Many schools in South Africa struggle with the understaffing of educators. With a lack of teachers, those who can teach are under severe pressure to perform and provide children with the attention they sorely need.

Ronwe Primary School is no exception. Even though Veronica Whatney is the principal, she teaches daily. Nonetheless, she and her team strive to broaden children’s horizons with high-quality tuition. Whatever the situation, Veronica always works to be successful in helping children and leading by example.

“I believe my life’s calling is to help children and guide them to understand that what they put in to be successful, life will give back twofold. I believe that it is important to teach my schoolchildren that circumstances must never keep them back. They can overcome any challenge that crosses their path.”

Veronica’s love of helping stems from her fondest memories, those spent with her mother, who never had the opportunity to attend school. “I had so much fun spending time with my mom, teaching her to read and write.”

Despite coming from hardship, her mother made sure that Veronica, the only one of her siblings to attend college, could go to the best ballet school in Paarl. Now, many years later, Veronica has become a pillar in the community, leading young minds to a better tomorrow.

South Africans must understand the challenges schools face. Only then can we work together to improve the future and move to a place of harmony.

“Providing children with a better education is one of the most pressing concerns in South Africa. The lack of teachers puts a strain on the entire educational system. As a principal, teaching a full class from 8 am to 2:20 pm and doing admin is incredibly challenging. When I’m tied up in class, it’s difficult to deal with serious problems that need my undivided attention.

Fortunately, my secretary and the Foundation Phase HOD help me where they can. Whatever happens, I try to stay positive every day my Heavenly Father gives me.”

We need to stay in touch with God to move away from disharmony. If we obey His word and give praise to Him, we can have a different future. In daily life, respect every individual and let everyone know and feel that they are important, that they matter. We can improve step-by-step.

In our school, we accommodate all children and respect each one’s culture and religious views. Every child must know that his or her input matters. Students must know that they have the ability to reach their life goal. Never should their circumstance stand in the way of their success.”

Having hope is crucial to everyday life and staying positive is the key to success.

“When I struggle with not having enough teachers at Ronwe, it’s hard not to feel discouraged. But that’s when I need to remind myself that I am responsible for all these children, to help them to stay positive. In the past two years, our students have excelled in sport and their academics, which tells me that we, my staff and I, are doing something right in the lives of these children.

Have hope. Don’t look at the things that you don’t have. Look at the things that you have and remember what it took to get to where you are now. We only have to look back and say ‘WOW!’. Even I didn’t expect to achieve what I have in the past two years. Yet, I made it and we’re still moving forward. Always have hope.”

Find out more about Ronwe Primary School or get in touch via their Facebook page here: