HomeAgri NewsEston Outreach: How farmers bring art to rural schools

Eston Outreach: How farmers bring art to rural schools

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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

A group of farming families from Eston, KwaZulu-Natal, have launched an innovative programme called Eston Outreach to bring the joy of arts education to four local schools in the Mkhambathini district. The programme teaches primary school pupils the value of art and recycling by using waste items to create various artworks.

Eston Outreach was founded in 2020 by the Beaumont Eston Farmers Association (BEFA) with the aim of uplifting the lives of children in the greater Eston area and cleaning up the community. The programme now has 25 volunteers from the local farming community who work with Hope Valley Primary School, Fairleigh Primary School, Thorner Primary School and Cosmoore Primary School.

Wynne Smith from Evangrass and co-founder of Eston Outreach says: “For many of these children, this was the first time they have ever participated in an art class, as art does not form part of the national school curriculum. We understand the value of arts education in fostering imagination, critical thinking, and emotional expression among young minds and want to provide these children with these vital life skills while teaching them to use everyday waste items used in their homes.”

Read more about education and training in the agricultural sector.

Communities take hands

Eston Outreach collaborates with Illovo Sugar Mill, which donates extra art supplies needed for each project. The pupils are also encouraged to collect the waste items needed for each project, which is an opportunity for education. Local businesses have joined in, assisting in additional activities such as school shoe donations and funding to add some colour to these schools with murals.

Eston Outreach has also implemented a weekly recycling collection initiative together with the Mkhambathini Municipality.

The programme not only introduces these children to various art forms but also imparts life skills, such as teamwork, communication and self-confidence.

Robyn Armstrong, co-founder of Eston Outreach, says: “We like to recognise when children go that extra mile, like helping unpack the materials, assisting a friend, persevering and completing a difficult project, and saying please and thank you. Learning these skills will make them stand out in their future and we reward them with something special for this behaviour when they least expect it.”

The KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union, Kwanalu, applauds the efforts of producers in nurturing their community.

“Producers have a unique role to play in nurturing the growth of our communities – their commitment to the land extends to their commitment to the people who live and thrive on it. These art classes are an embodiment of that commitment – sowing seeds of creativity and fostering a sense of belonging. We look forward to seeing this programme grow and encourage local agricultural businesses and others to get involved. It warms our hearts to see farming communities uniting to create a positive environment for all those who depend on the industry,” says Kwanalu CEO, Sandy La Marque.

In celebration of the growth of the project and pupils, the artworks will be on display at the upcoming 69th Eston Agricultural Show on 26 and 27 August at the Beaumont Eston Club. For more information on Eston Outreach, follow them on Facebook and Instagram. – Press release, Kwanalu

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