The Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on most communities around the globe, most especially the disadvantaged communities and households who’ve experienced loss of income due to countrywide lockdowns and company closures. In April of this year, Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, stated that school nutrition programmes that feed close to 10 million pupils would be abandoned by the department. The consequences of the coronavirus and set regulations calling for the closures of schools and as such, numerous children no longer have access to the daily school feeding schemes they have relied on for so long.
It is for this reason that Veer Steel Mills partnered with Ummlomo, an organisation that aims to deal with societal ills and encourage healing in society through food relief packages and mentorship programmes. Inlight of World Food Day and International Day for the Eradication of Poverty the two organisations donated 250 food parcels to Mdelwa Hlongwane Primary School in Pimville, Soweto.
According to Siddiqca Hardev, Human Resource Manager at Veer Steel Mills, satisfying the basic needs of children in vulnerable communities is a call-to-action many must act on during this uncertain time. “Our future lies in the hands of the children of today and their academic strides, not being able to function at their best due to long hours of hunger shouldn’t be something that hinders their academic growth. That’s why partnerships with NPOs such as Ummlomo are crucial, as they play a pivotal role in identifying these underprivileged schools who desperately need the aid from corporates such as ours, allowing children to face each academic day at their best,” says Hardev.
Ummlomo, founded by Zimasa Njoli, comprises an initiative called IAMRoyalty: a school initiative that seeks to deal with issues facing young people in a programme designed to encourage, build, and provide wholeness to their livelihoods.
“This programme seeks to equip young girls and boys with essential lifeskills to face academic and social structures. Through this initiative, we also aim to supply the candidate or scholar with basic toiletries, school uniforms, shoes, and food hampers,” says Njoli.
Pimville Ward 22 Councilor representative, Miso Magutyana, extended gratitude towards the Ummlomo Foundation and Veer Steel Mills for bringing this initiative to Mdelwa Hlongwane Primary School in Pimville. “Children at this school have faced many challenges, but always remain resilient and motivated to push through all adversity. This demonstration of planting the seed of hope at the school has not only enriched the children’s hearts but has served to encourage a strong-minded youth,”says Magutyana.
Accepting the handover on behalf of the 250 children was Sibongile Khoza, the Principal of Mdelwa Hlongwane Primary School. “We’re filled with so much joy to be recipients of these hampers for our students and their families who need to pull strings to make ends meet. Thank you to the partnership between Veer Steel Mills and Ummlomo creating a day that the students, teachers, and families will never forget,” says Khoza.
Hardev and Veer Steel Mills urge corporates to rise to the occasion in aiding NPOs respond to the call to end the scourge of poverty and direct company initiatives in ensuring no child goes to bed hungry. “We are grateful for companies like Veer Steel Mills who did not hesitate to heed our call for help to make this day possible,” says Njoli.