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JNF makes mark on conservation in Mamelodi

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Students and staff at the Jewish National Fund (JNF) Walter Sisulu Environmental Centre in Mamelodi played host to two special guests last week: the Israeli Ambassador to South Africa, Eli Belotsercovsky, and his wife, Elena Esteban Oleaga.

During their tour of the centre, the Belotsercovskys planted a spekboom tree, were entertained by students, and congratulated the JNF on its impact on the community of Mamelodi.

Opened by Ma Albertina Sisulu on 14 September 2004, the JNF Walter Sisulu Environmental Centre is committed to creating a culture of conservation in Mamelodi and southern Tshwane by being a model of best practice and through environmental education programmes that inspire communities to take appropriate action.

Every year, more than 10 000 underprivileged pupils from about 40 schools in Mamelodi are given the opportunity to learn about natural science and the importance of the environment through the classes they attend at the centre. The centre is also responsible for growing and planting its own trees – more than 30 000 in Mamelodi as part of a regular Arbour Month Greening Programme. And in 2021, it was designated a Science Centre, one of only 11 in the country and the only one situated in a township. Plans are now afoot for it to partner with a science and environmental training centre in Israel.

JNF chairperson Michael Kransdorff said, “JNF SA, which is committed to partnering with the Israeli embassy, is engaging with municipalities and organisations nationally to introduce them to Israeli technology and help them solve water quality issues. This is particularly apposite during Human Rights month, as our Constitution identifies as a basic human right access to clean drinking water.”

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