Schools/Skole: 1 July 2021

Verna Vorster, principal at Tswellang Special School.

Tswellang Special School shows gratitude

On Thursday, June 24, Tswellang Special School in Bloemfontein held a thank-you function to show the school’s appreciation to sponsors who have been helping them throughout the years and to also appeal to other people who might be interested in donating to the school.

Verna Vorster, principal at Tswellang, said the purpose of the function was to thank all service providers, sponsors and everybody else involved at the school. She said they also wanted to inform the public about the projects they have for the next three years and to also speak to people who would like to help out at the school. She said the school draws inspiration from the Bible and that God has helped them face every single challenge thus far.

“The school undertakes to utilise all available resources to educate learners to enable them to take their place in society as independent, confident, participating members,” Vorster explained the school’s vision.

The few projects that the school will be focusing on for the next three years include a billboard that will be erected near the school on Dr Belcher Road. On October 21 they will be hosting a golf day. They would like to have more school transport available as the school could only afford to buy one minibus thus far.

Vorster explained that the wheelchairs and sewing machines are ongoing projects at the school. The lapa at the school will be renovated into a conference room. The school needs help with general maintenance of the school buildings.

Tswellang offers hostel accommodation for 98 learners from all over the Free State. Currently there are 98 learners who are dependent on wheelchairs and 38 learners who use walking frames, rollators or crutches. “We have our own wheelchair workshop with a full-time technician where this large number of wheelchairs are maintained. This includes repairs as well as adjustments to the wheelchairs.”

Due to the fact that the learners are growing and actively exploring their learning environment, a wheelchair needs to be replaced every two to three years, which amounts to approximately 40 wheelchairs per year.

The school also has a vocational class where learners are taught self-sustainable living skills. The main subjects of this class are household gardening, basic sewing machine skills, recycling and open labour market. This class enables each learner to have the ability to earn an income and be self-employed. The school wishes to be able to give each learner a sewing machine by the end of their vocational class year.

“Covid-19 has given learners the advantage of being able to make beautiful masks,” the principal added.

Corn Koteli

New Chaplain for St Andrew’s

Newly appointed Chaplain, Reverend Ashe Steenbok

St Andrew’s School in Bloemfontein has appointed Reverend Ashe Steenbok as the school’s new chaplain.

He will be taking over from Rev. Deon Lombard, who will be moving to take up a position as Rector of the Alexandria Parish in the Diocese of Port Elizabeth at the end of the month.

According to a statement from St Andrew’s, Rev. Steenbok has a strong personal focus on youth ministry, bullying prevention, youth bereavement and career mentoring. He also has a keen interest in hostel learners, and currently preaches at Eunice Hostel part time.

He was ordained in the Dutch Reformed Church in 2004 and has since then been in full-time ministry, teaching and participating in outreaches, with a focus on youth counselling. In six months, the Anglican Bishop of Bloemfontein will ordain Rev. Steenbok into the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, after which he will be known as Father Ashe Steenbok.

According to the statement Steenbok qualified as a teacher in 2012 at the University of the Free State and in 2010 took up a teaching position at Kruitberg Primary School in Bloemfontein, where he has been teaching English and Life Orientation to Grade 7s. He is also the school’s pastoral guidance counsellor. Since 2018, Rev. Steenbok has also headed up the Youth Ministry at St James’ Church in Bloemfontein.

Sazly Hartzenberg