Having the right school shoes or shirt is a simple thing, but it can help to make pupils feel more self-confident and give them a greater sense of belonging.
At an event at Port Elizabeth’s Raymond Mhlaba Sports Centre in Motherwell in February, 85 pupils from 17 schools in some of the city’s most financially depressed communities received uniform items including a jersey, shirt, tie, shoes and socks, as well as trousers for the boys, and skirts or dresses for the girls.
The donations were part of EnviroServ Waste Management’s Alex Matikinca Dress a Learner programme, which has been running for several years.
EnviroServ public affairs manager Makgabo van Niekerk said a sense of identity and pride could boost learning among pupils.
“Not having the correct school uniform can lead to children feeling embarrassed — or even to lifelong feelings of a lack of self-esteem.”EnviroServ’s Makgabo van Niekerk
“This, along with other social challenges faced by children, can lead to absenteeism and missing out on vital work. Being included empowers children to perform better and hopefully secure brighter futures for themselves.”
The schools decided which pupils would be the most deserving recipients.
The schools which benefitted from the donations included David Vuku Primary, Enkwenkwezini Primary, Funimfundo Primary, Colchester Primary, Mfesane High, Ncedo High, Masiphathisane High, Mdengentonga Primary, Coselelani High, Soqhayisa High, Ikhwezelihle Primary, Vukanibantu Primary, Vulumzi High, Cingani High, Lonwabo Special School, Khulile Primary and Coega Primary.
All of the schools are in communities near the company’s Aloe landfill site.
Masiphathisane High School teacher Noxolo Mangesi said the pupils were grateful to receive the items.
“You could just see how proud and confident they were after receiving the clothing.”Noxolo Mangesi
High school teacher Mangesi says “Some of these kids are shy or even ashamed because their clothing has holes or is torn, and they get teased.”
“It is the sense of identity that comes with having the uniform — and a sense of belonging.” said Mangesi.
The “Dress a Learner” programme has clothed 880 pupils around South Africa so far and is aiming to reach the 1,000 mark in 2020.