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KEEPING US CONNECTED DURING COVID-19

Bonnie Schuman, Nama Karoo Coordinator, and Esther Matthew, Specialist Conservation Officer, EWT Drylands Conservation Programme
Bonnies@ewt.org.za and Estherm@ewt.org.za

The EWT’s Drylands Conservation Programme (DCP) was thrilled to receive funding from the Lewis Foundation to support communities and individuals significantly impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown in the Karoo. There were ten recipients from Loxton, and three from Nieuwoudtville, who each received a router and a data package to support their studies and community work for one year, particularly when they needed to operate from home during the lockdown.

Fredeline Frieslaar, a qualified Edu Care teacher, was the first in Loxton to receive her router. Fredeline has made a significant positive impact in Loxton over the last two years, working as a teaching assistant for the EWT-Rand Merchant Bank Clever Rabbit learning support project. She is also Loxton’s adult reading facilitator and is currently tutoring four adults who are learning to read and write. Fredeline wants to study second year foundation phase education at NWU (long distance learning) and needs internet access to complete short courses online in preparation. Fredeline and two other women in the Loxton community have also been working tirelessly to provide food to community members in need, as the soup kitchen in Loxton was closed during the lockdown.

Recipients of routers and data packages generally sponsored by the Lewis Foundation, so that they were able to continue with their studies and community work during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Seven young adults completing their diplomas in animal production through the DCP’s e-learning centre in Loxton also each received a router, so that they can complete their studies online. This made it possible for them to complete their assignments while the centre was closed during lockdown, and while EWT staff implemented the necessary health and safety measures before reopening the e-learning centre. The remaining router was allocated to a group of matric learners (Grade 12) to continue their education while schools were closed. Thank you to the Lewis Foundation for supporting our youth, so that they are better able to support others.