Residents of Eretsha in Okavango have welcomed as a relief a move by Okavango Wilderness Safaris to upgrade their satelite primary school, which currently enrolls classes from standard 1 to 4, to a fully-fledged one accommodating all classes to standard 7.
Okavango Sub-District and Okavango Wilderness Safaris recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) towards the construction of a single classroom block, 2 four cubicle ablution blocks comprising installation of water reticulation and fencing of the school. The school currently has one 2 classroom block and 1 Ablution block.
Eretsha Village Kgosi Boitshwarelo Mosenyegi has said the development has brought relief to parents as it will bridge the distance students travelled to access school in Beetsha for standard 5 to 7 classes.
He revealed that currently these students walk 20 kilometres to and from Beetsha Primary School where they are exposed to the dangers of marauding wild animals that posed danger to their lives.
Speaking at MOU signing ceremony recently, Okavango Sub-Council Acting Council Secretary Losika Kula revealed that the school needs infrastructure or additional classroom blocks to cater for a full seven class streams. Currently the school operates with nine temporary teachers with a total enrolment of 224 students.
Kula acknowledged the good relationship between Okavango Wilderness Safaris and the Okavango Sub-Council which he revealed dates back in 1996 when it started its partnership with Okavango Community Trust (OCT) in the eastern panhandle of the Okavango.
“By virtue of operating in the region, Wilderness Safaris have worked collaboratively with various communities’ leadership structures on numerous development projects and the Sub-Council has therefore supported majority of these project, either through facilitation, approvals and guidance in such projects,” he added.
Okavango Wilderness Safaris Managing Director Kim Nixon revealed that they have managed to source fund amounting to over P1.1 million for the project which has already started and it is expected to be completed next year.
“We are going to construct one by two-classroom block with fittings and furniture, one new four-cubicle shared ablution block with water for boys and girls, installation of water reticulation system within the school grounds as well as fencing of the school premises,” he said.
Nixon appreciated the Council and the leadership of Eretsha Village for approaching Wilderness Safaris seeking assistance adding that they are grateful to help.
He further revealed that Wilderness Safaris will also build another school in Tsodilo after completing the Eretsha project.