Liz Mackintosh: “To be able to open eyes, hearts and minds and to offer a life-changing experience gives me pleasure and fulfilment. And we all have such fun in the process!”
Liz has lived in White River for nearly 30 years. Her children both attended Uplands from Grade 1 to Grade 12. Cathy, an audiologist and speech therapist, and her family live in Nelspruit, and Craig is a full-time artist and lives in Cape Town. Liz is a horse and animal lover, adores being a granny and enjoys writing, reading and walking.
Her business is called The African Schoolroom and she has a number of clients (universities, teaching training colleges and high schools from all over the world) of whom Round Square is one.
The African Schoolroom grew out of 30 years of working as a fundraiser and project coordinator at EcoLink and Uplands Outreach, and relies on extensive networking and relationship building. Liz’s job involves the placement of teachers or student teachers who need practical training towards a qualification, or who are on a sabbatical or gap year and want to experience a different culture and education system. Most people prefer to work in a disadvantaged environment because they can make a more meaningful contribution, and they are usually hosted by families in the township where they are working.
Liz is continually amazed by how loving and caring these host families are. Long term friendships and family bonds are forged, overseas trips are organised and fundraising efforts are initiated. Minds and horizons, on both sides of the equator, are broadened. “It makes me proud to be part of this White River community of ours and gives me such hope for the future,” she remarks.
She also organises school and university tours with a community service focus – they visit, interact with or help out at orphanages, care centres, schools and clinics. They plant vegetable gardens, paint murals on walls, erect playground equipment, accompany home based care workers on their township rounds, build kitchens, houses, libraries and classrooms. And then, of course, there are all the sights, activities and adventures right here on our doorstep in Mpumalanga, so the visitors get a taste of Lowveld fun to take home with them.
Liz is currently chairman of the Service Projects committee of the Rotary Club of White River, and says her motivation is “service” and to “make a difference”.
Sounds pretty stellar to us, and a well-deserved White River Star is awarded to this hard working lady.