New kitchen and better playing fields for struggling primary school

2012-08-31 00:00

THE vision of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) president, Cedric Gina, coupled with the generosity of Bell Equipment, has changed the lives of hundreds of pupils at Sigisi Primary School in Ngwelezane, outside Empangeni.

This week the school became the new owner of level playing fields and a spacious kitchen costing R350 000 from which the school can run the Department of Education’s National School Nutritional Programme.

Bell Equipment Group chief executive, Gary Bell, called the area “important to us because many of our employees come from this region”.

“This is our way of putting back into the area and we hope that this kitchen will encourage children to go to school and learn. We have assisted numerous schools with various projects over the past 15 years and we hope that we will be able to provide employment and opportunities to many of these children once they have completed their education.”

School principal Mandlakhe Khoza said previously the feeding programme was “very difficult and time consuming” because food was prepared several kilometres from the school. He thanked Bell and Gcina for the intervention.

The speaker of the uMhlathuze Municipality, Mvuseni Mnqayi, commended Bell for their commitment towards creating sustainable development in South Africa.

Sigisi Primary School has 371 pupils, of which 255 receive government grants and 245 are classified as “vulnerable”, and the school struggles financially.

Gina, who hails from the area and also attended the school, chose to spend his 67 minutes on Mandela Day in 2011 undertaking community service at the school. After identifying the infrastructural needs at the school, he approached Bell Equipment and they agreed to build the kitchen and undertake contouring and levelling of the playground so that the school could access funding to complete netball and tennis courts.

All the construction was undertaken by resident BBBEE businesses.

— WR.

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