A collaborative community effort led by Upper Highway NPO, Zero2Five Trust, saw hundreds of local schoolchildren in the Shongweni Dam area receiving nutritious meals, learning materials and a playground as part of a Mandela Day initiative.
Local organisations, Futurelife Health Products, Marriott and Clover sponsored supplies for the day with Grade 8 pupils from St Mary’s DSG preparing 1 800 lunchboxes on the morning of Thursday, 18 July. Representatives then accompanied Zero2Five to two schools – Egcekeni and Edamini Primary Schools – where happy children greeted the guests.
Zero2Five promotes holistic Early Childhood Development in formerly disadvantaged areas by improving learners’ health and education outcomes with nutrition and education programmes.
“Mandela Day is more than a commemoration of the life and legacy of Madiba, it is an opportunity for all of us to honour his life’s work and make a lasting impact on the day,” said Julika Falconer, Head of the Zero2Five Trust. “Our regular sponsors come together every year and fund extra resources needed to strengthen our programmes for the rest of the year. July marks the beginning of a new financial year for us so this is always a great kick off with a big bang.”
Futurelife donated Futurelife oat breakfasts and brown bread, with sponsorship of Sunshine D margarine & spread., Clover 1800 cheese slices and Marriott bringing breakfast bowls and lunchboxes. Local business The Juice Kitchen, Mark & Tamara Ogilby, undertook to donate a piece of fruit for each learner to make the healthy lunch complete.
Egcekeni Primary School will also receive a new playground with both schools benefitting from additional English learning materials.
The generosity continued as schoolgirls from St Mary’s DSG arrived early to prepare all 1800 lunchboxes with delicious sandwiches. There was also an interactive story explaining Mandela Day with singing and dancing to finish on a high note. Local NGO partner Peace Players International entertained with a motivational talk and a fitness programme.
Solomon Mpulo, principal of Egcekeni Primary School, said: “We were a school for farm workers’ children, based in an area which is poverty stricken. The majority of parents work on farms and some depend on the government grants. We lack a lot of resources and any help is highly welcomed. This was a memorable Mandela Day gift for our Grade R learners as they also received a jungle gym.”
Mpume Dladla, Edamini Primary School principal thanked all involved for their continued support: “Zero2Five has been at the forefront of ensuring our underprivileged learners get the help they need. As well as providing them with porridge, Zero2Five donated eight boxes of LEGO educational toys which help our learners with counting and building skills. The language boards and puzzles supplied help in developing the vocabulary and language. As our learners are from poverty-stricken areas, a conducive learning environment gives them an equal opportunity.”