Classic Trail Festival
Embargo : None
Written by : Dave Macleod
Karkloof riders rally to support local school
Karkloof – With another big field entered for the 25th anniversary of
the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival this weekend, riders and trail
runners are being asked to throw their weight behind a local primary
school's drive to improve the education of youngsters in the area.
The Hawkstone Primary School, which is seven kilometres from the race
headquarters at the Karkloof Country Club, runs an Early Childhood
Development (ECD) class aimed at helping young local children get a
better head start with their schooling.
Local resident Mary Gray started the project in January this year with
the support of local landowner Bruce McKenzie. It is run on a daily
basis by teacher Londiwe Dladla, catering for nine boys and girls
ranging from three to six years of age, with another twelve grade R
pupils visiting the school twice a week.
The school's ECD programme has been supported by the race in the past,
and this year the race is appealing to mountain bikers and trail runners
coming to enjoy the Karkloof trails to get directly involved in
supporting the school by donating specific items that will be useful on
a daily basis.
These include educational toys, building blocks, puzzles and any sorting
games, as well as basic classroom needs like carpets, a full length wall
mirror, preschool desks and any English story books relevant to
Gray said she was also looking for a number of the plastic ride-on kids
bikes for their playground, and said she hoped this would strike a chord
with the mountain bikers.
The race is also aiming to raise money to enable Dladla, who also went
to Hawkstone Primary School, to receive further ECR training at the
Caversham Educational Institute to allow her to get a qualifications
aligned with the National Qualification Framework.
"Supporting the greater Karkloof community has always been an important
priority for us," said Sappi's Communications Manager for Forests, Zelda
"This event attracts a lot of tourism business to the region over this
weekend, but it is very important to leave a lasting legacy of this
event on the Karkloof community.
"Early Childhood Development (ECD) is extremely important, as it occurs
at a phase of a child’s life where important physical, psychological,
cognitive and social development should be taking place.
"A child who attends an ECD class has a significantly higher chance of
doing well at primary and high school, and ultimately of reaching their
full potential, and is the prime reason why we have opted to support ECD
here, and in several other communities adjacent to our operations,” she
"It's a key step in reducing social inequality, which assists in poverty
relief and assists in economic upliftment of communities.
"Enhancing the future prospects of the young boys and girls that live in
the area will contribute to their own future prospects and their
potential to contribute to this country in the future.
"I hope this appeal resonates with the riders and trail runners," she
added. "donating any relevant items that can be used in the ECD classes
will be hugely appreciated, and there is always the option of making a
The project sits neatly alongside the Sappi Forests/TREE Early Childhood
Development (ECD) programme that has been running since 2014, based on a
growing body of international evidence which shows that language and
cognitive development are especially important during the first six
months to three years of life and that the more stimulating the early
environment, the more a child develops and learns.
In KwaZulu-Natal Sappi has partnered with local NPO Training and
Resources in Early Education (TREE) to train 23 women across
KwaZulu-Natal as ECD practitioners. These candidates were selected from
communities adjacent to Sappi Forests’ plantations.
"They have now completed their three year training course and have
graduated with NQF Level 4 Accreditation as fully-fledged and qualified
ECD practitioners," said Schwalbach.
"In 2016, Sappi expanded the programme to train a further 36 trainees
which consisted of 18 crèche workers and 18 workers that were in charge
of informal playgroups; also from forests communities," she added.
The 2018 Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival takes place at the
Karkloof Country Club on Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 May 2018. More info
can be found at
Click to download the hi-res
Logo - GIF
Avid enduro rider Kath Fourie
(left) gets into the mood of the Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival
with Hawkstone pre-Primary pupil Elihle and his Early Childhood
Development teacher Londiwe Dladla. Riderss and trail runners taking
part in this weekend's events are being asked to support the school by
bring relevant learning aids to the race this weekend or to make a cash
Pupils from the Hawkstone
School's Early Childhood Development programme showing off what sort of
goods they are looking forward to being donated by participants in this
weekend's Sappi Karkloof Classic Trail Festival. Riders and trail
runners taking part in this weekend's races are being asked to support
the school's Early Childhood Development programme by bring relevant
learning aids to the race this weekend or to make a cash donation.
ECD teacher Londiwe Dladla
with youngsters that attend the Early Childhood Development class.
Riders and trail runners taking part in this weekend's Sappi Karkloof Classic
Trail Festival are being asked to support the Hawkstone Primary School's
Early Childhood Development programme by bring relevant learning aids to
the race this weekend or to make a cash donation.
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