Deep in the African bush, hundreds of kilometres from the tarred road and way off the electricity grid, a small miracle of education is taking place.
The Village Schools in the Nyae Nyae conservancy, Namibia, deliver learning to some of the world's most marginalised children. These children belong to a group of hunter-gatherers, the Ju|'hoansi, and walk the Kalahari desert, home to lion and elephant, to reach school. They live in rudimentary hostels and are dependent upon government hand outs of maize meal and food gathered from the surrounding bush. Too often, for various reasons, government supplies don't arrive. With more frequent droughts and the illegal grazing by livestock belonging to their neighbours, bush food supplies are denuded. The children are hungry, sometimes too hungry to concentrate in their tented classroom. I know, because I've worked in the Village Schools.
Here's a link to a Facebook page about the fund-raising done for the Village School Feeding scheme I co-founded in the Nyae Nyae Conservancy, in 2017.
It now operates under the aegis of the Ju|'hoansi Development Fund Village Schools scheme which is making significant progress towards improving the educational infrastructure. In April 2022, the first new Village school was opened, a sustainable building replacing the former tented facilities.
Here's an announcement from the Ju|'hoansi Development Fund Village Schools project team:
"The most notable of these [achievements] is the construction of a new school in the village of Den/ui. The two classrooms, kitchen hostel and teacher accommodation are already in use, and an official opening ceremony will take place on the 26th of April.
The facilities helped us reach our goal of increasing access to culturally sensitive education by double.
The 25 students enrolled in 2021 in a single tented classroom, has now more than tripled.
We've also been working on: