This week sees the handover of no fewer than 273 sets of school uniforms across 15 schools in the Northern Cape and Limpopo regions. As part of SIOC Community Development Trust’s (SIOC-CDT) Kanako Social Responsibility programme.
“Our goal is to provide assistance and care to as many young learners across our communities as possible,” says Vusani Malie, CEO, SIOC-CDT. “By providing these school uniforms, SIOC-CDT aims to not only minimise the number of days learners are absent from school as a result of a lack of uniforms but, in so doing, to encourage and enable higher educative performance and motivate young learners.”
Established in 2006 by Sishen Iron Ore Company (SIOC) (Pty) Ltd to invest in the uplifting of the communities in which the mining company operates in the Northern Cape and Limpopo, SIOC-CDT invests significantly in community development projects aimed at ensuring sustainability beyond mining operations.
The schools were identified with assistance from the Department of Education at district level as well as by working directly with the beneficiary schools in each area to identify leaners that were most in need. The school uniform project, an extension of its annual school shoe project, forms part of a much bigger and more holistic community education focus. “To date, this focus has seen the distribution of female hygiene sanitary products and school shoes across various schools falling within our communities,” continues Malie. “We saw the need and knew we had to respond.”
Feedback to date affirms that this initiative is playing a very important role in these children’s lives. “It has restored their self-esteem and confidence,” says one of the school beneficiaries. “Some learners would stay at home simply because they did not have a jersey to wear.
“They now feel equal to and the same as their peers. This leads to them feeling so much more comfortable at school, with their focus now able to be directed 100 percent on their schoolwork.”
Initiatives such as this result in the school environment becoming a much safer space for learners and has greatly encouraged them. “It has also led to a much stronger connection between the school and its learners with the wider community. If learners are happy, parents are happy.”
“One of our greatest goals is for our communities to see us as an organisation that both understands and responds to community challenges,” continues Malie. “We want to draw even closer to our communities and are committed to getting involved as frequently as possible in projects that truly make a difference in the areas in which we operate. A key component of this will be our continued focus on education and learners’ needs.”
The list of recipient schools was collated with the assistance of the Department of Education at District Level and includes:
Joe Morolong: Marataditse Primary School, Tongwane Middle School, Bojelagomo Primary School, K S Shuping High School, Itekeleng Primary School, Pako Middle School, Kopano Middle School
Gamagara: Maikaielelo Primary School
Ga-Segonyana: Relekile Primary School, Vlakfontein Primary school,
Tsantsabane: Agang Thuto Primary school, Asmandia Primary School
Thabazimbi: Dwaalboom Primary, Mabogopedi Primary