Excitement was evident in the faces of the pupils from different schools in Port Alfred at the handover of school shoes and uniforms at Titi Jonas Hall last Friday.
The handover was a corporate social responsibility initiative by the Real Towers Group, a project management, engineering and construction company based in Johannesburg, with offices in East London and Durban.
Real Towers Group CEO Mzukisi Kenneth Njibana said handing over school uniforms to assist vulnerable or orphaned children who cannot afford uniforms was a way of giving back to the community he grew up in.
“The aim of supporting these schools is to provide special social services to learners and attempt to improve their performance,” Njibana said.
He said it was the first of his company’s corporate social investment (CSI) projects to be done in Port Alfred, and the main aim was to reach out to children in need, promote community participation on issues affecting children, and provide social relief to families in need.
Five township schools – Dambuza Primary, Mtyobo Primary, Kuyasa Combined, Nomzamo High and Port Alfred Primêre – were each asked to identify 15 pupils to receive a pair of school shoes, socks and a shirt, with a total of 75 beneficiaries. In addition, Real Towers Group identified an early childhood development centre, Ikhabantwana creche, to receive mattresses, blankets, tables and chairs for the young children.
Speaking on behalf of the mayor, who was unavailable, ANC councillor Nosicelo Xhasa gave the pupils a few words of encouragement, telling them about the importance of education and that they should focus on their studies in order to make it in life.
“We want to produce future leaders, we want you guys to work hard so that you may become what you want to be in life. In order to be able to do that you need to study, and work hard in everything that you do,” Xhasa said.
The main speech was given by Reverend Godukile Mbolekwa, who also motivated the pupils and gave some words of wisdom to the councillors that were present on the day, one of whom was Njibana’s brother, Stwiga Njibana, the Ward 9 councillor.
“As a person who has been to primary school I believe I understand the struggles of a person who is in primary school but doesn’t have much from home. This gift must mean a lot to you. What has been done by Mzukisi shows how much he cares about the town he grew up in. We need leaders like him, we hope our leaders could learn from him and give back to the community as well,” Mbolekwa said.
BY NTOMBENTSHA MSUTU