The Pato Desk & Chair Project

Sustainable Coffee Bay - School Support Fund
Pato Junior Secondary School – 2004

This project was started in 2004, when Pato Junior Secondary School approached Coffee Shack for help. Their school, which had consisted of a ramshackle bunch of fallen down mud huts, had no funds to re-build the school.

Coffee Shack’s original plan was to raise funds to rebuild the school for them. This however changed when the government stepped in. The Department of Education rebuilt Pato JSS and students and teachers were ecstatic! They then discovered that the rebuilding of the school did not necessarily mean the refitting of the furnishings…and to add to the dilemma, the contractors had used all the old furniture as firewood! So, although now housed in new classrooms, the children were sitting on the floor! The Pato desk and chair project became our main fundraising objective in 2004.

We made the notices for the toilet doors,

Are you sitting comfortably…?
Because the kids at our local schools aren’t –
they have no chairs or desks.

and since then Coffee Shack guests and visitors have been opening their hearts and wallets to this fund.

Early January 2005 saw the first delivery of 52 chairs and 32 tables arriving at Pato JSS. This was followed by another small delivery in March 2005, of 24 chairs and 12 tables. In August and October 2005, Pato JSS received 41 more chairs and 16 tables.

Sustainable Coffee Bay - School Support Fund
Pato Junior Secondary School, after it was rebuilt in 2005.

During 2006, Pato JSS received a delivery of 25 benches and 14 tables in February, 25 benches and 14 tables in May and a further 28 chairs in June. Their school was now furnished, having received a total of 88 tables, 145 chairs and 50 benches.

Pato JSS is in dire need of teaching aids and equipment like a photocopier. We would love to be able to assist with these things, but Pato JSS will first have to get electricity! We assisted Pato JSS with an electricity application in 2006 and we are hoping that they will be sorted with electricity soon!

Sustainable Coffee Bay - School Support Fund
Dave & Belinda from Coffee Shack Backpackers with some Pato students

During 2007, we waited for Pato’s electricity supply to be connected, but it did not happen.

We went to check out the desks and chairs at Coffee Bay JSS, and immediately realised that they needed to be included in our desk and chair project. A school from about 8km away, Madakeni JSS, approached us to assist them with burglar bars for their new computer lab (25 computers) they had donated – we obliged.

Pato JSS was also donated a computer lab with 25 computers during 2008, and the lab required burglar bars. We installed these and then really put some pressure on Eskom to get this school connected. 2008 came to an end and Pato JSS still had no electricity. During 2008, Coffee Bay JSS received 80 chairs and 40 tables from the Desk and Chair Fund.eptember 2009 saw electrical poles being erected at Pato JSS, but still no electricity. We spoke to the Pato Principal, Thuliswa, and she said she will definitely let us know as soon as they are able to switch on a plug and have electricity. It’s 3 years since the electrical application first went in, and after much patience, this school will hopefully, eventually has something which most of us take for granted everyday – electricity!

The desk and chair project lives on, as all the rural schools need furniture. So if you would like to donate towards this fund, please contact us.

A desk and chair should be a student’s right, not a privilege!

The story of the School Furniture & Support Fund
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One thought on “The story of the School Furniture & Support Fund

  • 22nd December 2011 at 5:22 pm

    Hi Dawn,

    I enjoyed your website, have a better idea of whats up in Coffee bay,great job.

    I checked around my flat and came up with a few pens already : )



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