Pretoria - A Pretoria teacher’s decision to include 10 learners in an educational nutrition programme has made a lasting difference to the children’s lives, as all of them simply needed a little recognition to boost their self confidence.
In a heart-warming testament to the transformative power of education and community support, life skills teacher Rose Nkwane from Retlilepele Primary School in Mabopane, north of Pretoria, went the extra mile to boost the confidence of these children with the help of the Rama Good Breakfast Programme.
The programme is aimed at teaching children about making better nutritional choices. Instead, with the help of Nkwane, it’s gone far beyond that.
The Good Breakfast Programme is a comprehensive 21-day behavioural change campaign that targets young children, and teaches them about the importance of making better breakfast choices.
The programme, designed in collaboration with the Department of Basic Education, imparts essential knowledge about the importance and composition of a nutritious breakfast, and is not only informative but also interactive and fun.
As part of the programme, 10 learners at every school are chosen to champion the initiative for its duration. Nkwane, an educator with a deep commitment to providing every learner with equal opportunity, decided to do things a little differently from her peers.
She chose to pair five strong learners with five learners facing unique challenges. The result of this thoughtfully curated group of young minds unfolded into a remarkable journey of personal growth and empowerment.
Among the students selected for this unusual leadership opportunity was a little girl with a stammer. The young learner had struggled with a speech impediment which had led to the stammering.
Her challenges extended beyond mere communication; they touched her self-esteem and confidence.
Another was a learner with a pattern of frequent absenteeism from school, which disrupted her academic progress and caused concern among her teachers.
A learner who faced significant learning barriers, struggling to read and write, was also chosen for the programme. The learning challenges had hindered his academic development and eroded his self-esteem.
An introverted mathematical whiz kid was also not forgotten. Despite his exceptional mathematical abilities, this young learner was an introvert, hesitant to share his talents with his peers. His potential remained largely hidden from others.
The fifth student came from a poverty-stricken background, enduring hardships that extended beyond the classroom. The lack of food at home added to the daily challenges he faced.
Nkwane’s vision was clear: every child deserves an equal chance to shine. By selecting this diverse group of pupils to lead the programme, she aimed to create an environment where each child could flourish.
However, what unfolded surpassed even Nkwane’s, expectations. The little girl who had been grappling with a stammer began to hold her head high with new-found confidence.
The absentee student, once absent at least twice a week, did not miss a single day for the entire duration of the campaign. The learner with severe learning barriers came up with a heart- warming Rama song that expressed his creativity.
And the introverted maths whiz found his voice and was able to deliver a speech confidently in front of his peers.
Thus the Rama Good Breakfast Programme, designed to teach children about good nutrition, inadvertently became a platform for these young learners to overcome personal challenges, gain confidence, and build self-esteem, Claire Storm, manager of the breakfast programme said.
She explained that Retlilepele Primary School was just one of 360 Gauteng schools participating in the programme.
““Mrs Nkwane’s extraordinary story exemplifies the profound impact that dedicated educators can have on the lives of their learners. It also showcases how a well-thought-out programme can inspire growth, empower young minds, and foster a sense of belonging and equality among children. We are so incredibly humbled to be part of their story,” Storm said.
In terms of the programme, comprehensive pre and post-surveys measured shifts in behaviour.
“The results were not just encouraging; they were nothing short of remarkable. Rama’s initial goal of reinforcing the importance of having a nutritious breakfast and its broader benefits was met,” Storm said.
She added that this heart-warming story, however, stood out as testimony to the incredible impact that a collective commitment to nurturing healthier habits can achieve, promising a brighter future for the youth of South Africa.