When a primary school near Musina in the Limpopo province – bursting at the seams after it almost doubled in size at the beginning of 2017 and in desperate need of an extra pair of teaching hands – approached the nearby Joan-Solitude citrus farm for help, the farm’s irrigation foreman, Nicholas Kurauvone, didn’t hesitate.
He enthusiastically agreed to chip in and has since Tuesday last week temporarily traded the citrus orchards for the inside of a classroom at Hope Primary School, located on Hope Farm. Kurauvone, whose real passion in life is to teach, has been working at Joan-Solitude for the last eight years. Both Joan-Solitude and Hope are part of the three Tshipese Farms which produce grapefruit, oranges and lemons, and are managed by the Cape Town-based producer and exporter, SAFE (South African Fruit Exporters).
“I’m very excited and thankful for the opportunity to help the school and our community, as I love teaching and working with children in primary schools,” says Kurauvone. A trained assistant teacher, he previously taught Grade 1 to 7 learners in Zimbabwe – where he was born – for 12 years.
Kobus Strydom, manager of Tshipese Farms, says: “We’re delighted that one of our team members can assist the school in the interim. Supporting the community, as well as our workers and their progress, lies close to our heart.” Tshipese Farms will fund Kurauvone’s temporary teacher’s assistant position. The irrigation foreman will remain in SAFE’s employ while he assists fulltime at the school.
Kurauvone is assisting with the subjects of English and mathematics for Grade 2 and 3 learners at the school, which mushroomed from 110 to 192 learners. He says it will be challenging to give attention to all learners in such a large class, but he is looking forward to making a difference.
Serving the three SAFE farms as well as other surrounding farms, the Hope Primary School also attracts learners from the town of Musina, a 36km bus ride from Hope Farm. Freddy Musisinyane, the proud principal, attributes his school’s popularity to recent improvements to the building and playground (including a new kitchen, additional bathrooms and a newly-built classroom where Kurauvone teaches); its wide variety of activities; beautiful environment; and a feeding scheme which supplies children with one meal per day.
Musisinyane is quite relieved that Kurauvone will be lending a hand. The principal, who presented the farm foreman with an introductory programme, adds that Kurauvone will also be involved in after-school activities, such as teaching traditional Venda games and dance classes.
Strydom concludes: “Rendering assistance in this manner illustrates our commitment as farms accredited by the ethical trade programme, SIZA (Sustainability Initiative of South Africa). From SAFE’s side as well as from a corporate social investment perspective, we’d like to play an even more prominent role in aiding our community, the Hope Primary School and the learners’ soccer activities.”