Rare treat for underprivileged pupils

2007-11-28 00:00

Ndlovu said that many of the pupils depend on the school’s government nutrition programme and as a result, are able to eat at least one meal a day.

“We try and make sure that it is a wholesome meal because as a parent yourself, how do you teach a child on an empty stomach. Many come to school looking so unhealthy and so sickly...so we wanted to find a way to let them know that we love them and care for them. Their world might be difficult, but this is one day they get to forget everything.”

And forget, they did. For the whole day yesterday, thrilling sound of merriment echoed across the school as the children danced, sang and entertained their guests with plays on HIV/AIDS awareness and poetry recitations learnt throughout the year.

Zodwa Mkhize, the foundational education head of department and one the event’s organisers, said the day was particularly special for the children since many of them don’t live to make it through the next year.

“You come back from school holidays and find out this one didn’t make it and that one died. It is really sad, we as their other mothers needed to do something for them just to let them know that they do count and they are important,” said Mkhize.

Stuart Knight, chairperson of the Townhill Community Police Forum (CPF), said they decided to get on board when they became aware of the dire conditions many of the children in KwaMpumuza live under.

“There are 40 such schools here in Pietermaritzburg and this is one of the badly affected... I mean these children have one meal a day. There is no library, no sport fields, all that is a luxury. Out of the whole school they only have one tap and the condition of the kitchen where their meals are cooked just breaks my heart. That is the first place I would like to see improved,” said Knight.

Knight said he doesn’t want to look at their involvement as just a project, but wants for it to be an ongoing and sustainable development for the betterment of the school.

He warned the children not to resort to criminal activities since it holds no future and only leads to a dead-end.

CPF donated money together with Ninham Shand, an engineering company and the day’s biggest donors who contributed towards the goody bags and eateries the children received.

The Department of Health, who were the other sponsors, donated toothpastes, toothbrushes, face clothes and bath soaps for the children and highlighted the importance of hygiene and self-love.

Zodwa Xaba who has a grade 1 and grade 7 children at the school said she was very happy the day turned out as beautiful as it did.

“My children have been looking forwards to this day for a long time and you know, as a single parent my heart becomes very sore when I know it is the Christmas season but I can’t do anything for my children. This just shows me the teachers support and genuine concern for our children. Our children are really in good hands,” said Mkhize.

sphumem@witness.co.za

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