Lions Club adopts, supports school

From left are Bokmakierie Primary School librarian, Shaheeda Israel; Kirstenbosch Lions Club member Ann Barr; principal Larry Lewis, and Les Salo, also a member of the Lions Club of Kirstenbosch, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony to declare the school a legacy project of the Lions Club of Kirstenbosch.

Bokmakierie Primary School is bearing the fruits of being chosen by the Lions Club of Kirstenbosch as its legacy project.

The three-year partnership has already led to the school’s Grade R classroom and food storage room being upgraded; as well as the establishment of a library.

The Lions Club of Kirstenbosch also arrange an annual eye screening for the Grade 1 pupils.

Bokmakierie Primary is also a beneficiary of its annual pencil box initiative – where underprivileged children are given stationery on the first day of school.

In celebration of the Lions Clubs International centenary celebrations, each club across the globe was asked to have a “project of note”, referred to as the legacy project.

It was only natural then, for the Kirstenbosch club to make Bokmakierie Primary School their legacy project.

Lions Clubs International was born on June 7, 1917. Since the school was closed on June 7 because of the storm, the Lions Club of Kirstenbosch hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their legacy project on Thursday June 23.

Les Salo, a member of the Lions Club of Kirstenbosch, said their work at the school is not once-off, hence they chose it as their legacy project.

“The legacy project must be something meaningful – a project of note. We are giving ongoing support to the school, and that is why it is our legacy project,” he said.

Ann Barr, another member of the Lions Club of Kirstenbosch, said they consult with the principal, Larry Lewis, about the school’s needs, before they tackle anything.

“Mr Lewis asked us to help upgrade their Grade R class first. It now boasts with more space and a mezzanine floor, which is being used for storage. When that project was complete, Mr Lewis then informed us that the school needs a library. He could give a space for the library, but the school had no other resources, like furniture and books,” Ms Barr said.

Mr Salo praised Ms Barr’s efforts at making the library a reality.

“Ann has a knack for getting things done. Also, people out there are very generous if you give them an explanation of substance.

“The best part of the library is that it is not a white elephant at all. It is being utilised,” said Mr Salo.

The library was painted, the book cases were also given a fresh face with some paint, and the carpet and paint were donated.

The Lions Club of Kirstenbosch bought the chairs, and the School Governing Body employed Shaheeda Israel as the librarian. NPO the Bookery provided the books.

Ms Israel said Wordworks, an early literacy programme, use the library to assist pupils who have challenges.

“We just had an assessment done, and they have improved so much,” a proud Ms Israel said.

Mr Lewis said they want to make the school a space where children want to be – hence he is always looking at ways to improve the environment.

“We don’t have a truancy problem and it is because of the environment we create at school.

“We are very pleased that the Lions Club adopted our school as their legacy project. They are giving us ongoing support and we are very grateful for that. They help out with many small projects at our school. I am particularly happy that they do eye screening for our Grade 1 pupils, because sometimes children struggle with their school work because of poor eyesight,” Mr Lewis said.