As part of Belgium Campus’s Christian vision on humanity, we strongly believe in the bigger role we can play in our community and region. Our dedication has seen Belgium Campus, involved both in our personal capacity and with partners in various community projects. By supporting and helping those around us, we understand that we are preparing a better future for South Africa.
Community Upliftment in Bela Bela
For over a decade, Belgium Campus has committed itself to social and community upliftment through our student exchange programme with the Limburg Catholic University College (KHLim). The programme is aimed at benefitting disadvantaged communities in Bela Bela where, every year Belgium Campus hosts around ten third-year Bachelor students from KHLim who are given the opportunity to work on community development projects. These projects take place in various locations around Bela Bela including Spa Park Primary School, Talje Huis, Bosele Dawn and Tusanang Special School. The graduates work on their assigned projects for periods of between three and five months. The overarching aim of this joint Community Development and Service Learning (CDSL) initiative is to develop and sustain, in partnership with the community an empowering environment through teaching, learning and research. CDSL is part of the MoU between BC and the KHLIm, whereby remedial teachers, social workers, nursery school teachers, and technical teachers in training work at these projects. Together with KHLim, and other donors (such as the Kiewit Fund and the City of Hasselt), infrastructure is built for these diverse projects.
The selection of projects starts with an annual needs analysis to ensure that all projects fulfil specific community needs and the students also help to organise awareness campaigns in town. The students’ preparations for their South African trip starts during the first semester of their third year when they conceptualise new projects based on the needs of the community where they are based.
These students also gain as much from the experience as the community does. Mr Francis Loyens, Vice Rector: Education at KHLim, said that such experiences can change a person’s whole outlook on life. With specific reference to the exchange students’ involvement at Bela Bela, Mr Loyens added that previous students have since started similar activities at their own universities. "It results in an active commitment and a positive outlook that lasts for the rest of their lives," he concluded. Belgium Campus looks forward to building on this successful partnership in the decades to come.
Spa Parks Primary
Belgium Campus has been actively involved with Spa Parks Primary School in Bela Bela for a number of years. As part of our cooperation with the school, Belgium Campus has made numerous donations to the school as well as making it a beneficiary to our MoU with the KHLIM As part of the donations made to the school, Belgium Campus is proud to have donated 120 computers on 4 occasions. These donations were made both in our own capacity, and in cooperation with Close the Gap (Belgium) and the City of Hasselt. Together with the computers, Belgium Campus engaged its students in assisting in the delivery, installation, maintenance, and curriculum development and delivery. Other support included the donation of kitchen appliances, financial contributions and furniture.
Belgium Campus School Computer Programme
Being a specialist ICT campus, Belgium Campus needs to ensure that equipment is always up to date so students have access to the latest software and hardware on which to learn. The constant need to upgrade has put Belgium Campus in the position whereby we can donate our older, but perfectly useable ICT equipment to various schools that will benefit from this equipment.
Schools which have already benefitted from this programme include: Akasia Hoërskool, Akasia Primary School, Pretoria Noord Hoërskool, Gerrit Maritz, Montana Hoërskool, Overkruin Hoërskool, Wallmansthall High School, Wonderboom Hoërskool, Bela Bela High School, Khabele Primary School, Mapalani High School, Skahla Primary School, Filadelphia Special School, FH Odendaal, Maope High School, the Breede Centre, Uitzig Hoërskool and Sutherland High School Apart from just donating equipment, Belgium Campus is actively involved in the setting up of each institution’s computer classroom, installation and support.
Belgium Campus also provides the IT teachers with the necessary curriculum training in our “Train the Trainer” programme. Through the programme, a total of 6800 children can attend yearly computer classes at their schools. Some of the schools also use their computer classrooms to hold evening and afternoon computer classes for community members, helping the broader community gain access to computer skills.