Food for thought at MUT

2010-05-10 00:00

THREE students from Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) have formed an anti-hunger campaign to provide meals for needy tertiary students, who sometimes turn to crime and prostitution to earn money for food.

Anti-Hunger is the brainchild of Thabi Ngcobo, a second-year student in public management at MUT.

She began by giving five of her classmates food parcels. Now the concept has grown into an initiative that has the potential to benefit thousands of students at South African universities.

“I noticed that some students, who maybe have financial aid, would end up stopping their stu­dies because they had no food. If children are fed by the government at primary and high school level, when they get to universities, what are they supposed to do?” Ngcobo said.

She attributed theft, prostitution, unwanted pregnancies and other petty crimes, which often lead to serious crime and poor performance at universities, to students who are trying to fend for themselves.

Ngcobo has since enlisted the assistance of two of her classmates, Ntuthuko Shezi and Thandazile Xathe.

They also believe that addressing hunger among students will have a positive impact on the rate of HIV/Aids.

“We felt it was important not to sit and do nothing, which is why we came up with this idea. We have to try to meet the government halfway,” Xathe said.

The students have been able to secure sponsorship from the province’s first lady, May Mkhize, who has offered to assist with food parcels.

They also said they have received a welcome reception from the government departments they have approached for financial assis­tance.

The project will be launched on Friday and students in need will receive at least one full meal and fruit. Ngcobo said the cooking will be done by the students themselves, but won’t affect their studies since they are afternoon students and plan to rotate the cooking duties.

They have made it clear that the project is not affiliated to any political party, although they have called on all political parties that claim to have education, fighting poverty and HIV/Aids as their top priorities, to prove themselves.

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