The non-government organisation (NGO), Muslim Hands in Athlone extended their stationery drive to the West Coast. Since its inception in 2014, the organisation has assisted over 3 000 needy children with stationery all over South Africa.“We assist the learners with their stationery requirements at the start of a new school year. “We visited the farm school Holvlei Primary School in Hopefield, Jurie Hayes Primary School and the Louwville High School in Vredenburg,” says Aisha Adam, spokesperson for the NGO.She says 70 children from neighbouring informal settlements attend the farm school and due to limited resources, the school accommodates up to three grades in one classroom. The stationery pack to the value of R200 contains a pack of hardcover books, a pack of softcover books, pencils, eraser, ruler, crayons, colouring pencils, two glue sticks and two packs of covering sheets. According to Adam, their team conducts an assessment and rolls out projects to meet the needs of the people. “Children from schools in the Boland are from rural, impoverished areas. Due to the long distance, they are mostly excluded from sponsorship schemes and do not have the luxury of having many NGOs going out to assist them compared to schools in Cape Town,” she says.Various schools in and around the Cape Flats have received stationery and assistance from them in the past years.“Due to the unavailability of resources to cater for the children in individual classrooms, we have to put them all in one classroom. “We divide the grades such that Grades 1, 2 and 3 are placed in one classroom while Grades 4, 5 and 6 are place in a different classroom. We have one teacher that teaches the lower grades, and I teach the higher grades. It is a lot of pressure as we have to cover all three curriculums of the grades we oversee,” says Colin Witbooi, principal at Holvlei.He says the stationery packs have been a big help; easing financial strain on families. Speaking at the handover at Jurie Hayes, programmes manager for the NGO Sheikh Haashim Peck says: “Muslim Hands decided to assist in the West Coast as many times, businesses and organisations, do not come out here due to the travelling distance. We hope to see progress and hope we have made an impact for other learners.”Jurie Hayes principal Donny Jacobs says most of the learners come from informal settlements and disadvantaged areas of Vredenburg, and travel by bus daily. “Most of the children come from homes of single parents, and the mothers don’t work, so it puts them in a very tight position where they can’t afford basic things like stationery. “The stationery packs will bring a huge relief and will prevent a confrontation between parents and teachers who don’t have the required stationery.”Seven boxes of shoes were handed over at the sports day of Louwville High and an additional 70 packs at the Hopefield Mosque. Sheikh Refaat Carolus, representative of the NGO, thanked the team that travelled from Athlone.“We have several projects rolled out until March and these include skills training, bread distributions and local water projects,” he said.