Nkulu’s Eye – My Eco-Journey to Be the Change

Recently, I did something for the first time. I delivered a presentation to the Eco-Schools mini-Conference held in Westville. I discovered that speaking in public is not that difficult when you are talking about something you are passionate about. The presentation was about the environmental work my old school, Shea O’Connor Combined, in Nottingham Road, had done for the past 10 years.

The story began back in 2005 when I was a little person in Grade 4. We started a garden, with help from the Midlands Meander Education Project (MMAEP). The garden was a huge success and before we knew it, we had created gardens all over the school grounds. The gardens were helpful to the school because the vegetables were used by the school kitchen to feed the learners. The Principal was so amazed and motivated by the good job we did in the garden that he started a garden right in front of his office. He turned the flower bed into a vegetable bed, full of spinach and peas!

What motivated us the most was that at the end of the year we would be awarded our Green flag, and receive trophies and certificates in recognition of our hard work. In 2010 we received the prestigious International Green flag. We were very proud and honoured – this was a huge achievement.

We formed an Eco-Committee whose responsibility was to teach other learners how to create gardens, how to take care of the environment and keep it clean and safe. Since becoming part of the Eco-Schools programme my perspective on the environment, and how to take care of it, has changed for the better – I take care of it, and recognise its beauty.

We had the opportunity of going on many fun and educational trips, organised by the MMAEP and the Midlands Conservancies Forum. On one of the trips we went to Hlatikulu to learn about cranes and wetland. Here we met a Crowned Crane named Boston. We fell in love with Boston and our school adopted her and committed to providing food for her. Over the years, our school has done a lot. It has been a long and enjoyable learning journey.

I am now starting on a new journey. I am inspired by other organisations I have met recently, such as DUCT and Singakwenza. I realise that a few people who really care about something can make a big difference in the world. I am going to be the change in my community. I can make a difference too.

Nkululeko Mdladla, is going to be able to “Be the Change” he dreams of. He has been invited to represent SA at the Be the Change (BTC) Conference in India, from 26 to 28 September 2014. This event is hosted and sponsored by Design For Change, the global education reform movement that eduSOIL Education is in partnership with. Nkululeko will re-ceive a $500 travel grant to attend the BTC Conference and the Midlands Conservancies Forum are funding most of the costs of this experience through their Environmental Learning and Leadership Programme which is supported by N3TC. He will be presenting his Eco-Schools story of change at the Conference and his story will be put forward to be included in I CAN Book 2015 publication.

Would you like to play your part in helping this fine young Midlands Man to “Be the Change”? Take this opportunity of doing just that, by joining the fundraising efforts to help him make the most of this, his very first journey beyond South Africa’s borders. To see how, go to http://www.youcaring.com/nkulu

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