A heartwarming story to give you some inspiration to continue giving back! Taken from our local newspaper, The Daily Dispatch, it’s not often good news makes it into the papers.
THE Children for Children campaign is aimed at raising funds by schools for disadvantaged and vulnerable children. Trish Schroeder heads up the Children for Children project for the East London/Border area. She said the response in East London has been “unbelievable”. “This year 42 schools participated and we have raised about R200000.”
She explained that the campaign runs for a month once a year and relies on children to raise funds or food for child-headed homes or abused and vulnerable children. Each school is given one food item they need to raise. Schroeder said the project also creates awareness among donor children about HIV/Aids, poverty and child-headed homes.
The food collected by the schools is donated to Loaves and Fishes, who in turn distribute the food to those in need. Although Schroeder stressed this is not a competition between schools, she was touched by the generosity of the poorer schools who muster up whatever they can to make a contribution.
She was impressed by schools such as Alphendale Secondary, Kubusie Combined School, Southernwood Primary School, Kidd’s Beach Primary School and Lilyfontein. Alphendale Secondary’s project leader Lynette Morrison-Mahlaba said “because Alphendale is a poverty-stricken area itself, kids sometimes do not have extra to give”.
She added that children are nonetheless happy to give what little they have. This year her school collected four boxes of baked beans. She added that teachers led by example and also gave to motivate the students.
Bulelwa Stefane, who heads up the project at Kubusie Combined School, said she was impressed with the children who went beyond the call of du call of duty to bring in old clothes, in addition to funds needed to buy sugar (their designated item). “I am happy with their involvement because we have disadvantaged kids with HIV at our school. So we are happy to give,” she said. Her school collected 20c and 50c from students, which they used to buy eight 1kg packets of sugar.
Lilyfontein School’s project leader Jenny Scherwitz says that they got creative in their collection. “We had a ‘civvies day’ at the end of the term and their donation was a packet of rice.” Scherwitz said they have been involved with the Children for Children project for the past five years and that the donations have been growing every year. “We are thrilled. In 2004 we raised 234kg of rice (their designated item) and we thought we had done well,” she joked.
This year the school made a donation of 2066.5kg of rice. Scherwitz added that it was the generosity of the parents who teach their children that is better to give than to receive. Grade 4 pupil Tasmin Labuschagne said that giving made her “feel good”, and added that she will continue to give in the years to come.
Children for Children was started in Cape Town by the city’s National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa (Naptosa) branch. Its success was showcased at a national conference where East London’s Naptosa chairperson, Paul Wetmore, was present. He felt this campaign would work in his home city.
He said when he started the project in East London five years ago, he was overwhelmed by the response. “The first year we received so much food it took a whole day to clear.” Wetmore added that Dr Trudy Thomas was approached to help distribute the food, but that she was not equipped at the time for such large amounts of food.
He said the non-profit organisation Loaves and Fishes was born out of the generosity of the children. — By LOIS MOODLEY firstname.lastname@example.org