Shakira Sheikh recently wrote an article for Jozikids on the difficulties in finding a school for Grade 1, which clearly resonated with many of you on a very deep level. I also have kids both in Grade R and Grade 1 and so empathise deeply with this struggle. It is natural to feel a sense of helplessness and hopelessness at the current lack of schools, and yet the best solution I have found to these feelings has always been taking action.
Here are some ideas to get you going…
– Homeschooling is always one option to look at, and if you spend some time online you will find many homeschooling groups where mother’s get together and support each other and help their kids to socialize.
– A private tutor is another option, and while this may at first seem outside of your financial reach, if there are so many mothers in the same situation (and it certainly sounds like there are) why not join together and hire someone for a group of kids – look for a retired teacher or two looking for part-time work.
– Look up and support local NPOs who are working to resolve this problem. A great one that I found recently is 2Enable.org, who are looking at setting up free educational programs that can be accessed online, specifically with the aim of alleviating the current lack of good teachers in the country.
– Speak to local businesses and schools about joining together in initiatives to create new classrooms and sponsor more teachers.
– Raise awareness of the issue – speak to your local radio stations, newspapers, and magazines. Write to the relevant governmental departments. Protest.
– Call the government to task on this and on the general issue of how your tax money is being spent. Start a petition. Email them daily.
– VOTE. When local and national elections come around, make sure you are in the voting queue. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people complain about the state of the roads/schools/healthcare and yet they chose not to vote when the time came. If you’re not happy with what the current government is doing, vote them out.
– Contact your Ward Councilor, explain the problem you’re having and brainstorm solutions. Call a meeting in your area.
These are just a few ideas to get you going, but chat with your friends in the same situation and see what other ideas you can come up with. Share them here too and get this conversation going. Remember that complaining about an issue takes time and energy – the same time and energy can be spent in working towards solutions.
There is a lovely quote by Lily Tomlin that is quite apt in this situation:
“I said, ‘Somebody should do something about that’. Then I realized, I am somebody”.