29 January 2013

South Africa: Victims of Fire Benefit From Back to School Campaign

press release

Over 100 children from 300 families who were victims of fire from Chris Hani informal settlement in New Brighton in Nelson Mandela Metro became the first beneficiaries for this year's Back to School Campaign.

The campaign is meant to encourage children who come from disadvantaged families to attend school by giving them full school uniform. Sanitary towels are also handed over to disadvantaged girl children who have reached their menstrual periods. These children are identified through a joint effort by social workers, school teachers, religious leaders and community leaders.

On 3 January 2013, 300 households got a shock of their lives when raging fires gutted down their shacks. They lost their belongings in the inferno.

In the spirit of encouraging learners to continue attending school in spite of this tragedy, MEC for Social Development and Special Programmes Pemmy Majodina handed over school uniforms to 120 identified learners from the victims of fire. The South African Communist Party contributed 112 shoes and 112 vouchers for learners. Coega also came to the party. An assurance by the MEC that got the loudest applause from the audience is that "if South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) pension cards are damaged in the fire, they will be made especially for the affected victims." The Gift of the Givers committed to "give parents of the beneficiaries food parcels for three months". SASSA will do likewise, according to the MEC.

Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Zoliswa Ngxixi-Sigayeni showered all the good Samaritans with praise. "All the efforts made by government together with Gift of the Givers have made our tragedy a lot less", she said. A grade 9 learner at Newell High School, Phakama Golela, who is one of the beneficiaries, also "welcomed" all the donations given to them. "We are grateful to all the donors for all their contribution," she said.

By the end of the campaign previous year, 35 000 learners across the province had benefited, surpassing a target of 10 000 learners. This is, according to MEC Majodina, due to the gravity of poverty in the Province. An amount of R3,9 million has been set aside for this year's Campaign targeting 6030 children across the province.

29 Jan 2013

Issued by: Eastern Cape Social Development

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