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Enkhaba Primary School

Page history last edited by Phil Pierce 8 years ago

 

Partner institution: Enkhaba Anglican Primary School

 

Contributors (2013):

Megan Edwards  

Jessica Gill

 

Copyright: 

All photos used are originals and belong to Megan Edwards and Jessica Gill

Contents

Placement Information

Accomodation

Transport

Social life

Useful Contacts

Before you go

Costs

Placement Information

About the school:

 

                                        

 

Enkhaba Anglican Primary School (pictured above) is situated in the town of Enkhaba, in Swaziland. The Kingdom of Swaziland is a small country in southern Africa. Mbabane is the capital city and is approximately 30 minutes away from Enkhaba. The national language is Siswati, although many people can speak fairly comprehensive English. This being said it is always useful to learn some key phrases in Siswati beforehand! The Kingdom of Swaziland tourism website is a good source of information regarding the country and culture.

 

Enkhaba Anglican Primary School is supported by the Swaziland Schools Projects (SSP), charity no. 1123689. The charity have supported the school for many years and have assisted in the building of many classrooms, buildings and the teachers housing which is provided on site. Further information regarding the role of the charity can be found on the Swaziland Schools Projects website. All volunteers who visit Enkhaba Primary School must first gain consent from the Swaziland Schools Projects. The charity advise that most volunteers visit for a minimum of 4 weeks, since they feel this is the length of time required to make an impact and really help the school. The charity also offer help, advice, support, insurance and guidance for every volunteer. Some of their guidance documents can be downloaded using the links below:

SSP Advice to Volunteers

SSP Health and Safety Policy

SSP Responsibility and Liability while Volunteering 

Further documents are provided to volunteers once the charity have approved the placement. 

 

What do you do while your there?

 

During the placement experience volunteers will have a great deal of choice regarding the lessons that they teach. Lessons taught in Enkhaba Anglican Primary School include; Siswati, English, Maths, Science, Physical Education, Home Economics, Practical Arts, Social Studies, Computer and Religious Studies. Volunteers should be prepared to work hard and teach variety of lessons for a duration of an hour at a time. The school day starts at approx. 7.45am and finishes at 2pm (or 1pm on Fridays) with one 30 minute break from 10-10.30am. The headteacher is Mrs Florence Mabuza (pictured below left) and she is an extremely friendly and kind woman who will go out of her way to make volunteers feel comfortable and welcome, she also gives the biggest cuddles! Mrs Mabuza and her staff (pictured below right) are very forthcoming with their teaching guides to enable volunteers to easily create lesson plans and continue teaching the children their current topics. The teaching guides are very comprehensive and volunteers will have no problems creating their lessons once they have arrived at the school. 

 

                                        


The school teaches children from grade 1 (typically 6/7 year olds) up until grade 7, when children must pass an exam in order to move onto high school. Volunteers must be aware that not all children begin school from the same age in Swaziland, due to various reasons. Furthermore, in order to move up a grade children must pass examinations at the end of each school year, if they do so then they can continue up the grades, but if they do not then they must repeat the grade until they pass. This means that all of the classes have children of the same ability but mixed ages. There may also be children attending the school who are much older than those who attend primary school in the UK. Volunteers should not feel overwhelmed with the concept of teaching lessons, since the students are very welcoming and eager to learn. They are also taught in English from grade 3 and so the language barrier should not be too troublesome. 

 

As previously mentioned, the children are a pleasure to teach and most are very keen to learn. They seem very happy when at school and like to sing, dance and generally enjoy themselves. They also love any opportunity to take pictures or pose for the camera, as shown in the photos below!

 

                                        

 

What to pack:

 

Volunteers may wish to take a range of resources to Swaziland with them, to then be left for the school and children at the end of the placement. Ideas of resources that are appreciated include; sports equipment (tennis balls, frisbees, footballs, netball, skipping ropes), reading books, drawing and colouring pencils, crayons, modelling clay, colouring books, educational resources (dice, worksheets, number counters), wool and beads (for creative activities including making friendship bracelets), bubbles and balloons. The typical weight allowance travelling into Swaziland is 21kg and it is not uncommon for volunteers to fill this allowance with resources and clothing which they then leave behind!

 

Volunteers should also pack a first aid kit. Advice of what this should include can be found in the following SSP document:

- SSP First Aid Kit

 

When teaching volunteers must adhere to a smart/casual dress code. Women volunteers should not wear trousers when teaching in Enkhaba Anglican Primary School. Historically, in Swaziland, the thighs and bottom should not be shown by women, this includes wearing trousers since they show the shape of these areas. However, this is now becoming an outdated tradition and many younger women can be seen wearing trousers and jeans in the city centre. If volunteers are unsure then they can stick to a dress code of mid-length and maxi dresses and skirts, which will assure the prevention of any unwanted attention. Volunteers should also recognise that March-April typically signals the end of the summer and start of the winter in Swaziland. Therefore, while there may be some very sunny and hot days, it is also likely that there may also be some very cold and wet ones, particularly in the evening. As mentioned above, volunteers may wish to leave their clothes behind at the end of the placement, for the teachers to distribute among themselves. 

 

Mrs Mabuza, the teachers and the students are all extremely grateful for any clothing or resources that are supplied by volunteers. The school itself has fairly limited resources and so even the smallest of contributions can make a big difference. It is hard to avoid the gratitude of those at the school and volunteers should not be surprised if they are honoured with a farewell dance (pictured below) at the end of their time at Enkhaba Anglican Primary School. 

 

Accomodation

                              

 

While staying at Enkhaba Anglican Primary School volunteers will stay in the 'Wendy House' (see photos above). This is a house built specifically to accommodate volunteers and it is situated on the same grounds as the school. There are 12 houses in the complex, all of which are permanently occupied by teachers during the school term. The houses are fenced in and all entry gates are locked with padlocks, for which all volunteers and teachers have a key. There is also a 24 security guard posted on the main entrance to the school. The house itself has a locking front door and a second metal gate that locks with a padlock, for which only the volunteers will have keys. The house and site are considered to be very safe and volunteers should not have any outstanding concerns for their possessions. 

 

The house is furnished with a set of bunk beds and a double bed, so there is enough room to accommodate up to 4 volunteers. The kitchen is equipped with a fridge freezer, gas stove and a large collection of kitchen utensils. The bathroom has a flushing toilet and running shower, but volunteers should note that the water is cold. It is advised that volunteers take 'shower bags' to fill in the morning and warm outside on sunnier days. The house has electricity and this is typically prepaid by the school prior to the arrival of volunteers, the cost of such a service is very expensive for the school and so volunteers should ensure they are not wasteful with the electricity supplied. The water for the school is sourced from a local fresh water spring. Volunteers are advised to drink bottled water during their visit, this can be purchased from the small local shops in Enkhaba, or larger bottles are available in the supermarkets in Mbabane. 

 

Transport

The cheapest and most common form of public transport in Swaziland is travel by Kombi (see photo below). These can be waved down from the side of most main roads and have an extensive network which covers most of the country. They have the departure and arrival towns printed on the front, however they stop many times during each journey and so volunteers may wish to check with the local people that they are choosing the correct Kombi. The Kombis are never full and volunteers will be amazed at the large number of people that they manage to squash into each van! The local people are very friendly and will always smile and say hello. They are extremely interested in the reasons for which volunteers are visiting Swaziland and they love the opportunity to practice their English. 

 

 

Enkhaba school is located at the end of a 2km track which starts at the side of the main tarmac road. Therefore, volunteers should be prepared to walk this distance when they wish to visit the local shops or catch a Kombi. Volunteers may also wish to consider hiring a car during their stay, if they wish to travel far distances across the country, since the Kombis do not have reliable schedules and can have long travelling times. 

 

Social life

The school day finishes at 2pm and volunteers are advised to be back in their house by dark, as the road leading to the school does not have any street lighting. The teachers will often socialise with one another during the afternoons and volunteers may be invited to join them. Volunteers are also advised to take books, DVDs and a means to watch the DVDs (such as a portable player, laptop etc) since these are good ways to pass time. 

 

The weekends are the volunteers own time, to spend entirely as they please. There is a church on the same site as the school and volunteers are encouraged to attend since it provides a good opportunity to meet more local people and establish further friendships. Volunteers may also be invited by those they meet to attend family occasions such as BBQs or parties. This is not uncommon, the community often strive to help integrate volunteers into the local culture!

 

There are a number of nature and game reserves located in Swaziland. The Big Game Parks are the most widely visited by tourists and are located across the country. The Mlilwane game reserve is the closest and most easily accessible, by Kombi, from Enkhaba.

 

The Malolotja nature reserve is located within walking distance from Enkhaba Anglican Primary School and further information can be found from the Swaziland National Trust Commission. The reserve provides the opportunity to explore the land both walking, biking and canopy tours

 

As previously mentioned, Mbabane is the capital city and can be accessed, by Kombi, from Enkhaba Primary School. The town has traditional Swazi markets, shopping centres, a range of food outlets, internet cafes and a number of supermarkets. Volunteers may wish to visit the city at the weekends and emerge themselves in the local culture. They might also see many women carrying their shopping using the traditional Swazi method! (See photo below)

 

 

Useful Contacts

Contacts within the Swaziland Schools Projects:

Keith Fossey - keith.fossey@ntlworld.com

John Tibbs - john.tibbs1@ntlworld.com

 

Recent volunteers at Enkhaba Primary School:

Megan Edwards - meganedwards@hotmail.co.uk

Jessica Gill - jess.gill@hotmail.com

 

The charity will provide volunteers with the most up-to-date contact numbers for those in Swaziland at the time of volunteering. 

 

Before you go

  • Volunteers should contact either John Tibbs or Keith Fossey (email addresses provided above) to discuss the possibility of volunteering at Enkhaba Primary School. 

 

  • Once approval has been gained, volunteers should begin to consider the costs involved. The accommodation is provided by the charity and so there is no charge for its use. Volunteers must pay for their own flights to Johannesburg, their own transport into Swaziland (this can be via train, coach or plane), travel vaccinations, travel insurance, any spending money they may need for food, travel or social activities while volunteering and any resources that they wish to take for the school. Fundraising can be a good way to subsidise the costs. The fundraising activities of previous volunteers can be ideas can be seen here

 

  • With regards to travel vaccinations Volunteers are advised to seek advice from their GP. Although Enkhaba itself is not a malarial zone, volunteers are advised to take malaria tablets when visiting Swaziland, since some areas of the country are highly malarial. Volunteers should also be aware of the presence of rabies within Swaziland and note that stray dogs are fairly common. The SSP can provide further insight into the vaccinations and precautions for volunteers.  

 

Costs

 

 

 

 

 

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