June 2022.

The recently refurbished Boesmanland Hoerskool boarding house facility, was officially handed over to the school and Department of Education, in a ceremony, 17 May 2022. Representatives from the Department of Education and the Local Khai-Ma Municipality were in attendance, alongside members of the School Governing Body, parents, learners and funder stakeholders from Konkoonsies Solar Power and Konkoonsies II Solar.

This refurbishment project was undertaken by the two solar projects situated in the Pofadder area, following an assessment undertaken by the Department of Education. The assessment identified that the high rate of school dropout could be directly attributed to inadequate boarding facilities and transport challenges, which fuelled the decision to remedy this by the solar projects.

Boesmanland Hoerskool is the only secondary school that caters to youth from Konkoonsies Solar Power’s beneficiary communities of Pella, Pofadder and Onseepkans, with Onseepkans being located a significant distance away via an underdeveloped road, making this boarding house an essential link in access to education for many learners.

“It was agreed that Konkoonsies Solar Power would assist with funds to purchase new kitchen and laundry equipment, industrial grade appliances as well as new mattresses for the boarders, with the bulk of the refurbishment undertaken by BTE Renewables’ Konkoonsies II Solar,” said Harrisinah Theka, Economic Development Specialist, for Konkoonsies Solar Power.

The project commenced in September last year and was completed in April 2022. The upgrade has rendered a previously run-down hostel, safer, providing vastly improved facilities, in addition to its accommodation capacity being augmented by more than 20%. The refurbishment 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.

School Principal, Mr. Collin Muller, said, “The living arrangements of our learners has improved drastically. This includes the kitchen facilities, study room and laundry. Furthermore, the hostel meals are now being prepared in a safe and hygienic manner.”

Even though this renovation means that learners who couldn’t be educated due to lack of space available at the boarding house, can now attend school again, there are still some Onseepkans and Pella families that need to transport their children to and from school daily.

“This is challenging as these communities are located far from the school and the roads are terribly undeveloped and under maintained. Later this year, we hope to be able to assist the learners and their families with this need specifically after further consultation with the community,” concluded Theka.

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