I live in an economically deprived area (Malvern, Johannesburg), and a couple of years ago a lady sold vetkoek on the street across the road from my house. Sometimes, her children would help her during school hours. I discovered that they were a very frightened family, refugees from the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. I gained their confidence over a period of time and learned that their children didn't attend school because the parents didn't know how to enrol them, didn't have any money. and none of them spoke English. Long story short, managed to get them children enrolled at Malvern Primary School. As any parent of a school-going child will know, the stationery requirements are incredibly expensive and although we bought the children uniforms, we weren't able to buy the stationery. I contacted John Robbie of Radio 702, who put me in touch with Penny Stein of the Dischem Foundation. Dischem have been absolutely amazing - each January I send them a list of stationery requirements and for the past 3 years they have provided these amazing kids with all their requirements. Let me just say that from no schooling and speaking no English, the children have worked hard, under extremely difficult conditions at home (an extended family of 9 live in a room ... one room, and sometimes not enough food to go around), and pass their exams with C averages (with some A's in there too). Dischem have been just amazing - you cannot put a price on the pride and dignity that they have afforded these children, who are equipped with the books, pens, pencils, maths sets, and all the other things they need to excel at school. The parents/guardians are lovely, dignified people who have found themselves in a position of poverty that we cannot imagine. Thank you, Dischem for the difference you are making to the lives of these folk. Watch this space - these kids are going places, and it wouldn't be possible without Dischem's most generous assistance.
Be in the know follow us on Twitter