Changing Rooms

 Library created at St James Primary Maseru Lesotho

 The new library at St James Primary opens its doors. .

 

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After a very slow start work started cleaning a room which was previously used as a church and prior to that a home economics classroom.  The room itself is one which has a lot of natural light having windows at either end, high ceilings and exposed roof timbers. Unfortunately the light showed up the need for complete repainting. The ceiling was also poor shape with a number of ceiling boards needing replacing.  New boards were installed and painting commenced on the walls and roof timbers, in the school colours of blue and white.

The next question that arose was how to house the books that had been donated from numerous schools throughout the UK via School Aid.    

 A quick thank you here

 A BIG Thank YOU to UK SCHOOLS, Your Kindness in donating books to School Aid to those who have very little is beyond measure. As teachers here on the ground in Lesotho we see the immediate positive effects.  A legacy that will endure for years to come.      

 

Back to the build.  We could not buy shelves to house the books, so shelves had to be built on site.

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The project did not stop with the shelves being built. The aim of the library was to create an environment children would visit on a class basis throughout the school week, but also encouraging them to come individually to sit and read.

 

In UK schools murals painted on the walls may seem quite normal. In Lesotho the depiction of the undersea world, of birds and butterflies  flying high,  stars shining down is quite a unique experience.  Enter the teaching staff of St James and the other members of LTPP 2015 Kim, Rachel and Alice as a working party to begin painting the murals on the walls

On one wall Rachel  painted an open book into which the following words were to be etched into its open pages

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One parent who turned up after announcing in a parents meeting what we were painting murals on the walls in the new library.  She painted a Traditional Basotho village scene.

 

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 In keeping with the colourful nature of the room plastic tables and chairs were purchased and the school furniture painted to match.

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The St James Primary School Library would not have seen the light of day without the following generous donations.

Dolfor Village Preschool Playgroup, Dolfor, Newtown, Powys, Wales, UK.

David Hopkins, Trust Fund, Nationwide Building Soc Staff Association, UK.

Jason Exley and Pupils of The Venerable Bede Academy, Sunderland UK. 

 Each one of the above were convinced of the value of this project to the children of St James Primary and how it would form a corner stone of some of the other initiatives being introduced via Dolen Cymru LTTP 2015 (Lesotho Teacher Placement Programme) and Lesotho Literacy Leap.

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Special Needs Education in Quthing

Mary Oliver from MENCAP Cymru undertook an ILO placement this year to tackle the problem of educational provision for learners with additional learning needs......a HUGE undertaking! But a HUGELY successful one. Here are some highlights:

 

Holy Trinity Primary School, Quthing

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St. Davids Day - Basotho style

 

Check out some video clips here...

 

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It's not all teaching…..

It wasn't all teaching…. dropping 204metres down a waterfall is child's play after everything else…..

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Feeling the fear and doing it anyway

The whole point of the ILO is to encourage personal and professional growth by taking people out of their comfort zone. This weekend, I found myself as far away from my comfort zone as I could possibly be. I was on a trip to Semonkong with a group of Welsh teachers who have been in Lesotho for the last five months. Their aim was to complete the longest commercial abseil in the world as certified by the Guinness Book of Records. I was keen to visit so when I heard about the trip, I really wanted to join the group but didn’t think there was any way I would voluntarily walk off a cliff 204 meters from the ground.
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When we arrived on Saturday morning, I immediately asked at the lodge if there was an alternative to the abseil.  I was persuaded to take the training with the group and if still not comfortable, then I could do something else the next day.  The problem I have is a fear of heights, or more accurately, a fear of falling from one so hanging from a rope is not really my dream activity.

The voice of reason was arguing that I should at least have a go so I decided my best strategy would be to do it without looking down.  I allowed myself to be connected to the rope and started to walk backwards as instructed.  About one step from the edge, I lost my nerve and tried to give up, however, the staff and the rest of our group gave me so much encouragement that I managed to dig deep and keep walking.  I concentrated on taking one step at a time and tried not to look at how far off the ground I was.   To my surprise, I really enjoyed it and just wanted to try it again to prove to myself that it wasn’t a one off.  Each time, my confidence grew until I felt ready to try the big one.

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Sleep was fitful on Saturday night as I started to feel the adrenaline pumping just at the thought of abseiling down the great Maletsunyane Falls.  The day dawned and I started to prepare myself for the challenge ahead.  By this point, the self-talk had changed from ‘I can’t do it’ to ‘I can do it’ and I was feeling nervous but calm as we reached the start point.  When it was my turn, I approached the edge of the cliff.  I was told that there was a stretch where the wall fell away and I would be hanging in mid-air and they also told me that when I reached this point I would probably swing around to face away from the rocks.  When I realised this would happen right near the top I started to panic.

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Some photos of our school links

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