For many hoteliers in the hospitality industry, the coronavirus pandemic has brought the business to its knees. Despite this, the Peninsula All-suite Hotel in Sea Point has gone above and beyond to do what they can to ensure destitute learners at St Pauls primary school in Scotcheskloof are fed every single day.
Executive chef at the Peninsula All-Suite Hotel, Hajierah Hamiet said to her the initiative is much more than giving back to the destitute but more about investing into the future of the youth.
“Everyone is struggling during the national lockdown, which is why the Peninsula hotel has decided that it is our duty to do what we can to give back to the less fortunate. However, for me it is always going to be about ensuring children are given the upper hand so that they can leave the slums and look forward to a brighter future,” smiled Hamiet.
Yeye Mgudlwa, the principal at St. Pauls primary school for the past ten years, said the partnership could not have come at a better time.
“The help offered by the hotel came at the right time because learners were coming from the lockdown which has disadvantaged both them and their parents. These scholars are from townships and being out of school has been a great disservice because at school they are well cared for and it is their home away from home,” stated Mgudlwa.
Mgudlwa said the warm meal provided has ensured that learners are more attentive in class.
“The feeding scheme has alleviated some of our problems because for most children that are misbehaving that is because they have empty stomach and you can’t teach a hungry child,” said Mgudlwa.
“The warm meal provided to the children has eased their worries and subdued their anxiety. It is undeniable that the covid-19 pandemic has traumatized them due to the socio economic backgrounds and what they witness in their own communities,” stated Mgudlwa.
Hamiet, who is originally from New Woodlands in Mitchells Plain said the Peninsula also provides food once a week at a safe haven outside of the Cape Town CBD.
“During May, we rallied together to help feed around 200 displaced people being housed at the Culemborg safe haven. My team and I prepare a hot and nutritious meal every Friday. Our Culemborg mission became personal for me when I saw one of my former head chefs now living at the shelter. In that moment I felt even more motivated to continue giving back as it made me aware that any time your situation could change and you will need to depend on the kindness of others,” said Hamiet.
Furthermore, Mgudlwa advised that within the education fraternity, not all is bad about COVID-19.
“Educators that are teaching in the foundation phase have gotten the opportunity to prove themselves as teachers to the learners and to themselves just because you’re teaching Grade 1 does not make you any less of an educator. We all have our place and no role is more important than the other,” ended Mgudlwa.
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