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Unveiling GWF’s latest arrival – the Dumphries Digital Learning Campus!

The education revolution is strong in Bushbuckridge, evidenced by the launch of Good Work Foundation’s (GWF’s) fifth digital learning campus in Mpumalanga.

Together with several partners – the Ulusaba, DuliniInyati and Leopard Hills private game reserves; as well as the Sabi Sand Pfunanani Trust, the All Heart Fund and the Dumphries community – GWF officially opened the Dumphries Digital Learning Campus on 26 July 2019.

The Dumphries campus is part of GWF’s Hazyview cluster of campuses dotted along the border of the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve.

The mission of GWF is to challenge how we learn, what we learn and, most importantly, who has access to learning. Geography or social circumstances shouldn’t stand in the way of a quality education. From preschoolers to adults, GWF reimagines education for rural communities.

Two of GWF’s programmes will be run at the new Dumphries campus: the Bridging Year Academy and the Open Learning Academy. The Bridging Year Academy curriculum is a year-long course that enables adults to become proficient in skills that are required in a 21st-century workspace – quite literally “bridging the gap” between their high school experience and going into the working world or further studies. The Open Learning Academy focuses on English literacy, Maths literacy, digital literacy, conservation and life skills for rural schoolchildren.

The official opening of the new campus was jam-packed with inspiring speeches, singing, dancing, feasting and connecting. One of the many highlights was the presence of guest speaker Sibusiso Vilane – a South African adventurer, marathon runner, mountaineer, expedition leader and co-author of the book To the Top from Nowhere. Sibusiso shared his experience of how a deep self-belief can get you anywhere – even to the top of Mount Everest and back again.

The Mpumalanga Department of Education, also a great supporter of GWF, was represented at the event by deputy director Deon van Vuuren. Deon spoke about the rise of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and its imminent impact on education, especially in rural communities.

Isaac Hlatshwayo of the Sabi Sand Pfunanani Trust spoke about the power of collaboration. He shared with guests the personal significance of this launch to him – he is from the Dumphries community and went to junior school at Mahlahluvana Primary School, which stands adjacent to the new GWF campus. GWF Hospitality Academy coordinator Tarshine Mafuyeka shared the inspiring story of her personal career journey from a small rural community to some of the world’s best hotels, and then back again to train others in the trade at GWF.

GWF CEO and founder Kate Groch was honoured with a song by the GWF staff before she spoke about GWF’s strategic model known as the “Hazyview cluster” – a hub-and-spoke model running learning programmes that are tailored to help graduates find jobs in the local Mpumalanga hospitality industry in its direct geographic vicinity.

A special highlight was the awarding of the All Heart Fund Leanna Knopik Cup. Announced by Hazyview campus cluster head Zola Myakayaka, this award is inspired by the heart and spirit of Leanna Knopik – a young American woman who touched many lives.

Leanna’s time on Earth was brief but impactful. At the age of 16, she passed away suddenly after contracting a rare heart infection. A family trip to South Africa was a life-changing experience for her: she felt a sincere connection to the South African people and wanted to work as a missionary, helping children in schools and orphanages. Leanna’s loving friends and family often remember her as being “all heart”.

Leanna never had the chance to volunteer in Africa, so in the spirit of her heart’s wishes, the All Heart Fund was created to provide the resources and education necessary to enhance the lives of rural African families. GWF’s Dumphries Digital Learning Campus is funded in part by the All Heart Fund and all those who support it in Leanna’s memory.

The runners-up for the All Heart Fund Leanna Knopik Cup, Oscar Madonsela and Doylance Mbungela, were honoured for their determination, selflessness and kind hearts. The joint winners were cousins Tiyisani Mkhabela and Landi Mkhabela. Both are students at the Dumphries campus. Landi is differently abled, and struggles with communication and mobility. With the selfless help of her cousin Tiyisani, she has been excelling in her courses at the Bridging Year Academy. GWF believes there are no two students more deserving of this recognition than Landi and Tiyisani.

A very special thank you to Steve, Beth and Rogers Knopik for being with us to present this award. It’s amazing what can be achieved with a single dream.

Hendrik Louw of Suez Capital said of the launch, “You instilled in us a renewed sense of hope for our nation, for which we are grateful.” GWF would like to thank all of our guests and the Dumphries community for welcoming the GWF team so warmly.

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The All Heart Fund family along with the Dumphries campus lodge partners and the GWF team.
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The GWF choir captivates attendees with a musical performance.
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All smiles and high energy as the GWF learners celebrate the opening of a new GWF campus.
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Dumphries Open Learning Academy learners show us their moves.
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The GWF Dumphries Digital Learning Campus formally opens its doors.
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The community comes out to show its support as Dumphries get its own digital learning hub.

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