With February 15 being the official date for pupils around the country to return to school, a much needed donation of 69 pairs of school shoes was distributed to residents in ward 11 last week.
Councillor Andile Ganca who was spearheading the handover said through collective action the donation was made possible by three individuals, including himself, who all contributed wholeheartedly to the project. “As the ANC Xolile Mtshiselwa branch, we decided to make appeals and source donors to assist because, as we all know, schools will soon reopen. We thought before we could look into the schools’ readiness for the official opening, we should look at whether the children were ready to return to school.”
Ganca added that the beneficiaries were identified during the door-to-door by-election campaign. “We had identified underprivileged families and chose from that list. A lot of people in this ward are unemployed, live in dilapidated houses and are disadvantaged families. We thought we should share the little we have so they know and understand they are valued and education is important. We thank Simphiwe Mpumela, Linda Ngece, Ntuthuzelo Hina and Phikolomzi Jaxa for making the day a success.”
Unemployed Bulelwa Silandela, a mother of three, said the donation came at a time when her 13-year-old child was desperately in need of school shoes and thanked everyone involved. Another beneficiary, Nombeko Nonkosana, who was there to collect shoes for her 16-year-old son said her only wish was that he would continue with his studies, especially now that such efforts had been made for them to receive the donation.
Speaking to The Rep, Mpumela, a businessman originally from Komani but currently living in Johannesburg, said he was familiar with the negative impact caused by a lack of resources and basic school items. “We get a lot of school drop-outs because of things like not having school shoes. They end up not having confidence in themselves. As a young businessman I have been giving back to the Johannesburg community, forgetting that people from my home town are struggling in getting funders for certain projects. I decided to take a stand and help out and this is not the end,” said Mpumela.
Zamaland Tavern owner Ngece, also one of the sponsors and who lives in that area, said: “There are families who are facing difficulties and as someone from this area I had to lend a helping hand. Growing up without an education comes with its own challenges, so I want to emphasise the importance of education through this donation,” he said.