Environment-friendly school funded by Oprah Winfrey...
SEVEN FOUNTAINS PRIMARY SCHOOL /South Africa
The Seven Fountains Primary School in Shayamoya, a remote town in KwaZulu-Natal, was funded by Oprah Winfrey, designed using environmentally responsible principles oprah celebrating at seven fountainsand was built with community participation. The school features some innovative green design ideas. As water supply to the area is irregular there is a rain water harvesting system and a water pump powered by children playing on the see-saw and merry-go-round.
They also use solar power and have a garden supplying vegetables for school meals. The school cost R12m, which is in line with the KZN Education Dept's budget for a school of this size.
Oprah, local dignitaries and the community came together in March 2007 to celebrate the school's official opening.
"Seven Fountains Primary School is a wonderful example of what a community can do when it comes together with a common goal to help educate its children," Oprah says. "Our intention is that this school design will serve as a template for other public schools in South Africa."
Seven Fountains serves as a model for future schools built in KwaZulu-Natal and throughout Africa. East Coast Architects from South Africa, selected to design and build the school, worked important sustainability features such as solar energy and water conservation into the new school and conducted workshops with students, teachers and parents.
Local resources were used whenever possible. About 250 people were employed during construction—all from the local area, where 65 percent of the population earns no monthly income at all.
Landscaped gardens supply vegetables and allow for students to learn more about agriculture, natural science and nutrition. Other innovative sustainable energy features include roundabouts to pump water, solar-powered streetlights and solar water heating.
Many unemployed mothers took an adobe brick-making workshop and were paid to make the bricks used for a special classroom.
In the multi-purpose classrooms, based on traditional design and built with indigenous materials, children will learn about their culture.
Seven Fountains Primary School began as a modest farm school and was one of the only schools in the poor, rural community of KwaZulu-Natal. When Oprah first visited, the school was in a building with no heat, imited running water and electricity, four toilets, dirt floors, no playground and broken windows. Despite these conditions, close to 1,000 eager children attended school.
Before, all meals were prepared using one pot. Now, the facility includes a kitchen where healthy meals can be prepared for all the students. With 25 new classrooms, three multi-purpose rooms, a library, a computer lab and sports fields, the new school represents hope for the children and families.