Changing the lives of learners in need

2016-04-19 06:00
Sinako Velo, centre, celebrates getting his starter pack from Matthew Begg, Ben Defty, Nicholas Clemo and Todd Sundstrom as part of their 67 Kids to School project.

Sinako Velo, centre, celebrates getting his starter pack from Matthew Begg, Ben Defty, Nicholas Clemo and Todd Sundstrom as part of their 67 Kids to School project.

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The memory of Nelson Mandela’s dedication to using education as a tool for change is the motivation for some learners at the South African College School (SACS) making sure that some needy children have the basics for school.

“Education is the most powerful weapon that you can use to change the world.”

These are the words from Nelson Mandela that inspired Grade 12 learners Matthew Begg, Ben Defty, Nicholas Clemo, and Todd Sundstrom, from the school in Rondebosch, to make a difference in the lives of learners in need.

Last year they started the project, 67 Kids to School, that aimed to sponsor 67 children with a school starter pack that contained a school bag, school shoes, socks and stationery.

Speaking on behalf of the group Matthew Begg said that they chose the number 67 for each of the 67 years that Nelson Mandela served this country. “We sought sponsors, donations and support to reach our goal of R12 500, which would enable us to assemble 67 school starter packs and luckily , for 67 donations came pouring in and completely exceeded our expectations after we sent out the initial appeal in September last year, via our Facebook page.

“Due to the overwhelming support received, raising R36 000 in cash and a further R8 000 donations in kind, we made the decision to expand the pack we would be providing to each of the 67 children to include a backpack, book bag, an uniform that included a shirt, pants or tunic, shoes and a pair of socks. We also gave them a 1kg bag of maize meal and a full stationery kit.”

Matthew added that there was also a bonus when they supplied Ukhanyo Primary School with 10 soccer balls to aid the children in their extra-mural activities.

“We partnered with an amazing organisation called Living Hope that works closely with the Masiphumelele community and helped us identify the 67 needy children and size of each of them for uniforms,” he continued. “We’re immensely grateful for their assistance without which we would not have been able to complete the project and give 67 kids confidence in starting their formal schooling years.”

The final handover took place on Tuesday 12 January at the Masiphumelele Baptist Church. “We felt proud that we had been able to make such a difference to the lives of these children and how much these basic necessities that we often take for granted meant to them,” said Matthew.

“Particularly moving for us was one of the little boys, Sinako Velo, 6, whose family’s home was burnt down in the November fires, expressing his desire to be a fire-fighter when he grows up.”

While this project saw them getting the LeadSA Youth Heroes Award for March they are not resting on their laurels after realising how many are in need of such a start for their education.

V Schools who are interested in starting a group can call Matthew on 082 754 9770 or email

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