Almost 400 children who attend an unregistered school in Joe Slovo got a morale and material boost last week.
The school runs out of the premises of the old Sinenjongo High School, which stood vacant for several months.
Volunteers teach the pupils, who range from Grade R to Grade 8, and conditions are so desperate that many of the children use chairs as desks while kneeling on the floor, while others lie flat on their bellies with their books spread in front of them. (“Pupils left in limbo,” Tabletalk, February 1).
However, on Thursday February 16, the pupils’ spirits were lifted when all 380 of them were given a pair of socks by the Sexy Socks company.
Dave Hutchinson founded the company in 2014 when he decided that for every pair of socks he sold he would give a free pair to a school child and in the two plus years the company has been around he has made it his mission to provide every school child with a pair of socks.
It was a meaningful act of goodwill for a school that has been going since the beginning of the school year without any official support: this wasn’t just a pair of socks but a signal that those in the wider community know about the school’s plight and care.
There were smiles and also tears from some of the teachers and staff as the children gathered in front of the container classrooms.
Acting principal Cynthia Tsawe, who was visibly moved by the donation, told Mr Hutchinson and his colleagues who handed out the socks: “We deeply appreciate what you are doing and your coming to our school.”
Sexy Socks has teamed up with NGO Mothers that Care, to give socks to school pupils that the NGO helps in the Table View area.
Children at the unregistered school were in for a further surprise when Karen Oliveira, the founder of Mothers that Care, donated plastic spoons and bowls so that the children could eat their breakfast from the giant bag of muesli that was donated.
Additional food was also donated to the school, as well as kitchen equipment – until now, the school’s kitchen has been empty except for a sink and small counter.
An overwhelmed staff member Nosiphi Getyengana, said: “I am speechless, I don’t know what to say,” as the food and equipment were handed out.
“Two weeks ago, Nosiphi came to my house and I didn’t know about the school,” Ms Oliveira said.
Her NGO makes sandwiches for several schools in the area, so she was able to drum up considerable support through her network of volunteers to the tune of R3 500. She also bought a gas stove and a large pot from the donations that poured in when word got out about the school.
Ms Tsawe said: “Now the children are overjoyed to come to school – as they’ll be getting a meal – something many of them don’t get at home.”