Some 320 Niall Mellon Township Trust volunteers arrived in South Africa on their first ‘Mellon Educate’ building blitz.
Among them are Ken Kingston, (Tipperary), Paul O’Callaghan, (Tipperary), Paul Casey, (Clonmel), Ger Gleeson, (Nenagh). See picture above.
1,185 pupils in the township of Imizamo Yethu, Cape Town warmly welcomed their arrival and eagerly anticipate the transformation of their Oranjekloof Moravian Primary school. Over the week eight new classrooms will be built along with improved existing facilities and a much needed playground area. Simultaneously, 100 of the Irish volunteers will work in the Eastern Cape on building classrooms and a feeding centre.
Under the new ambitious ‘Mellon Educate’ initiative the charity is now moving forward with the aim of creating a better educational environment for 100,000 African children, having already built over 22,000 houses for 120,000 poor South Africans.
Niall Mellon said “The township of Imizamo Yethu holds a very special place in our hearts as it was the very first township that I walked into all those years ago and began this incredible journey that we are still travelling together. Since then we have built over 20,000 homes throughout Africa for over 100,000 people. How fitting it is that our first South African school project takes place back where it all began! When I announced that we are now focussing on education our aim of helping 100,000 children go to school in new and improved facilities seemed overwhelming, now I am confident that this can be achieved. We are embarking on our next blitz in November which means by the end of 2014 we will already have provided educational improvements for 10,000 children. This year we are fortunate to have the number of volunteers from 200 towns across Ireland which allows us to work on two different builds. At the end of this week hundreds of poor South African school children will have beautiful new classrooms. We are immensely proud to give these students educational facilities which we take for granted at home. In Imizamo Yethu there is a population of over 25,000 residents and almost every household has a child going to the Oranjekloof Moravian Primary school. It is this school that the Irish volunteers will plaster, paint, build and shed every ounce of energy into making it brighter for the students now and for the future. The build in the Eastern Cape is in a very rural setting and the students are in much need of educational facilities. The 100 volunteers going to Kokstad will face a challenge to build new educational facilities but many are veterans and will leave no stone unturned to ensure the job is completed.
This will be the first step towards improving South Africa’s education in the charity’s history. As Nelson Mandela said “ Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” and although building schools does not necessarily mean better education it does mean a brighter better place to start. For More Information on the Mellon Educate building blitz: www.nmtownshiptrust.com