Rotary Club hands out bursaries to six schools

The Rotary Club of Wynbergs Norwegian liaison co-ordinator, Dennis Gowdy, with Norwegians Sindre Saetre, Andrea Selene Steversev, Amalie Johansen Thoresen, Eirik Falkenhaug,Wenche Hovstad, Kristina Kwamme and Anita Sorviu.

The Rotary Club of Wynberg’s Norwegian Project handed out bursaries of R100 000 each to six schools on Tuesday February 25, during a ceremony at Fairmount High School in Parkwood.

The project has seen annual bursaries being given to Fairmount and Zeekoevlei high schools, and Lotus River, Perivale, Stephen Road, Die Duine and Montagu’s Gift primary schools.

However, Lotus River Primary School did not receive funds at this handover.

The project began in 1999, when a member of Kopervik Rotary Club in Norway, approached the Rotary Club of Wynberg to make a donation.

At the time Magne Hallaråker was the chairman of the international committee of the Rotary Club of Kopervik and also the principal

Through his college and with donations from his Rotary club, Mr Hallaråker managed to organise a container of dictionaries, as well as enough funds to buy four computers and two printers in South Africa.

It was suggested the club start a project for schools on the Cape
Flats, and Ken Williams, who was a member of the Rotary Club of Wynberg and a retired principal of Stephen Road Primary School, assisted with contacts to his former school, as well as to Montagu’s Gift Primary School.

These two schools were part of the beginning of a project, which has aided schools in Grassy Park and Lotus River.

Over R6 600 000 has been raised (just over R600 000 in 2019/2020) for IT equipment, libraries, etc and for bursaries for over 5 000 pupils at the schools.

The Rotary Club of Wynberg Norwegian liaison co-ordinator, Dennis Gowdy said the students at the Norwegian college help to raise funds for the project each year and some of the students were selected to attend the bursary night in South Africa last week, and hand out cheques to the schools.

Principal at Fairmount Secondary School, Terrence Klassen, said the school had been benefiting from the bursary since 2006.

Mr Klassen said the bursaries were awarded to the pupils based on merit, and most importantly, financial need.

“The school received a bursary of R100 000. We then selected 60 students to award a R1 000 bursary to, which goes towards their school uniform, stationery, shoes, and whatever they need. The remainder of the bursary then goes towards the school’s equipment, like computers and things like that,” said Mr Klassen.

Mr Klassen said with the high unemployment rate in the area, and the school fees being R2 550 a year, only 17% of that actually came in to the school at the end of the year, with most parents not able to pay fees.

Mr Klassen said the school was dependent on funding from organisations such as the Rotary Club of Wynberg’s Norwegian Project.

“It is making a difference in a lot of these children’s lives. Many are the first to matriculate in their families,” he said.

He said he was proud to see former pupils who had been recipients of the bursary go on to study further at universities and colleges.

“We bring them back to share their stories so that they can become role models to the community,” said Mr Klassen.