Burning the midnight oil, last-minute cramming, hopes and dreams for their futures on the line… almost a million candidates across South Africa began writing their Matric on 30 October. Knowing the pressures they are all under, the Grade 12s in four Ethekwini high schools enthusiastically reached out to their peers in less well-resourced schools, as part of The Domino Foundation’s ‘Matric Camp Campaign’.
Cathy Whittle, leader of Domino’s Nutrition and Disaster Relief programmes has been working with Manyoni Game Reserve and the Zululand Conservation Trust (ZCT) since the severe flooding in local Zululand communities over recent years: “It began in partnership with SARLA, (South African Rugby Legends) and SA Harvest distributing food and hygiene supplies to hard-hit communities around the reserve. As the the last line of defense between the poachers and protected animals, the communities’ wellbeing is critical.” Nurturing symbiotic relationships with the communities and investing in local education through nutrition and infrastructure (boreholes and solar) is vital so education and human capital impact is improved. The reserve also benefits the community as a future employer and as a customer purchasing community-grown vegetables for the lodge kitchens, and Zulu handcrafts for the lodge’s retail spaces.
One ongoing project is the Matric camps set up at schools three weeks before the final exams. As many students live in crowded homes with no quiet spaces for study, the camps provide disturbance-free areas where students learn together, receive extra lessons, and get 3 meals a day with a meat donation from Manyoni. The ZCT funds cooks, extra teachers, security guards, and donates mattresses.
This was where the quartet of Durban schools came in: Northwood, Northlands, Clifton and Danville responded to the call Cathy called ‘Matrics taking care of Matrics’. “Each Matric was asked to donate two products (long-life milk, sugar, deodorant, rusks, tea or coffee). We were overwhelmed by the response. The donations went to 3 schools: Senzokuhle Secondary School and Mandlakazi High School on the borders of Manyoni Reserve, Jozini, and Amaoti 3 High School in Brookdale, Phoenix.”
Cathy described the matric camps’ success over the past four years: “Senzokuhle and Mandlakazi have seen their pass-rates rocket from 22% to 83%, whilst other participating schools have also seen similar significant improvement in their pass-rates. Encouraged by the outstanding response of Grade 12s both North and South of the Umgeni, Cathy declared her intention of getting more schools on board in 2024: “We plan to start the appeal in term 3 next year so we can support more Matric students in the area. Our partners have the vision to install boreholes and solar power and grow the local educational upgrade. We see great opportunities for Domino’s skills development programme to share what it has developed so the matriculants can move into their futures with hope and direction.”
She invited anyone interested in having more information on how to be involved to contact her 031 110 0730 or email@example.com
And the years before that too