The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Fatima Chohan, and some staff members joined volunteers from the Easter Peak Community Welfare and Safety Forum to paint five classrooms and two ablution blocks at Easter Peak Primary School for Mandela Day.
Easter Peak, which marks its 50th anniversary this year, is the oldest school in Manenberg, with 750 registered pupils.
Vanchasco Peters, chairperson of the Easter Peak Community Welfare and Safety Forum, said Ms Chohan’s department approached his organisation to partner on this project.
The organisation is actively involved with the school, and has a youth group which meets once a week on the school premises.
“The Department of Home Affairs provided all the paint and our members volunteered to do the work. We started on Tuesday July 17 and plan on finishing today (Wednesday July 18).
We have a youth group which meets every Friday, but we did not have a space to accommodate them. We then approached the school and met with the school governing body (SGB) and the principal. Our long-term goal is to have an intervention and after-care programme. Children come with issues from home, and we need to create a safe space for them. We have taken the youth on excursions and a camp, and we hope to have more community participation – the community must take ownership. If they want to see change, they must put something in it,” Mr Peters said.
Principal Ebrahim Joseph said they are grateful for the initiative.
“It is because of the organisation’s partnership with the school, that we could benefit from this. We made an assessment and it was decided that the classrooms, the ablution block, and the feeding scheme’s kitchen, are in need of a paint. Some of these rooms will also be fitted with tiles and blinds. They won’t know how grateful we are. We would also like to express our appreciation to the members of SAPS who were here to hand out toiletries. It will go a long way for our pupils. Before we can teach, we need to see to the children’s physical and emotional needs,” Mr Joseph said.
Mr Joseph and teacher Geraldine Mumthiem also happened to celebrate their birthdays on Wednesday July 18.
While addressing the pupils, Ms Chohan told them if they want an equal opportunity, they need to be educated.