Community, Food & Transport
The Nyae Nyae Village Schools project is working within existing education structures and systems. The project includes the rebuilding of five existing Village Schools, serving 37 villages.The five sites have been selected by the communities themselves on the basis of accessibility and proximity to water sources. The construction of the first school in Den/ui will be completed in March 2021.
The Village Schools aim to provide a safe nurturing environment for young Ju/’hoan learners in order for them to develop an awareness and pride in their own culture. At the same time the project provides ongoing support to teachers, matrons, janitors, school boards, parents, and the community.
Teachers and staff
Each school will consist of two permanent Ju/’hoan teachers, and three Ju/’hoan staff, two matrons, and one janitor. The staff will work on a rotation system from school catchment villages, ensuring the community takes responsibility for the running of the schools. Village School teachers and their principal will also be supported in their work.
The Namibian government, like many African governments, is still overburdened with capacity building, and the educational and language needs of the Ju/’hoansi Bushmen are among a myriad of demands placed on their resources. The intention is not to replace or undermine Ministry of Education activities to date, but to provide needed assistance and augmentation, working in close association with the Ministry.
Transport and Food
An effective transport system for learners, teachers and service delivery to the schools will facilitate the running of the schools and will include a school bus, a service vehicle for the school principal and specially designed donkey carts.
Food and nutrition are critical in motivating school attendance and affecting the ability to learn. All schools receive maize meal through the Namibian school feeding program, and the project is supplementing this by supplying additional nutritional food and setting up vegetable gardens. Water tank trailers have been purchased to support hygiene, sanitation and the gardens.
Since adopting the Nyae Nyae Lower Primary Village Schools in 2003, the Namibian Ministry of Education has shown great commitment to Ju/‘hoan mother tongue education.
There are currently 9 unqualified Bushmen teachers employed by the Ministry of Education at the Nyae Nyae schools. Save the San supports the Village School teachers to get their qualifications and improve their teaching skills.
The transition of learners from lower primary (Village Schools) to upper primary can be traumatic for young Ju/‘hoan learners, as they will have to leave their community and move to an environment that is very foreign to them. A smooth transition from lower primary Village Schools to upper primary improves the chances of students continuing their education. Learners drop out of upper primary and secondary school because of long distances, bullying, the inability to communicate with school staff and lack of transport, adequate food, school uniforms and hostel necessities.
In supporting the transition of Village School learners to upper primary school, Save the San is providing school uniforms and toiletries to all learners who make the transition.
Adult vocational skills
The newly built Village Schools will provide outdoor space and storage for adult vocational skills for all community members in the catchment areas. Emphasis is on applying inherited indigenous skills for their own needs. Currently adult training is out of scope of this project, but Save the San is open to supporting this together with other adult training organisations. These could include sewing, leather-work, jewellery making and animal husbandry.
Health organisations and NGOs could use school facilities for community meetings during weekends or school holidays.