Jan 29, 2018

Cape Town Water Crisis and Love to Langa

Philippi Children's Centre Borehole
Philippi Children's Centre Borehole

As you have probably heard, Cape Town has been suffering under three years of unprecedented drought and currently has less than 90 days worth of water in its reservoirs. Residents have been asked to drastically cut back on water usage in the hopes of preventing Day Zero - sometime in April when the taps will run dry! City officials have decided that once the dams reach 13.5% capacity, the municipal water supply will be turned off for all but essential services, like hospitals.

Swimming pools are being closed daily and people are not allowed to top up their pools. Many schools and households have not made allowances to recycle or store water. Households are limited to 50 litres of water per person per day.

For schools that have not made adequate provisions for their pools, it's a sad day for them to have to close. Water safety has become a part of many school curriculums as it is an essential life skill.

What does this mean for our projects, especially our Love to Langa Swimming Academy, when the filling of swimming pools with municipal water has been prohibited? 

In 2014, we embarked on an ambitious endeavor to build a learn to swim indoor pool at Philippi Children's Centre.

We wanted the following: 

*an indoor, heated learn to swim pool due to reports of children drowning in local dams.

*to launch with an established swim school running our Swim Academy, training community members to eventually run our pool. The aim was and always will be to empower previously disadvantaged individuals.

*scholarships for any children who cannot afford swimming lessons.

Before we committed to the Swimming Academy, we did a lot of research. Was this a viable project? Our project manager in Cape Town heard rumblings of water being an issue although at the time there was no mention of Day Zero. A site visit to Philippi Children's Centre proved positive when the borehole on the property was viewed. This was what the project needed to sustain itself if there was a drought.

What is a borehole?

A borehole used as a water well is completed by installing a vertical pipe (casing) and a well screen to keep the borehole from caving. This also helps prevent surface contaminants from entering the borehole and protects any installed pump from drawing in sand and sediment.

When we filled the Love to Langa Swimming Academy pool the first time, borehole water was used and it will be topped off with borehole water going forward.

Philippi Children's Centre also has a Lilliput Sewage and Wastewater Treatment system at the school.

Lilliput saves on water usage by using recycled water for flushing, irrigation, car washing and filling swimming pools and water features.

Current Love to Langa Swimming Academy Water-Saving Measures:

No showers after swimming.
The toilets will not be flushed - borehole water will be used to flush toilets.
Hand sanitizer to be used after using the toilet.

 

Most of the students in our schools live in shacks with no running water to begin with and must access a community tap, which I understand is not currently under ration. The situation is changing rapidly and we will be keeping a close eye on it and  dearly hope and pray that our actions, along with countless others in Cape Town, will help alleviate this crisis until solutions can be implemented. 

 

 

Lilliput system
Lilliput system
Swim lesson
Swim lesson
Dec 11, 2017

Come along on a ride!

Outing photo
Outing photo

For the past three years, Love to Langa has been having a fundraiser at Mad Mex Wynnewood (PA) restaurant to help support our programs. This year, the proceeds sponsored a wonderful field trip for 70 children from Mfuleni ECD, all of whom are recipients of our scholarship program. The children were treated to a tour of Cape Town on a double-decker bus and a happy meal lunch. As you can see from the video, a fun time was had by all!

Principal Sandra wrote, "Hi Amy. Dreams don't stay dreams with Love to Langa. No, they happen. Last night, parents were calling me because of the rain and I said, 'it's ok. It's going to thunder but tomorrow at 7 am the rain is going to stop.' My son sent me a picture of the hail last night and also asked if the outing is going to happen and I replied, 'yes.' This morning, while I was driving to school, I saw the rainbow and was so excited and ran into the Grade R class and asked the children the meaning of the rainbow and they said the rain is going to stop and I said give yourselves a hand and they did! Amy, it was a wonderful and awesome day and we want to thank you and your board of Love to Langa. The children did enjoy and I know the parents' ears are going to pain tonight... We love you so much."

Outing photo
Outing photo

Links:

Nov 2, 2017

Swim lesson update

Zion
Zion
Swimming lessons are moving along nicely for our sponsored students. Here are some updates on a few of the children who have weekly lessons, thanks to our donors.
Among the confident swimmers are Shiloh, Roshe, Indiphile, Zion and Sitha, who are unafraid to put their faces in the water. They all have made progress on freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke kicks. All strokes are assisted by a noodle and a kicker board and they all know how to enter and exit the pool.
 
Remizane is still afraid of the water but does participate in the lessons. His freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke kick are good. All the strokes are assisted by a noodle and a kicker board. He knows how to enter and exit the pool.
Phoebie is still very scared of the water and needs to be assisted at all times. Her freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke kicking are fair but have improved a lot since the first lesson. All the strokes are assisted by a noodle and a kicker board. She knows how to enter and exit the pool.
 
Jayden is still very scared of the water but gets in and out of the pool confidently. He is always eager to practice his strokes. His strokes still need attention but have improved a lot. All his strokes are assisted by a noodle and a kicker board.
Lutho is confident in the water, but still a bit scared to put his face in the water, although he will always attempt to do it. His freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke kicking is good. All the strokes are assisted by a noodle and a kicker board . He knows how to enter and exit the pool.
Sisipho is confident enough when getting in the water, but still a bit scared to put her face in the water and blow bubbles. Freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke kicking  needs more attention too. She knows how to enter and exit the pool. All the strokes are assisted by a noodle and a kicker board.
It will be so exciting when the students advance to actual swimming and diving! We can't wait to share their progress with you and hope you are cheering them along with us!
Sisipho
Sisipho
Sitha
Sitha
Roche and Indiphile
Roche and Indiphile
Shiloh and Remizane
Shiloh and Remizane
 
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