Share for Smiles e.V. (SFS), in collaboration with SAVE and Botshelo Trust, built the SFS Learning Centre in Shakawe, Botswana. On the one hand, the Learning Center offers a free pre-school education in which up to 100 children can be cared for. On the other hand, the facility is used as a meeting place for youth in the afternoon, enabling them to do their homework for example. On regular basis, SAVE holds its environmental activities there.
In addition to essential knowledge acquired at school, the SFS Learning Centre also conveys environmental aspects, in particular the wildlife of southern Africa and the Okavango ecosystem. The lessons are designed by qualified local teachers. The pedagogical management of the project in Shakawe is led by Phia LeRoux (MA Education, University of Manchester).
The sustainability of the project is ensured by the long-term commitment of SAVE, which in cooperation with Botshelo Trust bears the operational costs of the pre-school.
The completion of the construction work and commencement of school operation is scheduled for June 2018. The official opening of the SFS Learning Centre in Shakawe is scheduled for July 6, 2018. For this purpose, the German ambassador, Ralf Breth, has confirmed his visit to the Centre.
Shakawe is located in the extreme northwest of Botswana and has about 7,000 inhabitants. In this region, about 10% of children graduate in the current 12-year school system. 90% of children, especially orphans and children of low-income parents, end up without a school leaving certificate. One reason for this is lack of educational background, preparation for lessons and school. The pre-school system is currently privately organised. The pre-school attendance is therefore subject to a charge, and not affordable for the majority of the local population. Hence, orphans and vulnerable children have virtually no access to preschool education.
In particular, for the children of ethnic marginalized inhabitants of the Shakawe region (e.g., Bambukushu, Bayeyi), learning the national language -Setswana at pre-school serves as a prerequisite for successful entry into primary school.
A small group of children are currently mentored outdoors by SAVE and Botshelo Trust. This makes the regular operation of the pre-school weather-dependent and impossible to carry out educational activities during bad weather. Against this background, the "SFS Learning Centre Shakawe" takes effect.