Kassia watched with wide, hazelnut eyes as the transformation took place at her preschool in the undeveloped, rural Vhembe district of northern South Africa. For her first two years in the preschool, Kassia did little more than sleep on a thin foam mat from morning to lunch when she was given a small bowl of mieliepap (maize porridge) to eat only to go back to sleep until it was time to go home. She rarely played or interacted with the other children or teachers and simply spent most of the day in a trance like state.
But then, everything changed when two women with a captivating enthusiasm for teaching started coming for a visit every month in the orange and white Mercy Air airplane. Kassia watched as these women, Kathy and Margie from Love Trust, talked to her teachers for hours, and slowly things started to change. Ms. Irene, Kassia’s teacher began arranging activities for her and the other kids, first simply playing with blocks to practice coordination, and then painting and drawing to learn shapes and colors, and then even more lessons to learn letters, numbers, and counting. Soon Kassia’s eyes were opened to an exhilarating new world of learning.
At five years old, this is Kassia’s last year at her preschool, but she is excited to join the bigger kids in the primary school, and the concepts she is learning now will be the building blocks for her success in the future! Kassia and the 600 other pre-schoolers in her district are thankful to Mercy Air for bringing Kathy and Margie to their schools each month and for the impact they have had on their young learning.