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Mr Edward Carelse, head teacher at Sir Lowry's Pass primary school explains why Riding for Africa is so beneficial to his learners:

Our school is in a village which is situated about an hour east of Cape Town. Until quite recently, this was a quiet, rural area but after the primary school was built in 1987, more and more people migrated from all over the Western and Eastern Cape of South Africa to the village. Many built their homes on former forest land and informal settlement grew and grew, and with it the number of children attending the primary school. From 400 learners 23 years ago, over 900 now enroll each year. Of these, 80% live in the informal settlements called Sun City and Rasta Camp, where living conditions are very cramped and poor.
Due to the high unemployment rate in the village, poverty has worsened. At our school we have a feeding scheme run by parents through which two cooked meals per day are provided for 400 learners.
The government has provided some RDP (Reconstruction and Development Programme) houses, but many families still live in 'informal houses' or shacks.
Even the RDP houses are very small, consisting of one room and a toilet. Most households have five or more members. And as the population continues to grow, more shacks are being built.
All sorts of social problems arise from informal settlements; poverty, crime, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, and rape of minor girls. Family violence occurs frequently. Many learners find it hard to concentrate at school, and there is a lot of children who have learning difficulties.
In the informal settlements there are a lot of shabeens (unlicensed outlets for alcohol, which are often an outlet for drugs too). The local churches, soup kitchens, and child welfare programmes, together with the community, run school holiday programmes to keep our children off the streets and out of shabeens. This is also done to improve the standard of living in the community.

When Dinja Van Woerden, a dutch horse riding trainer who lives locally, contacted the school, we realised that she wanted to make a difference for our children. She is currently teaching horse riding and care skills to eight learners from the school. At least once a week for a couple of hours these children feel safe and loved, and are learning something new and different. They enjoy it and look forward to being with Dinja and the horses every week.
We appreciate that Dinja gives her time free of charge. She really cares, and she is making a real difference to the lives of these children.
She once visited each of the children at home to see how they live, and she said afterwards that her heart really went out to these youngsters. 
I hope that Dinja will be able to continue in what she is doing with our children for many years to come. Helping these children improves their self esteem and teaches them worthwhile skills.

Edward Carelse
Teacher at Sir Lowry’s Pass Primary School