Established in March 2010, Creating Schools Trust (formally Oprah’s Angel Network) is a non-governmental organisation that focuses on developing new models for building schools. Their aim is to create quality educational institutions that are also vibrant hubs servicing the surrounding communities. To date the Trust has been involved in the construction of two such schools, Seven Fountains Primary School and Vele Secondary School.
Buckland was commissioned to photograph both projects.
Vele Secondary School is a rural school located in the remote mountainous region of the Vhembe District in Limpopo Province. It was built on a standard government school budget.
Collaboration with innovative architects, passionate educators and the local community has resulted in buildings that are energy efficient and economical to operate, while providing functional and enjoyable spaces for children to learn in – something that is often overlooked in the design of school buildings. This approach has helped to foster an environmental awareness in learners who have gained skills and knowledge in areas such as food farming, and the economical use and recycling of scarce resources, which they will carry with them beyond the school’s borders, into their communities. The use of local resources, mainly stone and masonry construction, reduces the carbon footprint and invests in local economies.
This project has received recognition both locally and abroad. It was the first runner-up in 2014’s Greenest School on Earth Award presented by the US Green Building Council. And remarkably, there has been an improvement of the matric pass from 38% in 2009 to 93% in 2014.
Buckland documented the old existing school, followed by the building process of the new school, staff and learner portraiture and the social landscape over a 3 year period. A number of selected images are exhibited throughout the new school building.