School gets R105 000 to help with fees, food

Athlone’s Alexander Sinton High School will get R105 000 to help some of its neediest pupils with their fees over the next three years.

Chinese Consul General Kang Yong and Cape Grand China Charity Foundation director Jimmy Hu presented the school with a cheque on Thursday August 17.

The school’s relationship with Mr Kang started last year after he read about its legacy project in a newspaper.

The article, accompanied by a picture of Nelson Mandela, who visited the school in 1993, described the school’s history and the role it played in the struggle against apartheid.

Mr Kang then contacted Mr Hu, with a request to support the school.

Deputy principal, Fazilet Bell, said: “Our Chinese counterparts are making a sterling contribution to struggling parents by setting up scholarships, which will run for three years from 2018.

“They are also giving us 100 food parcels to alleviate the plight of some of our parents. It is tough out there.

“Last year, we also benefited from their generosity, with their food parcels, monetary contribution towards our food bank, and a generous donation of bedding to the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children, our organisation of choice.

“We cemented our relationship by signing a contract for the next three years. Together we share in the vision that the education of our children is paramount in building South Africa, and this is also the way out of poverty.

“More and more parents cannot afford school fees, let alone food. We are so proud that they are here to honour education. Many of them said they come from poor backgrounds too.”

Spokesperson for the Chinese delegation, Rebecca Ni, said that after Mr Kang had read the article, a visit to the school was arranged.

“We got to know the principal and learnt that some pupils were suffering. Then we gave something for their food bank. This year we decided that we did not want to do something once-off, and signed a three-year project with the school,” Ms Ni said.

Teacher Virginia Gabriels is the co-ordinator of this project.

“The representative council of learners collects food for the needy. There are many needy families within our school. We usually issue food parcels to the pupils on a Friday. We are happy to have the Chinese delegation on board. My role is to liaise with them, attend meetings and inform them who would benefit from the scholarships. The bursar helps to identify beneficiaries. Over the next three years, 35 pupils a year, will be identified to receive R1 000 each, towards their school fees,” Ms Gabriels said.

School governing body chairman Rashied Viljoen said: “I think this is one of the best things that can happen at any school.

“This is proof that we are doing something right. We are looking forward to a great relationship with the Chinese.”