Children from Unako Children’s Home in Barcelona informal settlement, in Gugulethu, got an early Christmas when students from the University of the Western Cape’s Pilot Thuthuka B.Com Accounting Bursary Programme visited the home on Saturday November 18.
The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) initiated the Thuthuka project as a consequence of the significant shortage of financial management skills within organisations such as municipalities, as well as other areas within government and the private sector.
Clad in yellow T-shirts, the 70-strong team of students brought joy to more than 30 children at the home by giving them gifts, including toys, stationery and other goodies.
The home accommodates abandoned children and orphans. As the children walked tall to collect their gifts, they smiled from ear to ear, hugging the students afterward.
Programme co-ordinator Charmaine Trueman said the party initiative was in its third year.
Ms Trueman said they decided to go back after a visit last year. “We have been here before and we noticed how the creche and the kids struggled,” she said.
She added that during the year they had conducted various fund-raising initiatives. “We have more than 300 students involved,” she said.
Student Sinesipho Nkonzo said her team was delighted to help needy children from impoverished areas. “Instead of sitting at the campus and doing other things during this time of the year, we thought about the needy children.This is a great moment for us, and we hope it is the same for these children,” she said.
Ms Nkonzo said they wanted to ensure that children got to Christmas in style.
Father of the house, Reverend Julius Bonani, thanked the students for their generosity and said while he had nevery planned to open such a home, God had thought otherwise.
He said when he moved to Barcelona in 2002, he wanted to establish a church. “This is God’s will, not mine. I guess he wanted to show me that I need to lead children’s lives into the right direction,” said Mr Bonani. “ I am always happy when people like these come to help us.
“I am excited for these children. It is exciting to see students helping us instead of us helping them. We should be helping them to pay their fees, not them helping us. But they have shown leadership and care. We are grateful and feel blessed,” said the excited Mr Bonani.