2017 Dendron Trailblazers Make Their Mark
by Katlego Llale, Trailblazer Support Team
Learners from Dendron Secondary School have participated in the enke: Trailblazer Program since 2009. Dendron is known for its academic rigour, having produced some of the top performing matriculants in Limpopo over the years. What truly makes the school exceptional is the teachers and principal who support the leadership development of their learners and give them space to create and implement projects in the school through the enke: Trailblazer Program. Some of our most notable alumni and community action projects (enke CAPs) have come from Dendron, and the 2017 Trailblazers were no exception. Here’s are reflections from our site and support visit with them.
On Saturday 24th March 2018 we visited Dendron Secondary School, a boarding school a few kilometres outside Bochum Limpopo. Though it was a Saturday and the beginning of school holidays we received a warm and excited welcome from the learners who had made special arrangements to ensure that the site visit could happen. This is an example of the spirit of commitment that prevailed amongst the Dendron Trailblazers throughout the 9 months of the enke: Trailblazer Program.
Supporting Dignity & Hygiene (Njele Maifo and Tumishang Mathiba)
Njele and Tumishang partnered up to start and implement two CAPs. Their first one was to address the issue of young girls who are too poor to afford sanitary pads. They started a collection box where learners and community members could donate sanitary towels and the box would be placed within the school where girls who needed them most could access the much need.
Their second CAP was to address the unhygienic state of their bathrooms which are not a pleasant state or sight. They then came up with the idea to have new bathrooms built in the school. They successfully raised funds (mainly through organising and hosting fun days in the school) to get building material for the new bathrooms. As I write, the new toilets have been built and there are just a few more things left to be installed until the bathrooms can start working and be used by the whole school.
Improving the Environment (Masilo Hlalhla, Angel Mashalane and Karabo Morifi)
Masilo, Angel and Karabo started a CAP to create a cleaner school environment. Their biggest concern was the school’s cooking area which was not in a proper building and located right next to a dumping site. They started the CAP by first approaching their local municipality to deal with the dumping site right next to their kitchen and the municipality brought in bulldozers into the school to get rid of the heap of rubbish and dispose of it safely. The Trailblazers didn’t stop there. They also initiated for dustbins to be installed throughout the school, which they painted in brightly coloured paint, for learners to make use of to keep their school cleaner. Every block in the school now has a very visible dustbin for everyone to make use of.
One of the other things that they were able to achieve through this Community Action Project was to start a new garden with nicely brightly coloured plants to make the school more appealing. All three of them say the school has become so much cleaner with everything they have put in place through their projects. I too, can testify that the school premises were very clean, with a beautiful garden as you walk through the school from the front entrance.
Beyond the Trailblazer Program
Now in Grade 12, Njele, Tumishang, Masilo, Angel and Karabo need to focus on Matric and life beyond high school, but they are determined to pass the baton to those from lower grades to continue their work. Our brainstorming session about project sustainability brought up many possibilities of what could be next and how they could get learners from lower grades involved in their projects and continue to build on the foundation they have laid. Future plans for their project are:
- To create a proper structure for the cooking area that was close to the dumping site so that they can have a kitchen for their school can be built.
- To have the old bathrooms closed and renovated once the new ones are completed and are functioning.
It was a great privilege to walk around the school during the visit and see some of the things that they initiated and created. One indeed could feel and see the undeniable impact that these Trailblazers effected within their school.