Zoo outing a success for Riverlea learners

Janice Beckett, Wilhelmina Hoskins Primary School, zoo, experience, lions, Johannesburg Zoo, flamingos, education centre, Gorrilla, Makoko, Non-Profit Organisation, Riverlea, Riverlea and all Extensions Against Child Hunger (R.E.A.C.H.), Riverlea Primary School, TC Esterhuysen Primary School, excursion, Masha van Wyk, impoverished community, Mayor Herman Mashaba, Basil Douglas, Louis Kleynhans, Donavon Cloete, Warren Wheatley, Lisa Daniels, Laura Hibner, government, mining companies
Exploring different textures by touching the stuffed animals.

Grade One learners from Wilhelmina Hoskins Primary School encountered their first zoo experience at the Johannesburg Zoo. On their way to there, they sang songs of praise in the buses as they waited for the drive to end before they arriving at the zoo. Many learners were only excited about seeing the lions, but once they entered the zoo and saw the flamingos, their little faces lit up in amazement.

First on the list was a visit to the education centre where they learned about the different types of birds. Afterward, they were allowed to look at the stuffed animals until they went on their tour to see the real ones.

A fascinating sight was when they arrived at the gorilla enclosures where they got some action from the Western Lowland Gorilla called Makoko. Surprisingly, Makoko was born in a place with the same name as the school.

A class at the education centre where they learned about birds.

Surprisingly, Makoko was born in a place with the same name as the school; the Wilhemina Zoo in Germany in 1985. The learners had an immediate connection with him as they had a moment to beat on their little chests and imitate the sound a gorilla.

The day was made possible by an eight-month-old Non-Profit Organisation from Riverlea called Riverlea and all Extensions Against Child Hunger (R.E.A.C.H.) who partnered with Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo.

The partnership did not stop with just one school but they organised for all three schools in Riverlea to have the opportunity to visit the zoo. The three schools are Riverlea Primary School, Wilhelmina Hoskins Primary School, and TC Esterhuysen Primary School.

The entire excursion consisted of six buses, free entry for 120 learners per trip, three teachers, and five volunteers. The founder of R.E.A.C.H, Masha van Wyk said, “This opportunity has never been afforded to our impoverished community, however, we were faced with some challenges in providing a nutritional lunch box for the learners.”

Fear strikes as the learners go into the reptile enclosures.

According to Van Wyk, sponsorship requests were sent on April, 25 to Mayor Herman Mashaba with a follow-up request on May 28. Another request was sent to councillor Basil Douglas, one to Louis Kleynhans (DRD GOLD) with a follow-up request on May 28 and to the ANC communications manager Donovon Cloete but unfortunately no one came forward with any form of donation.

Fortunately, Warren Wheatley made a donation of R5000 towards the trips and Lisa Daniels and Laura Hibner contributed to the zoo excursion being a success.

“As an NPO, we managed to accommodate two government schools with 120 learners each without assistance from the government or the mining companies in our area. TC Esterhuysen will be having their excursion on June 13. Any donations would be welcome,” said Van Wyk.

Fortunately, Warren Wheatley made a donation of R5000 towards the trips and Lisa Daniels and Laura Hibner contributed to the zoo excursion being a success.

“As an NPO, we managed to accommodate two government schools with 120 learners each without assistance from the government or the mining companies in our area. TC Esterhuysen will be having their excursion on June 13. Any donations would be welcome,” said Van Wyk.

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