SOME 78 disadvantaged Grade 12 pupils at a rural school in KwaZulu-Natal’s Deep South recently received a welcomed boost to their final matric preparations, with Durban-based Al Baraka Bank stepping in to provide a substantial stationery hamper, covering all their examination needs.Sinevuso Secondary School, at Chibini in the Lufafa area outside Ixopo, has been adopted by the bank as its “Project 25” Corporate Social Investment Legacy Project, a project the financial institution launched in June 2014 as a long-term youth empowerment initiative to mark its 25th anniversary in business. The hamper was presented to the Grade 12 pupils at a recent bank-organised matric meal at the school.In commenting, Al Baraka Bank’s Acting Chief Risk Executive Mr Ebrahim Hassan said: “This year’s final matric examinations are almost upon us and pupils are rightly focusing all their attention on their studies in order to be fully prepared for the examinations ahead. “However, exam preparation extends beyond the absorption of knowledge. Pupils must be equipped with all the correct equipment in order to fully execute their examinations.”The bank pledged its assistance to Grade 10 pupils from Sinevuso Secondary School in 2014, providing a revolving three-year support programme designed to provide holistic preparation for post-matric studies or employment. The programme, involving bank personnel, the school principal and a highly experienced former educationist, comprises additional maths and science tuition, life skills and IT training, as well as motivational interventions to boost confidence and develop business values. It also encompasses aptitude testing and career choice discussions, helping students to unpack their aspirations for the future.“A sound education provides the foundation for success in life and it is, therefore, imperative that our especially disadvantaged young people be afforded the benefits of both a proper education and the full and correct set of tools to demonstrate what they have learned. My concern is that many of today’s pupils might well have the knowledge, but lack the correct stationery items to properly commit to paper that knowledge, which could have a significant impact on their Matric results,” said Hassan.