation, contact Gail Smit on (011) 675 3464, email iwmsa@telkomsa.net or visit www.iwmsa.co.za.

The IWMSA is a professional, multi disciplinary organisation with voluntary membership established to promote the science and practice of waste management and is a non-profit organisation. For more information contact the IWMSA visit: www.iwmsa.co.za

 

 

Koelbly uplifts Koekenaap

Education and sport is a key focus for Koelbly (Edms) Bpk in Koekenaap.

The 251 learners of Koekenaap Primary School (Grade R to 7) can now look forward to basic ablution facilities and a revamped netball court thanks to generous sponsorship from Koelbly, distributor of The Coca-Cola Company’s products in the Vredendal area.

Willem Jordaan, General Manager of Koelbly, explains how they got involved in refurbishing Koekenaap Primary School. “Every two years we select a school in a less privileged area and see how best we can get involved in uplifting the school, specifically in terms of education and sport. This year we selected Koekenaap Primary School. The school was in dire need of basic facilities and we are delighted to have played a key role in fixing their ablution facilities, something that so many people take for granted.” The overhaul of the ablution facility included replacement of taps, new toilets, safer doors, replacement of all the fittings with plastic ones, as well as replacing all the windows with a mesh covering and installing new water infrastructure.

Jordaan adds, “The school also participates in a feeding scheme, and we identified health risks with the washing facilities. We gladly assisted with designing a washing-up area with hot and cold water.

“Sport plays an important role in a child’s development,” Jordaan says, “so it was important for us to provide an area for the learners to participate in sports activities. We upgraded the netball field and cleaned the terrain. “We at Koelbly are very proud of this initiative and are very glad to have made a visible change to the daily lives of the learners and teachers of Koekenaap,” Says Jordaan. “We can’t expect the children to learn if their basic facilities aren’t in place. We are glad that we could contribute to healthy body and minds of these learners.”

Mr JM Januarie, Principal of Koekenaap Primary School said, “we are touched by the incredible kindness of Koelbly,” and added, “the learners, teachers and the whole community are most grateful for the upliftment of the facilities, we will endeavour to look after and respect the upgrade, and look forward to building and fostering our relationship with Koelbly and PenBev.”

Koekenaap Primary School will be showcasing the new upgrades and the media are invited to join them – Date: Wednesday, 02 November 2011, Time: 13:00, Venue: Koekenaap Primary School, 1 School Street, Koekenaap, RSVP: Yoland Buys, 027 201 1116 / 072 066 2184, Media queries: Regine le Roux regine@reputationmatters.co.za  021 790 0208 /083 302 1528