Stationery for learners

2019-02-19 06:01
Children received stationery packs from Mayor Dan Plato and MEC Debbie Schaffer last week.                 PHOTO: EARL HAUPT

Children received stationery packs from Mayor Dan Plato and MEC Debbie Schaffer last week. PHOTO: EARL HAUPT

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Two primary schools, in Manenberg and Hanover Park respectively, were the recipients of stationery worth R20 000 from the City of Cape Town mayor Dan Plato and the Western Cape education minister Debbie Schäfer.

The event served as part of a joint community outreach programme by the mayor to assist needy learners.

The project is aimed at learners in the foundation phase of learning.

“Many of our schools in the Western Cape that serve poorer communities are finding themselves in a dire financial position in terms of their own funding constraints, the impact of growing inflation and of continued rising poverty. We know that stationery costs are annually inflated which makes even the most basic supplies too expensive for many less fortunate families. I am therefore most grateful to Mayor Plato and the City of Cape Town for this donation that will go a long way in providing the learners with the ‘write’ tools that will assist them with their school work,” said Schäfer.

After the joint event at Rio Grande Primary School, Plato also delivered stationery to Blomvlei Primary in Hanover Park as part of the outreach programme.

“It’s very important for foundation phase learners to have the necessary tools so that they can do their work and study hard. This donation will enable learners to concentrate on their lessons and help them succeed in their education. Some learners face challenges and, as a caring city, we must offer our support,” said Plato.

Blomvlei Primary School principal Wildemar Snyders said he welcomes the donation from Plato and the WCED, but would like to have increased engagements with both on the more pressing challenges the school faces daily.

“This donation was a Godsend. Unfortunately, we are still paying school fees while our neighbours in the area, non-fee-paying schools, we still don’t know how exactly the national department worked out the quintile system. We have been applying for this to change, but nothing has been forthcoming. The principals can only forward a mandate from their side. Sometimes there is this ‘yes we understand what is happening’, but they don’t really understand. I would like to believe, especially when it comes to the violence in the area,” said Snyders.

He added that while the school’s role is to educate, their work is cut out before they can perform those duties.

“We understand where our kids come from. Sometimes there is really nothing. Sometimes we do find time to get into the homes of these children. Some of our teachers, and some of the other people, don’t want to believe where our children are coming from. When we talk about these things in meetings, we want to be taken seriously. We are suffering, not only as teachers, our kids too.

“You cannot teach a hungry child, you cannot teach a child who is constantly traumatised. It is not nice, and I know they are trying their utmost, but there are so many other things. There are so many more issues more important than just the ‘1+1’ side of things. You cannot just focus on that, you are going to have a brilliant child, but not knowing what life is about; how to play, how to enjoy life after school,” said Snyders.

He confirmed that he has engaged with Plato before during his tenure as the Western Cape MEC for community safety and has actively been involved since becoming mayor, helping to address a sewerage problem which exists at the school.

“I am grateful. Last year the mayor, when he was MEC for community safety, was in the area and came in and experienced the stench for himself. On that day nothing happened, but he did something and a week or so after that Public Works came in to look at the problem. They dug up the area behind the girls’ toilets and found the problem there. They warned us, if we do not get our own pump, in winter the same problem will surface. The mayor promised me that if I just put it on paper and send it through on paper (something will be done),” explained Snyders.

He said that while donations are welcome, the children need to realise and trust in their own abilities.

“If you have the talent, the guts, the willpower, then you can achieve. These little things (donations) show people are looking out for you. Somewhere there are people caring for you, so you just need to put in that little extra.”

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