N/a’an ku sê Clever Cubs School opened in 2009 after a need arose for the education of San Bushmen children. Fewer than 1 in 5 San children attend primary school due to financial difficulties and social prejudices. Discrimination of the San prevents many children from receiving adequate education and extends so far into them not being accepted into mainstream schools.
At Clever Cubs we believe every child deserves the right to an education. We believe in providing a positive learning environment for children to expand their knowledge and gain an understanding of the importance of education in their futures. Clever Cubs is a place where passion is encouraged and enthusiasm is fostered. It’s a place where San Bushmen children can learn and become thoughtful students who take pride in their education.
PRE-PRIMARY SCHOOL EDUCATION
Our Clever Cubs School offers children a safe and stimulating environment to be in every day, as well as a hopeful future. Coming to school every day is a joy for each child and helps establish a routine for young children, providing them with stability in their lives.
A full time Namibian teacher joined us in January 2010 and focuses on pre-school education, giving the children the best possible educational start in life, vital for when they are old enough to join the mainstream schools. She is helped by some of the San parents who look after the nursery class of tiny tots.
As well as the native Bushman language which all the children speak at home, classes are held in English and Afrikaans. Mainstream schools in Windhoek teach in Afrikaans and English so it is vital they gain fluency in these languages, thus giving them the opportunity to continue their education at a higher level.
The children learn how to read, write and count, and enjoy dancing, singing and playing at break time. We also provide them with a main meal at lunchtime which, for many of them, is the only substantial meal they receive each day. Nutrition is vital in developing children both physically and mentally, increasing their capacity to learn.
Since December 2010, we have been holding a graduation ceremony at the end of each academic year with students successfully graduating to primary school in Windhoek. The children always look wonderful in their graduation outfits and lap up every minute of the attention – receiving well deserved praise and recognition for all their hard work.
Without the education they receive at Clever Cubs, these children would stand little chance of gaining entry into a mainstream school and consequently receive no education or qualifications in order for them to gain employment when they are older.
MAINSTREAM EDUCATION FOR OLDER CHILDREN
Due to historical prejudices and discrimination against this marginalized community, it can be difficult for Bushman children to gain entrance into mainstream schools in Namibia. We believe Bushman children deserve the same opportunities as everyone else, and so we work with primary and secondary schools in Windhoek to secure enrolments for the older San children from our village.
The children now receive a first class education and integrate socially with children of all Afrikaans communities. We cover all of the costs for school fees, uniforms and books, in so doing allowing the children to fully immerse themselves in their secondary education.
In order to keep the children living with their families, we also transport them the 42km into school and back every day. If we did not provide this, the children would either have to live away from home and their families or leave school altogether.
Since January 2010 we have enrolled a significant number of children into primary schools in Windhoek and all have settled in remarkably well, making new friends and progressing well in their subjects. We’re delighted with the positive impact the schooling is having on the children, with many of our students being awarded certificates for good behaviour and progress, as well as achieving grades to be proud of.
Our teacher regularly visits the schools to assess the development of the children first hand, and this support is continued through homework supervision and additional tutoring.
Clever Cubs is so much more than a colourful little school nestled at the heart of N/a’an ku sê – it is a home, a support system and a place where every child is nurtured, supported and encouraged to fully embrace life.