Earlier this week we said goodbye to Berlinda Donker, with a surprise farewell party in the Ukhanyo School Science Lab. Berlinda has worked with Masicorp for the past three years as the assistant to Fran Loudon on the Science Lab project, and has proven to be an invaluable asset. As the three year funding program comes to an end Berlinda is moving on to pastures new, and also moving away from Masiphumelele with work taking her to Johannesburg.
It was a joyous but also sad occasion as many of the schools teaching and administrative staff were joined by the Masicorp team to wish her well. There were the occasional tears, but mostly a lot of singing and dancing, and more than anything a lot of thanks. Berlinda’s role has been crucial to the project as she has provided the link between the community and the Masicorp volunteer team. Her role has involved managing the schedule and inventory of the project, including maintaining the lab and its resources. Many times she has come to the aid of Fran and the teachers as they handle classes of up to 50 children at a time.
Berlinda has provided Xhosa translation for the project but also computer skills as well, as her background in public administration has enabled her to upskill the schools staff. It has not been unusual to see her helping out with downloads and running computer software anywhere from the front desk of the school to the principal’s office. She has also found the time to complete a degree in public administration at the same time, through part time study with UNISA.
Amongst all the singing and joy at the party Berlinda found time to thank everyone with a song of her own. You could hear a pin drop in the room as she treated everyone to a beautiful piece of gospel singing. Anyone who knows Berlinda would not have been surprised to hear this because amongst her many skills she is also an experienced musician. Before joining Masicorp she was a top 10 finalist on “I want to sing Gospel” – a reality TV show shown nationally on SABC. She later returned to the series as a guest judge. Here song “He Lifted Me Up” is still available for download HERE.
We wish Berlinda all the best in the future and cannot thank her enough for everything that she has done for the project.