Djuma is actively involved in the surrounding communities and have facilitated establishing a trust – the Buffelshoek Trust – to help in this regard.
Constituted in July 2001 with the express aim of uplifting the Manyeleti villages; and with the patronage Mr Nelson Mandela who visited and opened our first school – Nwa Tumberi pre-school. The Buffelshoek Trust set about addressing an essential need of this poverty-stricken, rural community – education. The Trust chose to focus on education for it is a fundamental component of true empowerment.
This community has been identified as one of twenty-three rural and urban nodes by the South African government. These nodes represent the largest concentrations of poverty in the country. Approximately 800 000 individuals reside in the district and 70% of the community is not economically active. This is due, in part, to the fact that they do not have employable skills, have not had access to skills training and do not have the resources available to obtain these skills. Coupled with that, approximately 25% of the community are HIV positive. It is clear that those who are not infected are affected by the pandemic.
The initial investment in the community focused on school infrastructure. There were insufficient classrooms and resources for learners. Many classes were taught under trees and in extreme weather, lessons were cancelled. In addition, with the area being impoverished, many learners were under-nourished.
The Buffelshoek Trust has, together with its partners, spent in excess of R30 million on the following:
- Constructed 3 crèches;
- Refurbished 6 primary and 2 secondary schools including constructing ablutions and administration blocks;
- Provided electricity for these schools;
- Built approximately 44 classrooms;
- Furnished 3 libraries;
- Instituted agricultural projects adjacent to the schools;
- Assists in the feeding of approximately 3000 learners daily;
- Built 7 computer centres;
- Provided water to 2 villages; and
- Spends approximately a million rand on training for teachers and learners annually.
The Trust is now focusing on providing quality education through the construction of a semi-private school directed at Maths, Science and Technical subjects. In addition, we are planning to develop a facility that caters for the provision of tertiary education as well as entrepreneurial support at the DevCentre. We have also committed to providing the area with a health care facility. Providing our adopted schools with sports facilities and the resources to develop coaching is also a priority. We believe that investment into extracurricular activities is critical for youth development. The project is aimed at providing recreational facilities which promote teamwork and play, and a means to channel the activities of the youth towards more constructive recreation.
The Trust continues to undertake and become involved in exciting projects focusing on education in a holistic sense; and working in conjunction with the community is both rewarding and worthwhile. We believe that the Buffelshoek Trust, by working with the community and establishing relationships with government and donors, facilitates the community’s plans for a better future by helping to turn dust to dreams.