– by Nkosingiphile Ntshangase
Durban went through an outburst of public violence that had severe consequences for the city during July 2021. The COVID-19 restrictions that inflamed the already dire unemployment crises and food insecurity were considered significant contributing factors. Amidst the chaos, UKZN Extended Learning (UEL) couldn’t help but think of the children and those left vulnerable due to the unrest. In the spirit of Mandela month, we decided to adopt Vukukhanye in supporting children in foster care and early education.
On the 14th of October, UEL was able to drop off care packages to the 36 children at the Vukukhanye Educare Centre in Chesterville. Each care bag contained slippers, socks, activity books, hygiene products, treats, and stuffed toys for the children. The donation was well received by both the children and teachers, and they showed an incredible amount of appreciation expressed through song and dance. At UEL, we prioritise being education leaders and also strive to make a difference in our local community by helping in the spaces where children can thrive. This initiative would not have been possible without the contribution of UEL staff members, who were given the opportunity to sponsor a child. We also wish to thank our partnering companies, Intombi Promotional Gifts, for sponsoring drawstring bags, lunch bags, toiletry bags and stuffed animals, and SRK, wholesaler and distributor of plastic supplies, for sponsorship lunch boxes.
The public sector, civil society, private sector, and the media all have a social responsibility to a certain extent; however, the real change will come from each person helping the next. As a society, there is always room for improvement and reinforcing positive actions, which can be achieved by joining local civil society groups and supporting those in need of assistance. We must commit to nurturing and protecting child-centred development by directing our resources to reach a brighter future. Thus, ensuring that the future generations of this country are accounted for by giving services and the support they need. We need to stand up and take the initiative to rectify the injustices perpetrated in our communities. The results may not be apparent overnight, but it is still worth striving for in this lifetime.