Two UCT students have embarked on an ambitious project to green Ummangaliso Primary School, in Site B, and provide a safe playing environment for the pupils.
They are now calling on the public and the businesses to join their quest.
The fourth-year physiotherapy students, Celeste Holden and Silindile Khoza, have been working at the school for five weeks, as part of their practical. However, their work has largely been hindered by the lack of proper training and playing facilities.
As part of their practical, they have to conduct physical training (PT) for pupils and teachers at the school. But they had no choice but to run these sessions on paving.
Originally from Johannesburg and now living in Mowbray, Ms Holden said she was happy with their contribution at the school, but she bemoaned the lack of resources and the dangers faced by pupils.
She said the lack of resources not only affected the pupils, but also the teachers’ morale. “Teachers are not enthusiastic because there is no place for them to train the pupils,” she said.
Ms Holden said they wanted to raise R60 000 to fix the school field, and were calling on South Africans to come on board. They have started distributing letters to big businesses requesting financial support. They also want the community of Site B, and Khayelitsha to support the initiative. They will also spend the next few weeks gathering funds from their peers at UCT, while planning a fun day early next month.
“But we can’t raise that amount of money, that is why we are calling on big businesses to support us,” said Ms Holden, adding that any form of donation was welcome. “It can be money, but we want the nurseries to be involved,” she said.
Ms Holden said it was imperative for pupils to be exposed to physical training early in their lives to enhance their future growth. Without proper playing and training facilities, she said, their future looked bleak.
“If a kid falls on the bricks, the teacher must take the blame,” she said.
The school’s deputy principal, Phumla Nkewana, said over the years the school had to take pupils to the Khayelitsha stadium to prepare for sporting activities. She said they had been trying for several years to get support and funding but to no avail.
She said the school welcomed the two students’ initiatives.
“This will create a safe and a harmonious environment for our kids to play. It will also beautify our school,” she said. “We will also be able to bring our kids on the field for their PT classes. Our biggest aim is to get the community involved.”
* To find out more or to donate money towards the project contact Mellisa Wildschutt at 084 451 1433 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.schoolsdevelopmentunit.org.za