This was the first Building Blitz under the Mellon Educate initiative in South Africa. It was also the first ever dual-location blitz, with the 320 volunteers split between Cape Town and the Eastern Cape.
For many of the 235 volunteers at Imizamo Yethu in Cape Town, it was like coming home. Imizamo Yethu is the township Niall first visited in 2002 which led to the formation of the charity. ‘IY’ hosted our first Building Blitz week in 2003 and the community holds a very special place in our hearts and the hearts of some of our longstanding veteran volunteers.
The focus was the Oranjekloof Movarian Primary School, which is the main junior school for more than 1,200 children in Imizamo Yethu. Over the course of the week, our volunteers helped build eight new classrooms for the children – and renovated and refurbished the existing buildings, may of which were in a dangerous state of disrepair.
The trip to the Eastern Cape was logistically more challenging, with the 85 volunteers tackling three construction projects on three different sites across a vast rural area. There was also the small matter of having to working in temperatures of up to 30C.
Yet somehow our incredible volunteers managed to change the lives of some 240 children. They completed a new classroom for 40 children at St Theresa’s Primary School in Kokstad, renovated and refurbished the primary school and pre-school in Franklin, and built a new drop-in pre-school and feeding centre in Bizana for 120 kids.