Sinethemba pupils embark on school saving­­-water project

Mihlali Thombe, Mihle Ntsabo, Athandile Mkhwambe and Aviwe Makongwana talk to Vukani about their plans to raise funds so that they could repair their school toilets and install water saving device.

With the province facing a severe water shortage, a group of Sinethemba High School pupils in Philippi are on a mission to raise funds so that they can revamp their school toilets and install a water saving device.

A total of 20 Grade 11 pupils are part of the Hydrological Hygiene Systems (HHS) initiative which is involved in upgrading schools’ bathroom facilities to not only make them safer and more user friendly, but also to install critical water saving devices.

The initiative is spearheaded by WNS Global Services SA. The fundamental goal of the initiative is to encourage pupils to be agents of change in their communities.

They told Vukani that they opted to be part of this initiative because they were concerned about their well-being and that of the environment, and most importantly about the current drought crisis in the province.

They said they were determined to revamp their school bathrooms so that water was used more efficiently and sparingly, but to make their dream come true, they need to raise about R920 000 to cover up the costs.

While this may sound far-fetched, the pupils have vowed that they would leave no stone unturned to reach their goal.

One of the pupils, Mihlali Themba, said they also wanted to equip their peers with information about the importance of looking after their bathrooms while educating them about saving water. He called on local business people and the community at large to help them raise the money. “We will host different fundraising events and we need all the support we can get to make this initiative a success.

“We have devoted our time to this project and we want to be counted among the pupils who made a great impact in our school. We hope that we can inspire other pupils who come after us to be involved in such initiatives and we aim to take this spirit, and influence our residents in our communities to do the same,” he said.

Megan Lee Meredith, group marketing manager for WNS Global Services SA, said the organisation sought to highlight the power of positive interventions to educate, empower and enrich South African youth and help them bring about much-needed positive change within their own schools or communities, for their own peers and through their own efforts.

“Upon completion of the programme and project, the youth graduate not only with a certificate, but a range of newly acquired skills and experience to help them build success for themselves in the real world. As the final phase of the project, youth are given an opportunity to apply for an internship with WNS, provided that they passed matric and had not yet secured other opportunities to advance in academic arenas,” she said.

She added that this was the second year of their involvement at Sinethemba. After implementing their first project, the Qhubukeka computer and resource centre, she said, they decided to come back because of the community spirit in the school. School principal Nelson Poopedi praised the pupils for embarking on this initiative, and said he hoped they would influence others to start making contributions to the betterment of the school.