A Facebook post by a school principal who wanted to illustrate “what poverty looks like” has resulted in a campaign to assist not only the children at his school, but in the greater Gugulethu community.
In his social media post, Litha Primary School principal Dr Sedick Du Toit, included pictures of his pupils’ broken school shoes and the words “So this is what poverty looks like”.
Last Wednesday a huge clothing company responded by donating R70 000 that will be used to buy school shoes for 680 children.
Friends and former pupils of the long-time educator also responded enthusiastically.
Among the recipients of the act of goodwill is Owam Boyiki,who became so emotional, her teacher had to calm her down. She lives with other seven children and her single mother works at a bus company.
The equally excited school principal thanked all those who had responded to his post, describing the outpouring of generosity as “phenomenal”.
“I posted an appeal on Facebook after I went to class and saw the shoes of my pupils. I had to let people know what poverty is. People responded and the Foschini Group graced us with a huge response.
“But I must state that all responded positively; people came on board. They deposited money in the school account. Some even dropped shoes here and other clothes,” he said.
“This is a big donation. It is about the child being dignified.”
Mr Du Toit said it hurt to see children walking barefoot and with torn shoes and that schools needed to help the communities that they were in.
“Our children do not have to go over the railway line to get a better education. It is not true that for one to get quality education they should go out of townships.
“We as teachers need to provide that because we are skilled. But we also need to use the mother tongue effectively. Here we communicate with all the languages equally,” he added.
Before handing over the cheque to the school on Wednesday, CSI staff from The Foschini Group (TFG) led by CSI manager Mymoena Mooradd thanked the school for allowing them an opportunity to be at the school to donate the cheque.
She urged the happy pupils to treat their shoes like babies and to love their books. “Take good care of your shoes. Polish them and love them. Treat them like little babies. But you must (also) love your books. You must read so to become something in life,” she told them.
Ms Mooradd said as the group they believed that education was an important driver to uplift impoverished communities and her group hoped to help through its “Educate 2 Empower” campaign.