Student teacher Andisiwe Msutwana believes change comes from standing up for what you believe in.
She has turned her passion for teaching into a means of helping not only her pupils but the poorest of the poorest in Site B.
The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) fourth-year student has helped establish an outreach programme for Masiyile Senior Secondary School in Khayelitsha.
In so doing, many believe her work as a teacher is giving a voice to the voiceless.
She has taught pupils to care for each other and have empathy for those who are less fortunate.
She visits classes to urge pupils to be respectful and to work together.
On Thursday August 1, Ms Msutwana’s work to inculcate a culture of sharing and helping others bore fruit when pupils rallied to help one of their classmates whose Site C home was gutted by fire on July 1.
The school’s Grade 11 and 12 pupils collected shoes, clothing, non-perishable food items and other goods for Grade 9 pupil Akhona Tshem and her family.
It was Ms Msutwana who had appealed to pupils to help the Tshem family.
Pupils responded positively and formed a WhatsApp group to co-ordinate the collection all items, which were brought to school last Thursday.
Akhona said it was a good gesture from her fellow pupils. “My family will be overwhelmed by this.
“But again thanks to my teacher who shared my story and that of the family to the school. I am so grateful and express gratitude to all of them,” said Akhona.
The pupils in the organising team, Lisakhanya Mbambo and Mkhululi Matiwane, have promised to continue to help others. “This is one of the best gestures ever. Our teacher has taught us to share.
“I feel proud to have helped Akhona and her family. But again thanks to our teacher for encouraging us to do good,” said Lisakhanya.
Mkhululi said the gesture by pupils was touching and heart-warming.
“One brought the whole outfit from shoes to clothes. But what this means is that we are growing as pupils. You will never know what tomorrow brings so you better help others too. I am still expecting more clothes from my friends who are not pupils here but at other schools. After we spread the news to our friends, they will help too,” he said.
As if that was not enough,10 pupils received school tracksuits that Ms Msutwana campaigned for from the local councillor Monde Mnqulwana and other people.
Before handing out the tracksuits, principal
Sisa Sodlaka said he was grateful to have a teacher that has a good heart and cares for children.
“Teaching is a noble call. You become a nurse, a parent and a social worker. You have it all in you. This is clear that you will go a long way in this career,” he said to Ms Msutwana.
He encouraged the beneficiaries to do the same when they are working one day. He said they need to remember that a certain person campaigned for them, and they should in turn help others less fortunate.
In praising Ms Msutwana, councillor Mnqulwana said most people who rose from humble beginnings with personal struggles always fight to succeed.
He thanked the school for having great teachers like her. “I must commended her heroic ways. She is brave. We need teachers like her who can observe our children’s struggles,” he said.
Mr Nqulwana said teachers have a tough task.
Ms Msutwana said she is only doing what anybody else could have done. “I cannot turn a blind eye when children are having it tough. For them to concentrate and focus, they need to have all the right things,” she said.
She promised to continue campaigning for the less fortunate.