Rugby World Cup winning captain Siya Kolisi and others from his former high school in Port Elizabeth have come together to try to alleviate the plight of families hardest hit by the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Thanks to two initiatives — the Kolisi Food Relief Project as well as an appeal by the Grey Foundation for assistance with some pupils’ technological challenges — more than R150,000 has been raised and converted into hundreds of food parcels.
Founded by Siya and Rachel Kolisi, the Kolisi Foundation collaborated with Grey High School in Port Elizabeth to put together food parcels – with parents, pupils, friends of the school and other old boys also lending support.
Starting on May 23, the food parcels were distributed to needy families as well as to the Emsengeni Primary School, Kolisi’s former primary school in Zwide, where he grew up. Grey pupils gave of their own time during the lockdown to assist.
Among them was grade 12 pupil Daniel Butler, who says it is something anyone could do.
“I feel like everyone should try to do their own part just to help out. It’s a simple thing that anyone can do,” Butler said.
Besides appealing for food donations, the Grey Foundation also began raising funds to assist technologically disadvantaged pupils at the school.
“Connectivity and devices to allow learners to continue to study during lockdown is an imperative project at this time,” says Grey Foundation chairman Andrew Bradley.
“All funds raised towards the technology appeal will be used to equip those boys with limited data and devices with the necessary tools to continue learning online.”
Grey High School rector Christian Erasmus adds: “There are so many families that are struggling out there who simply do not have access to the technology to learn effectively via the Internet.”
Thanks to donations both from SA and abroad, the Grey Foundation has achieved 50% of its target and had already funded digital infrastructure to facilitate online learning in some of its classrooms, as well as supplying laptops those pupils who had only been able to access online learning from their or their parents’ cellphones.