Sakhile Centre Of Learning Assisted By Three Tree Hill Foundation
Many of the guests staying at Three Tree Hill will visit the spectacular Maloti-Drakensberkg Park (uKhahlamba-Drakensberg World Heritage Site) during their stay with us. On the way, they will pass through the rural villages of aMazizini & Bonjaneni. It was on one of these trips to the park (in 2015) that Cheryl Grace (Three Tree Hill guest) met Elijah Mbonane (Tour Guide) and decided to collaborate with Three Tree Hill to build and support an Early Childhood Development Centre, focusing on Environmental Sustainability & Tourism, that could inspire the children of this area to protect this beautiful site for generations to come. Legacy of Grace was born.
Together with generous donors we collaborated with various designers and builders, utilising recyclable & recycled materials to build a Learning Centre that would make the community proud. In order to make the project financially sustainable in the long term, and for the community to receive government grant assistance, a number of requirements had to be implemented ie. separate classrooms, toilets with universal access & kitchen facilities. The grounds were securely fenced to keep wandering livestock from eating the vegetables, a jungle gym with swings erected to entertain the children & develop their gross motor skills, a kitchen facility built to prepare nutritious daily meals, toilets for sanitation and classrooms to teach in.
The first two classrooms & kitchen facility were built from recycled shipping containers, recycled pressed wood & polycarbonate sheeting. The rusted outer appearance is designed to blend into the natural surroundings with earth oxides used to treat concrete surfaces. The inside of these buildings are bright & welcoming for the children to enjoy a happy learning space. Double open doors look out onto the mountains across the road to ensure fresh flowing mountain air and learning inspiration from nature.
The third classroom and waterless ablution facility were designed and installed by BOXA. Cement-free dry-stack walling system made from secondary raw materials and a hybrid high strength concrete-free footing system was used on the very poorly drained section of the property. The structured walls are made from waste sand or industrial fly-ash, bound with unsaturated polyester resin.
BOXA Classroom for children aged 1 - 2 years, with age-appropriate educational equipment.
The main ablution facility boasts an impressive sustainable design aspect. This is a ‘ground-breaking’ Bio-gas Digestor system that channels toilet waste, grey water, food waste & cattle manure to a system of air-tight bio-gas bags that, together with ‘good bacteria break down the wet waste & produce gas that can be used to power the cooker and deep freeze that holds food for the children. The Waste to Energy concept has the potential to create energy independence as well as promote a clean and safe environment by eliminating hazardous waste in the village. This part of the project was spear-headed by Prof. Celestine Sempuga, Prof. Diane Tiyaan & Pippa Lange from the University of South Africa (UNISA). This biogas project aims at creating awareness and providing practical knowledge on sustainable and clean alternative energy.
All the buildings have been fitted with gutters & rain water tanks, donated by Eco-Tanks, to capture & store as much water as possible for the dry months.
Another important aspect of the project went to providing essential Teacher Training. We assisted one of the teachers to gain a National Certificate in Early Childhood Development, Other teacher training practical workshops have been facilitated by Botshabelo UpliftED Training.
In 2023 the building project was completed, and Legacy of Grace involvement ended. The Sakhile Parents Committee have taken ownership and management of the project now. They receive assistance from government grants for contribution to meals, maintenance & salaries. The parents sending their children to the facility also pay a monthly fee when their children attend. There are now 80 children attending this Learning Centre and visitors are welcome to contribute directly to community if they pass by, en route to the National Park.