“Please help me. The teacher is going to scold me if I don’t have my school stuff.”This is the cry for a help a non-profit organisation in Vrygrond has been hearing from learners since the school term began.This is as many learners start the first term without full sets of stationery and uniforms.The Where Rainbows Meet Training and Development Foundation has had children from the surrounding areas asking for stationery, schoolbags and shoes.The foundation’s director, Mymoena Scholtz, says her heart was torn into pieces when a bunch of schoolchildren came to the foundation’s offices carrying schoolbooks in a plastic bag. What really made her sad was that one of the learners had his books in a fleece jacket.“The situation is very sad. Children are struggling because they don’t have the basics to go to school. “Most of the children here have torn shirts and trousers. The shoes are torn. For those who have shoes they are so tight that you can see their toes. The children can’t walk in these shoes. Some of them don’t even have shoes; they go to school in takkies.”Though the foundation has gone to lengths to help where it can, it can’t help everyone and is pleading for donations to give to children who are struggling.“It’s very sad for us because we can’t help everyone. There are so many challenges in our communities and the least we can do for our children is to make sure that they have all that is needed at school. “Parents can’t afford it as they are unemployed. Most of them depend on social grants. When they get that money they want to make sure that they have food and pay their rent, which in turn affects our children,” says Scholtz.Scholtz adds that not having proper school uniforms or shoes damages the children’s self-esteem. “They feel isolated and they can’t integrate into the society properly. We want a community where, when the teacher says take out a rubber or take out your maths book, every child can do so with pride. “At the moment children are so scared to go to school because they don’t have the stationery. Our plea is to companies and anyone who can donate to us to help us with shoes, schoolbags and stationery. We don’t want our children bunking school because they don’t have the necessary things needed,” she says. V For more information call The Where Rainbows Meet Training and Development Foundation on 021 701 0328.