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Ulusaba

Calling all bookworms and computer geeks!

We're incredibly excited to announce plans to build a literacy centre at Mahluhluvana Primary School, complete with library and computer lab! PnP has pulled together a unique group of partners to make this dream a reality!

I told you it was a big cheque

Mahluhluvana is a lovely school with scarce resources but passionate teachers. We've also been working with Peace Core Volunteers, Lora and Adam Willard who work at the school teaching literacy and computer skills respectively. When Lora joined she found the school had just 20 story books and no computers. During the couple's 14 months in the community they have made huge strides. They have identified and trained a teacher to head up both the library and the computer lab. Most excitingly they set up a very popular reading club that will eventually run the library; advising other learners on book selection etc.

As a group we had discussed how desperately the community needs this centre but I had

no idea how I was going to fund this dream...I got back to my desk, switched on my computer only to find

the magic email from V Australia saying they'd like to fundraise for PnP as part of their Melbourne to Johannesburg route launch and did we have a project they could support...

During their stay we took the group of V Australia customers, staff and media out to Mahluhluvana to meet the teachers and learners and see where we were going to spend their rather large cheque! We had a wonderful day of traditional dancing, soccer, poetry, singing and intercultural networking. Thank you SO much Scott, Brett, Heather, Leonie, Debra, Simon and everyone responsible for this amazing generosity! Emkomo!

The community literacy centre is currently our main fundraising drive, if you'd like to get involved or support us in any way please get in contact!

HIV/AIDS is a daily reality in our communities, while the stigma and denial around the virus persists its consequences can been see everyday and never more clearly than at the homes of our orphaned and vulnerable children. PnP has built 6 houses for these families and is currently supporting 54 children. These children are brought up in a loving family environment with their siblings and we work with their carers to give them the most normal and happy life possible.

PnP, lead by David and volunteers Nicki and Georgie, embarked on a big review on all our children to ensure we are giving them really constructive support above and beyond basic needs provision. We have found that we have 7 children that do not have birth certificates or identification documents so are not on any State registers. This means that they are not receiving government child grants or able officially to go to school or later in life get a legal job etc. We are working with Home Affairs to get these children registered as South African citizens. This is arduous work but will be so incredibly worthwhile once the battle is won!

At a recent staff meeting a very emotional Norman, one of Safari Lodge's chefs, asked PnP if there was any

way we could help his 14-year old daughter, Koko, get a wheelchair. She suffers from a rare muscular disorder that has left her paralyzed. As she has gotten older and consequently heavier it has become increasingly difficult for her mother and grandmother to lift her and take her outside or to other rooms to give her a change of scenery so she spends most of her time indoors in her room alone.

We promptly called Dr. Khosa - a great friend to PnP and the chief medical officer at the Bhubezi Clinic- to ask how I'd go about purchasing a wheelchair; he just laughed his deep belly laugh and told me that they are not for sale...but he'd happily donate one to us! The wheelchair he donated was not just any chair -oh no - it has been especially developed for rural environments and is much more robust than a conventional wheelchair, it came complete with mountain bike wheels and a comfy, washable seat!

So David and I paid Norman a surprise visit at his home while he was on leave to deliver this very special chair to a very special girl! Once the family got over their shock they were all in tears of happiness. Norman has reported that Koko is so happy as she is now able to enjoy days outside under the cool of a tree and be moved easily to different rooms. Thank you Bhubezi!!

Another achievement we are really proud and excited about is the completion of Wisani Primary School. This little school, situated in Rolle Village about 40 minutes from Ulusaba, was severely run down and learners were being taught in the next door church hall. When Richard and Judi Willmott (regular guests and amazing supporters of PnP) heard about the school they made an incredibly generous donation so that we could build a brand new 5-classroom block! The school was reopened earlier this month with a really fun party held in the Willmott's honour complete with traditional dancing, signing and much gratitude!