There was joy at Khumbulani Health, Education and Resource Centre, in Khayelitsha, when a University of Cape Town (UCT) associate professor, Terri Grant handed bags to some of the children, on Friday January 22.
The bags were collected from delegates attending the Association for Business Communication Conference, held at the university early in January.
This was the first time, in the conference’s 18-year history, that it was held in Africa.
During the three-day conference, 124 delegates, including academics, educational practitioners, from 24 countries discussed ethical communication and corporate governance, looking at facts and fiction of business communication.
Professor Grant said she felt compelled to use the conference to make the difference in some children’s lives.
As a delegate to many conferences around the world, she said she noticed that she collected a lot of bags which were never used.
At the start of the conference she urged delegates to hand over their bags after the conference.
“The vision was welcomed by the delegates,” she said.
Professor Grant, who heads the Professional Communication Unit in the School of Management Studies at UCT, said many delegates collected bags which they never used again.
“The reality is if you don’t use something for a year, the chances are that you will never use it again,” she said.
“It is nice to see that they will be used to good effect.”
Khumbulani, which includes an educare centre, after-care facilities and a youth programme, caters for more than 170 children.
Khumbulani principal Zingisa Ngwadla said they were thrilled by the partnership and support they received from UCT.
She said the university had been their pillar of strength and offered support in many ways.
“This is part of our ongoing relationship.
“We are so grateful to have all these bags for our children. The reality is that not all of them can afford (to buy bags of their own). They mean a lot to a lot of our children,” said Ms Ngwadla.
She said she hoped the partnership would develop into something big.
“I would like to see a situation where children from our youth programme are able to enrol at UCT,” she said.
While there are future plans, there are also immediate plans to raise funds for Khumbulani.
Doctor Ines Meyer, who initiated the partnership between Khumbulani and UCT, said they were also in a campaign to raise R17 500 for Khumbulani through their Back-a-Buddy campaign.
The campaign encourages South Africans to sacrifice a cup of coffee by donating that money. It is hoped the money would be used to hire a social worker for the centre.
* For details on how to support the campaign, visit www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/a-cup-of-coffee-a-month