The principal of a Gugulethu school says a recent donation has made them “state-of-the-art”.
Yolanda Lupondo, the principal at Siviwe Special School for vocational and skills training, said the new upholstery workshop, which was donated the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) has turned the school into a “top-class facility”.
Turkish Ambassador Aisha Kandaş, accompanied by the Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu, officially opened the new workshop on Thursday February 1.
Ms Lupondo said the school is the pride of Gugulethu and its surroundings. The school’s facilities include workshops for arts and crafts, hairdressing, maintenance, welding and metal work, hospitality, woodworking, bricklaying and plastering, needle work and clothing.
“Upholstery is one of our major challenges and it is about our children’s dignity, self-respect and self-worth. This facility will go a long way, especially for the young ones, to grow up in a very dignified environment,” said Ms Lupondo.
She thanked TIKA saying it was not the first time they have donated to the school, as they had previously donated a mobile library.
“We are humbled and grateful. May the light always shine on them. They always journey with us. We are here to serve and they serve with us. Since 2020 they have been with us.” she said.
Ms Kandaş praised the school and its leadership saying it was Ms Lupondo’s networking and partnerships that the school and community were benefitting.
“They are a good partner. As an organisation we concentrate on women, disadvantaged children and the poorest. We believe that South Africa needs our assistance. We will continue with these projects,” she said.
She said it was Türkiye’s time to plough back into the big skills void in South Africa. She said TIKA focused on sustainable development, especially in education, training, and agriculture.
Her words were echoed by the Ms Zulu who added that young people needed skills. She encouraged grant recipients to not become depended on it but to use it to develop themselves.
She thanked TIKA for keeping it’s promise to invest in the school again after it donated the mobile library.
“Some of the children wake up in difficult situations. Another thing that we need to stop is to discriminate against each other. We cannot grow as a society if we are not united. I am glad that we were last year and promised to come back. We always keep our promises,” she said.