Children from Masiphumelele and Mitchells Plain went to school with smiles after being kitted out with new uniforms and stationery.

 

On Wednesday more than a million children returned to Western Cape schools for the 2016 year.

On Tuesday, 67 children in Masiphumelele were given uniforms, school bags, stationery and food hampers by four SACS pupils, who raised money to assist the children.

Late last year, a massive fire swept through the informal settlement, leaving 4 500 people, many of them children, homeless.

SACS pupils Ben Defty, Matthew Begg, Todd Sundstrom and Nick Clemo did not do anything on Mandela Day last year and instead started raising funds for a worthy cause.

They raised R44 000 between September and December. The money was raised via a Facebook page they set up.

When they heard about the violence and the fires in Masiphumelele, they decided to help the children.

Matthew said he was deeply moved by the plight of children in Masiphumelele. The gifts were met with excitement at the Masiphumelele Baptist Church.

“So often we take something as simple as a pair of school shoes and a school bag for granted, but these things also give us a sense of dignity, self-pride and a confidence to work hard,” he said.

“It is touching to see the smiles we brought to these kids. It means a lot to us. This initiative took us out of the comfort zone and made us go to places we have not been (able to go) before.”

The children and their parents thanked the four for their donation.

Siphokazi Sizani, mother to Siwaphiwe, 7, said: “We are grateful and words cannot describe how happy we are.”

The four worked with the Living Hope Foundation to identify the children who needed the most help. Its co-ordinator, Avril Thomas, said the children all attend Ukhanyo Primary School.

In Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain, Islamic Relief SA distributed school uniforms and supplies to children as part of its back-to-school campaign, aimed at ensuring that orphaned and vulnerable children were ready for the new school year.

The children were treated to different sports, including soccer, table tennis and indigenous games. Music was played and there were motivational speakers.

Islamic Relief SA spokesperson Shanaaz Ebrahim said the initiative formed part of the NGO’s overarching strategy of providing the benefiting children with access to quality education, and to shed a spotlight on the many challenges faced by children who pursue their basic schooling because of extreme poverty.

Parent Samantha Attwood said she was appreciative of the goodies.

“January is a difficult time and this came at the right time.”

sandiso.phaliso@inl.co.za

@PhalisoSandiso

Cape Times

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