Lecturers dig dip to help students

2019-04-16 06:00
Chance ChagundaPHOTOS: TIYESE JERANJI

Chance ChagundaPHOTOS: TIYESE JERANJI

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The University of Cape Town (UCT) food security programme is growing from strength to strength each semester.

The programme was started last year April and helps to feed students.

Students go to the Leslie Social Science building at three different time slots 11:00, 12:00 and at 13:00 every day to collect a sandwich, juice and one fruit.

Most students have praised the programme, saying it helps them keep afloat.

Senior lecturer for Social Development, Chance Chagunda spoke to People’s Post about the programme – how it started and the vision that they have as a university for this programme.

He says he was working late hours last year and to his disbelief there was always a mess around the dustbins by the time he knocked off. This went on for some time and he decided to speak to his head of department, professor Ndangwa Noyoo. They then started to keep an eye and investigated the reason for all the mess.

He discovered that two students would go to the bin and look for leftovers of anything they could eat. “I couldn’t believe it. I asked them if they were students at the university and why they scrapped the bin. They asked me do you really want to know? And then told me they were looking for anything that they could eat. I was shocked. I asked for their student cards and indeed they were our students,” he says.

He then decided he will pack bread with peanut butter for them every day. If he had extra food, he would bring them. However, the littering around the bin didn’t stop. He called the students again to ask if they were still going through the bins.

“They said no. It dawned on me that there was a big problem and many students were going through a lot of challenges on campus with no food to eat. As they say, charity begins at home and as the social development faculty, hoping to build social change agents, we knew we had to do something,” he says.

He spoke to Noyoo about the issue and they decided to start providing the students with something to eat. They initially offered tea, a hot meal for lunch and a sandwich later.

Chagunda says a lot of people in his department were very involved in the programme as they volunteered to make food. “Staff members have been very instrumental in this programme. We just gave the students food we didn’t ask any questions,” he says.

Starting with 25 packs they will now be distributing a 1 000 as of next semester. Though the programme is for UCT, it is run for students by students. “We have students preparing the food and others volunteering to serve the students. It is heart-warming and so humbling to be able to serve others. One student said to me he wouldn’t have been able to survive without these food parcels.

“That goes to show the difference we are making, and we are looking at ways to do more and keep the programme sustainable,” he says.

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