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Agriculture

Students thrive at Bloemfontein school offering Agri programme

───   ROBYN SCHUTTE 05:00 Mon, 10 Jun 2024

Students thrive at Bloemfontein school offering Agri programme  | News Article
Mr Walter Kotze, Oratilwe Lerumo and Mr Kallie Viljoen, Principle of Dr Böhmer School

“Oratilwe’s journey is a testament to the unique and nurturing environment.”

Dr Böhmer School of Skills is not just any school; it is a sanctuary where children with special educational needs receive the support and opportunities they need to thrive. The school's emphasis on skills development, hands-on learning, and fostering a safe and supportive environment has profoundly impacted its students.

One of those students, 17-year-old Oratilwe Lerumo, has become a shining example of passion and dedication in the school's agricultural programme. As a proud learner of this institution, Oratilwe’s journey is a testament to the unique and nurturing environment provided by Dr Böhmer School of Skills, a school renowned for its commitment to special educational needs since 1957.

Walking through the school’s chicken coop, Oratilwe, affectionately known as “Tall”, proudly states, “Doctor B is a special place. I’m not just saying that because I’m a student here, look at what we get to work with.”

From planting vegetables to caring for chickens, the agri programme is designed to teach essential skills while also promoting teamwork and community involvement. “In agriculture, we learn to plant vegetables and care for our chickens. We are not just learning about that, we are also learning about teamwork.”

He attributes much of his growth and passion for agriculture to the guidance of his teacher and mentor, Walter Kotze. Described as a pivotal figure in his educational journey, Mr Kotze has encouraged Oratilwe to work hard, stay positive, and remain curious about the world of agriculture.

Oratilwe’s aspirations in agriculture are driven by a desire to make a meaningful impact on his community. His dream is to use his skills to help develop sustainable gardening and farming practices, promoting food security and environmental health. Additionally, he aims to help children with special needs – much like his fellow learners at Dr Böhmer Vaardigheidskool – to develop their independence and thrive as individuals.

Expressing heartfelt gratitude, Oratilwe acknowledges the support of sponsors like Nutri Feeds, whose contributions have significantly enhanced the learning experience at the school. Photo supplied

When asked about his favourite part of the agricultural programme, Oratilwe enthusiastically shares his love for working outside, particularly in the chicken coop. His dream is to one day own a farm where he can raise chickens, vegetables, cows, and sheep, he says with a smile.

The agricultural programme has imparted valuable life lessons to Oratilwe, teaching him the importance of hard work, positivity, and simplicity. These lessons made him a calmer and more focused learner and prepared him to face challenges with a constructive mindset.

“The biggest agricultural lesson I’ve learned is to be more positive about the work, work hard, and not overthink things. Just go with the simple things.”

Oratilwe’s journey at the school is a powerful reminder of the impact that dedicated educators, supportive environments, and comprehensive programmes can have on the youth of our country. His story is one of growth, passion, and the pursuit of dreams, underscoring the transformative power of education and mentorship in shaping future leaders.

OFM/Agriculture cg

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