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There are smiles on their faces

Author: | Date: 18/08/2021

This project has helped us a lot. Our school is located in a township and basic services are often a problem. Sometimes the community goes for a whole week or even two without water,” says Dorothy Masilo, the principal of Lekwakwa Primary School in Tlhabane in the North West Province. “With this project now complete, we’re capturing our own water and we don’t have to rely on the municipality as much anymore. And the children have a soccer pitch to play on.”

For several years, Glencore Ferroalloys has worked with GreenSource, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, local government and other partners to install water systems at several schools near its operations in the Western Limb. 

The water systems are complex. They comprise a 65,000-litre water storage facility with a man-made soccer pitch on top. The pitch gathers rainwater and stores it in crates made of recycled plastic, and then treats the water so that it is safe to drink. When the rainwater has been treated, the system also treats borehole water. This clean water is then made available to the school’s learners and to the wider community.

To date, GreenSource systems have been installed at Boshoek Primary School by Boshoek Smelter, Lekwakwa Primary School by Rustenburg Smelter, and at Kroondal Primary School by Western Chrome Mines. The cost per system is over R5.3 million.

“In disadvantaged communities, these systems serve two very important and necessary functions,” says Tlhobogang Ramoroa, Western Chrome Mines’ Community Development Officer. “The regular supply of water to our communities is hugely important, of course, but it’s also important that the school children have somewhere safe to play.”

The soccer pitch makes the learners at Lekwakwa extremely happy. “When I joined this school in 2016, learners were playing soccer on the dirt and, in the rainy season, in the mud,” Dorothy explains. “Now, when you take learners to the pitch, there are smiles on their faces. This project has boosted their morale and has helped our school to look neat and tidy, while also providing a valuable service to others in Tlhabane.”

In early 2020, Dorothy entered the National Teaching Awards, winning first and second place in her district and provincially and coming second nationally for excellence in primary school leadership. “The GreenSource project, and the impact it has had on my school and my community, were at the heart of my award,” she says.