ILISO Loluntu Community Development visited Mpothulo Junior Secondary School in Cacadu to donate 48 pairs of shoes and sanitary towels to pupils recently. Principal Bulelwa Gqadushe told The Rep this week that the school, formed in 1930, faced the challenge of drop-outs as a result of the low socio-economic level in the area.
”Our area is rural. The people are unemployed and depend on grants. Some of the children are orphans, they walk barefoot or wear running shoes to school and we have children dropping out of school every year.”She said their environment was not conducive to learning. “The conditions were already bad when I came here. The grades share classrooms and we do not have suitable toilets for the Grade R class. I would be in trouble if one of them were to drown there. We can not even have a garden because there is no fence to protect it.”
Despite all the challenges, she was grateful for the kind donation from the non-profit organisation. Iliso Loluntu deputy chairman Zolani Mcilongo said the idea of donating to the school was inspired by their interaction with various Eastern Cape individuals who were a part of a Facebook group called EC Romantics.
“The group used to have annual get-togethers in East London and Durban and during 2015 we were in Port Elizabeth and thought we needed to do something for rural communities.”He said they were touched by the plight of children in rural areas. “Our intention is to improve the level of education as some children end up losing interest and refuse to go to school because they have no shoes. We see children in winter walking around with torn shoes.”
The organisation has made donations to four schools in the province since last year. “Last year January, we started collecting shoes and asking for donations from our friends. Our target was 250 pairs of shoes to four schools per year.”
Mcilongo wants the programme to reach more people in the villages. “We also saw girls in rural areas had a need for sanitary towels. Some of the girls live with people who do not know about these issues, so our Komani branch also collected those.” People interested in helping, can contact Mcilongo at 071-342-6411