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Boesmanland School boarding house refurbishment supports better learning

A high-impact refurbishment of Boesmanland High School’s boarding house, Huis Eksteen, has augmented its accommodation capacity by more than 20% and rendered the previously dilapidated hostel safer, with vastly improved facilities. Situated in the Northern Cape’s small town of Pofadder, this is the only secondary school that caters to youth from the towns of Witbank and Onseepkans, both located a significant distance away via an underdeveloped road, making this boarding house an essential link in access to education for many learners.

Funded by BTE Renewables’ Konkoonsies II Solar, the project commenced in September last year and was completed in April 2022, with plans to hand it over to the Department of Education this month (May 2022). The renovation included both the inside and outside of the hostel, including cupboards, ablution facilities, a kitchen upgrade, tiling, painting, ceilings, teachers’ rooms and laundry room updates, including everything that has been in need of maintenance and improvement for many years.

The project furthermore made use of local subcontractors to further benefit the surrounding beneficiary communities and received support from a neighbouring solar project, namely Konkoonsies Solar Power, managed by Globeleq South African Management Services, that came on board to contribute kitchen and laundry equipment and as well as new mattresses for the boarders.

School Principal, Mr. Collin Muller, enthused about the learner’s pleasure and enjoyment of the new hostel’s environment, saying, “The entire hygiene of the hostel has improved, and we will be able to make a saving on the municipal rates as a result of the new water system. Academically, I believe we will also see an improvement as a result of the upgraded study facility which is now more conducive to learning.”

The increased accommodation, from 86 to 104 learners, and study facilities, which in essence supports increased access to education, is in line with BTE Renewables’ strategic approach to the support of learning. “This community programme supports inclusive and equitable quality education and promotes lifelong learning opportunities, aligning to our company’s strategy to achieve transformational impact in communities through education at each life-stage,” said Libby Hirshon, Sustainability Director at BTE Renewables.

To reduce disruptions, the bulk of the construction work was undertaken during school holidays and CV-19 lockdown. Additional improvement that Konkoonsies II will be attending to in the near future include the instillation of fly screens; perimeter fencing and the instillation of new curtaining for the hostel rooms.

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