Volunteers from the South African National Zakaf Fund (SANZAF) brightened the smiles of 1300 pupils at the Heinz Primary School in Mitchells Plain on Tuesday as part of their Winter Warmth Drive. SANZAF handed over winter packs consisting of winter caps, scarves and gloves as well as a warm meal and a goodie bag filled with treats for the students to enjoy throughout the day.
The Heinz community, situated on the outskirts of Mitchells Plain, near Phillipi, houses residents who face social ills such as unemployment, poverty, gang violence and many others. These factors, according to deputy principal Peter Fortuin, have had a drastic impact on the education of young people in the area.
“These children are often neglected and come to school simply to have the only meal they will get for the day. This community is not a shining example for these students. Many of them leave here and have to go back to homes where their relatives are without work, abusing drugs and or alcohol and often encounter violent situations on a daily basis. We are thankful to SANZAF for identifying our school and taking the time out to make our pupils feel special and ready for the winter season,” Fortuin explained.
SANZAF’s Head of Department for Communications, PR and Marketing Department, Sakeenah Bock said the winter warm campaign simply focuses on those who are most marginalised within the community.
“The reason why we can do this is because members from the community contribute to our programs and assist us. Heinz Primary is one of ten schools across the province who will be receiving assistance from us this year. These schools are based on some research conducted by our case workers, on various schools to assess the need and dire situation of those learners. The case workers will then ascertain who and how the said learners can benefit from our project,” Bok explained.
Grade seven students, upon receiving their gifts from SANZAF said this was the very first time they had ever been the recipients of a winter warm campaign of any kind and hoped other learners in schools much like theirs are also receiving the same surprises.
“I feel very excited. We don’t usually get opportunities like this. We usually come to school without proper winter clothing. This area is very bad because of the crime. I often see other young people dropping out, smoking, doing drugs, SANZAF has really made us so excited here today, we don’t have things like this a lot. I am happy to be here,” fourteen year old, Moses Mbambe told VOC.
Meanwhile his fellow pupil, fourteen year old, Aisha Abrahams says it is a good thing for SANZAF to sponsor goodies for the children and hopes other schools will also benefit from the project.
“This is great stuff we are getting here today. No one ever did this for us before. In this area a lot of bad stuff happens. People are shooting at each other and dying a lot. I hope to be a lawyer and also uplift my community like this,” Abrahams added. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)