A classroom constructed in honour of Guyana’s 50th Republic Anniversary

26 February 2020

In celebration of the 50th Anniversary as the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, the Guyana High Commission in South Africa hosted members of the Guyanese Diaspora, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), and Diplomats from Caribbean countries, including Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Haiti at a reception on February 23, 2020.

Photo: High Commissioner Hunte observes the Learners under the extension of the outdoor classroom

Dr Cyril Kenrick Hunte, High Commissioner of Guyana in South Africa officially opened a newly constructed classroom for four and five-year old learners at the Elias Motsoaledi Pre-School and Day Care in Devland, Soweto, following the approval by Counselor Badi of Ward 24. The school was named after Elias Motsoaledi (26 July 1924 – 9 May 1994), who was an anti-apartheid activist sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island, along with Nelson Mandela and others.

 

Photo: High Commissioner Dr. Hunte and the Jamaican High Commissioner, Mrs. Angela Comfort standing behind some of the Learners and invited guests on February 26, 2020

During his address on February 26, 2020, Dr. Hunte noted that the project is aimed at providing the learners with a positive start to their education, for as Nelson Mandela said: ‘Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.’ Yes, education can change the world, for it supports understanding and transcends generations.

High Commissioner Hunte explained that we are here today because of the visit by three Guyanese teachers, Mrs. Mildred Lowe, Mrs. Wendy Babb and Mrs. Alvilda Arokium (recently deceased), who taught in the New York School system. They traveled to South Africa during their summer vacation and visited the Elias Motsoaledi Pre-School and Day Care during one of their tours. These teachers immediately recognized the need for teaching materials and sanitary items.

Dr. Hunte stated that when the teachers returned to New York, they raised and sent funds to Mrs. Claire Hunte, who is also a teacher and the wife of the High Commissioner. Mrs. Hunte purchased and delivered teaching materials and sanitary items to the teachers.

However, she observed that the classroom was not conducive for teaching and learning, since there were approximately seventy children, ages one to five, in a crowded room. Consequently, Mrs. Hunte proposed that a classroom be built for 4 and 5-year-old learners. The High Commissioner explained the upgrades to the parents and visitors. He said that the covered outdoor area will be used as an extension of the newly constructed classroom for teaching and learning.

Photo: Learners under the extension of the outdoor classroom

High Commissioner Hunte said that more teaching materials and recreational items were distributed to the school to provide for the basic needs of both the learners and teachers, in addition to the previously delivered ‘no-sew’ blankets (without needing a sewing machine) for the upcoming winter season. Plastic containers for drinking water and washing hands as well as two outdoor toilets were constructed for improved hygiene to compensate for the lack of running water and electricity on the premises. The entrance to the school is now paved with concrete as well as the area from the classroom to the toilets. High Commissioner noted that these upgrades will contribute to the overall cleanliness of the facilities. In the meantime, Mrs. Hunte will continue to assist the teachers with incorporating the newly acquired teaching and learning materials with the Basic Curriculum for Education in South Africa.

 

Photo: Mrs. Claire Hunte teaches the 4 and 5-year-old Learners in the new classroom

High Commissioner Hunte stated that this project is community-based with volunteers from South Africa, Guyana, Burundi, New York and Pennsylvania. Some provided their time and talent, while others made financial contributions which were used to pay for supplies and for building materials and technical services, signifying the African proverb that, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’.

In closing, High Commissioner Hunte stated that in celebration of our 50th Anniversary as the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, we dedicate this class room and facilities for the learners at Elias Motsoaledi Pre-School and Day Care; and he asked that the teachers, parents, and guardians work together and support each other so that the children will be happy, creative and compassionate.