© Twin2Win 2018
Our mission is to provide poor rural Zulu schoolchildren with the same opportunities
in life as their urban counterparts enjoy.
We shall achieve our Mission by (a) improving the shocking literacy rates among rural Zulu learners and (b) providing a safe and hygienic school environment for all. In Grades 1, 2 and 3 we shall install a “Dancing Pencils Reading Corner” in as many classrooms as possible, and we shall build as many classrooms, toilet blocks, science laboratories and computer labs as our wider community can raise funds for. We shall work with our partners, Winterfold House Primary School in England, Ncemaneni Combined School near Eshowe, the Dancing Pencils Writing Clubs and the Eshowe Community Action Group to spread the benefits of “twinning” throughout rural Zululand.
Rural Zulu schoolchildren face several obstacles in their years of schooling, some of which are actually life-
When the original party from Winterfold House made their historic stop at the Shakaland Hotel near Eshowe in 2006, they started a conversation about schools and schooling with some of the Shakaland staff. This resulted in an invitation to visit the local school where those staff members’ children received their education.
What they found shocked them to the core. The school, with 400 pupils, consisted of six classrooms, a cooking area and an unhygienic block of pit latrines. There was also an orphanage on site, which was run independently of the school.
They had a quick discussion and decided that they had to do something to improve the situation. They told school principal Armstrong Mthembu that they would go back to the UK, raise money and see that new classrooms and new toilets would be built. As Mr Mthembu told staff and parents during his visit to Winterfold in 2017, he and his staff did not initially believe them.
“We said to ourselves, they are just a school like us, what can they do?” he told the audience at Winterfold during an event billed as “An Evening with Armstrong Mthembu”. The intervening 12 years showed what could be done and the school today is unrecognizable from its pitiful original.
The two communities have forged closer and closer ties, and the extraordinary benefits of “twinning” have been demonstrated for all to see – not just in the first dozen or so Ncemaneni alumni graduating from university (something that would have been almost impossible before) but also in the consistent reference by members of the Winterfold Community describing the effect of the biennial visits as “literally life-
Welcome to Twin2Win
Birth of a network
The picture above shows Ncemaneni Combined School principal Armstrong Mthembu (extreme left) addressing a visiting group of pupils, parents and teachers from Winterfold House School in the English Midlands, but it also shows the event that started a network. It was visiting team leader James Brinkley’s comment (“We at Winterfold have gained so much from our relationship with Ncemaneni”) that started the ball rolling towards the establishment of Twin2Win and the efforts to expand the benefits of twinning to other British schools.