Drive aims to take stress out of going back to school
IN AN effort to boost academic results and deal with a lack of school resources for disadvantaged pupils living in townships, a team of artists have initiated a Back2School 2014 charity drive to collect stationery.
The project was initiated by Young Smiles, a Gugulethu charity formed in June, which aims to bring about “positive change” and motivate pupils to aspire to a brighter future by helping them improve their schooling.
Citing the trend of children dropping out of school, particularly in the townships, because of a lack of funds and learning materials, Young Smiles was established by the founder of Artistic.I.Am Photography and illustrator Luxolo Poyo, 22, and freelance photographer Sinethemba Dangazele, 21.
“We as Young Smiles have derived this initiative to try and combat this recurring situation of pupils dropping out. It’s a movement that caters for less fortunate children living in informal communities all over Cape Town. The programme is a way to engage and educate young people in taking back their future, helping one another and showing the rest of the country that together we can indeed achieve more,” Poyo said.
The charity was geared to providing a platform to “bet- ter” the education experience, aiding young people wishing to achieve good results.
“There are super-smart kids in these schools, but they often don’t get noticed because they lack resources,” Poyo said.
In August, Young Smiles hosted a poetry event to raise funds for Phakama, a local organisation that teaches children to dance and play instruments.
The fund- raiser was followed by a drive to collect donations of clothing, books, toys and other items which could improve the home life of underprivileged children.
But they soon realised that pupils were struggling to excel in their schoolwork, many having unemployed parents unable to afford basic and muchneeded educational tools. The duo recently went on to initiate the Back2School 2014 drive which, depending on the amount of stationery collected, will be delivered to Grade 8 pupils at various schools.
“As we all agree, education is one’s most powerful tool to succeed in life. We believe no child should be placed with the burden of not being able to achieve in class due to the lack of books, pens and any other tools required in classroom learning.
“With so many parents dealing with unemployment, we strive to relieve the stress of the back-to-school season,” said Poyo.
The charity team chose chil- dren entering high school, who they said often spent the first few weeks “writing on scrap paper” while waiting for writing materials, or stayed home because they didn’t have the right uniform or the correct stationery.
“If you look at the textbook delay which Limpopo schools experienced, imagine just not having a book to write in,” Poyo said.
Hoping to draw interest from schools across the city, the charity has already been approached by Claremont High School, which wants to get its pupils involved in the stationery drive.
Dangazele believes that without good education, the rate of poverty will continue to surge.
“Education should be the number one priority, and that’s why the Back2School 2014 drive is important to promote equal education for everyone,” he said.
But they are frank that they can’t do it alone.
“We hope to inspire other young people to get involved in implementing change in their communities too.
“We ask capable families and organisations to help grow this programme, and change the lives of hundreds, possibly thousands of schoolchildren,” Poyo said.
● For information on how to donate stationery, visit YoungsmilesSA@ yahoo.co.za.