A Gugulethu school teacher has used Facebook to campaign for support for a group of pupils at Sokhanya Primary School.
Her friends and one big company heeded the call, enabling her to donate sanitary towels, school uniforms and shoes to about 60 pupils.
The school also benefited from the donation of more than R5 000 worth of uniforms and an extra R5 000 for the school.Teacher Namhla Sombexe was all too aware of the poverty and unemployment plaguing Gugulethu as well as the difficult circumstances her pupils come from, and wanted to make a difference.
“I want to see a black child succeed. I want to see lawyers, teachers, technicians and all the professions coming out of this school and others,” she told Vukani.
“I saw an opportunity to assist my children through social media. I made a plea for people to donate shoes and uniforms to the school. The initiative went well because many of my friends responded positively. It was spotted not only by my friends but by some entrepreneurs as well.
“Old Mutual was among those who responded positively, followed by The Rands (entertainment venue) in Khayelitsha. The challenge was initially aimed at young professionals but these companies took that opportunity,” she explained.
But, said Ms Sombexe, “This does not end here. I do home visits after school too. And I’m still going to continue with this initiative. I always ask the school to donate food to certain families and the school has been supportive,” she said.
She highlighted that some pupils did not finish school due to poverty, so she wants to help keep the pupils at school regardless of circumstances at their homes.
Tini Mohau, Old Mutual’s internal auditor who spotted Ms Sombexe’s plea on social media, spoke highly of her. He said through their Care and Share initiative, Old Mutual aimed to help the needy, with a focus on school pupils.
“This is well deserved. These are future leaders. We cannot ignore their plight. If we dessert them they might be swayed to go to drugs. As much as it looks little in the eyes of many, it means a lot to them. This is priceless,” said Mr Mohau.
Those who received new school uniforms and shoes said they were grateful to their teacher for her generosity.
Speaking on behalf of all the beneficiaries, Mihlali Ntuli said they felt good because many of their parents were not able to afford uniforms and shoes. “It means a lot to us as pupils. But all credit must go to our beautiful teacher Ms Sombexe. She made us look good. I am excited,” she said.
Principal Thetha Sithole said giving the children a uniform brings back their human dignity because they become equal to other pupils.
He said he was humbled by the gesture shown to the school pupils. “When it comes to social responsibility, all companies should do it. I am touched and moved by this gesture. We are really grateful. We wish they could continue with it to sustain what they started,” he concluded.