Helping kids ‘to be kids’

2016-01-19 06:00
Yusuf Abraham (11) Started Grade 4 on Wednesday. He is one of 150 children from Tafelsig and Khayelitsha who stepped out in new uniforms sponsored by the Islamic Relief. PHOTO: Saamntha Lee

Yusuf Abraham (11) Started Grade 4 on Wednesday. He is one of 150 children from Tafelsig and Khayelitsha who stepped out in new uniforms sponsored by the Islamic Relief. PHOTO: Saamntha Lee

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It will be an easier year for almost 150 children in Tafelsig following a school-preparedness donation by a local NGO.

Islamic Relief South Africa handed out hundreds of pairs of school shoes, uniforms and other supplies to children in Tafelsig and Khayelitsha on Tuesday last week.

The organisation has regularly supplied children in the area with academic, sometimes financial and emotional support for nine years. Shanaaz Ebrahim, spokesperson of the organisation, says they have been working with most of the children since they started school.

“Some of the children have been with us since we started and some of them are the siblings of children who were on our programme,” she says.

The children are either orphans, from child-headed households or living with guardians or grandparents. They are aged between six and 18 years and attend schools all over the Mitchell’s Plain area.

Ebrahim says the organisation decided on uniforms because it relieved a financial burden.

“We found that some households are so financially insecure that books and uniforms were the last thing that would be bought. We wanted to ensure the children go back to school in uniforms and be kids and enjoy school,” she says.

“We tried to include two sets of everything where we could, just to make it even easier,” says Ebrahim.

The organisation also runs a winter drive to provide the children with winter uniforms. Some uniforms include blazers, rain jackets and other school apparel where applicable.

While the handover of uniforms and school shoes happened last week, backpacks with books and other educational materials had already been distributed.

Visit kids at homeIslamic Relief has fieldworkers from the community who visit each child throughout the year.

“The workers visit the children and see what their needs are in the home and we see where we can assist,” Ebrahim says.

The programme has been running since 2007.

Ebrahim says the organisation was in contact with schools to meet the needs of each child.

The organisation is also appealing to residents with good secondhand clothing or who would like to donate, to do so.

“Sometimes we get walk-ins who are not on the programme and we would like to help them where we can. This is where donations are critical,” says Ebrahim.

V Anyone who would like to donate to the cause can do so by calling the Islamic Relief offices on 021 696 0145 or by dropping donations off at the organisation’s Lansdowne offices at 396 Imam Haron Road.

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