Mother Louise cooks pre-exam meals for pupils
We want them to feel good when they leave here,” said Hendricks.
“We pray with them. We hug them because that could mean so much. We do it with love.”
Sascha-Lee Schouw, one of the hungry pupils, said his father was unemployed and his mother’s salary was low.
“Unemployment is a big issue. A lot of our people are poor and don’t have jobs. Houses are overcrowded.”
“We are a family of five chil- dren and my grandmother also lives with us. We live in a twobedroom house. Some mornings there is nothing to eat.”
He thought Hendricks’s ini- tiative was a “very good idea”.
“We need to take care and help matriculants. Mostly we go to the exams with nothing in our stomachs and can’t concen- trate on what we are doing.”
His classmate Robyn-Kelly Hawes said Hendricks’s meals and encouragement had “made the exam less stressful”.
Voorbrug acting principal Glenville Jonker said Hendricks had had a “positive impact”.
“This is a good intervention, especially for learners with poverty at home. It helps them to write the exam. It gives them more energy.”
Ultimately the school wanted pupils to “help themselves”.
Hendricks’ daughter CarolAnn Johnson, an assistant librarian at Kuils River library, has opened her house to host the breakfasts and lunches.
“I’m a community person,” she said. “For me, it’s about how can I make a difference in somebody’s life. I can’t just live a normal life. I have to get involved.
“I also want to show the kids that it’s possible to rise above circumstances. I grew up in Delft and didn’t have everything. But I want to show them they can rise above what is happening around them everyday.
“In Delft, I see how people don’t have food. I even see somebody selling drugs. But their dreams should not be limited by their circumstances.”
It was worth the effort waking up at 6am to prepare breakfast with her mom and the other volunteers.
“You can see when they leave how relaxed they are,” she said.
Hendricks and Johnson have dreams of eventually helping all Delft’s matrics.
“Our space at my home is limited so we can only accommodate so many. Our dream is to have it at the school and then at all the schools in the area. We would need funding for that.
“We also want to educate pupils about studying after high school. We want to connect them to people so they can know their options, where they can study and get bursaries.”
Sascha-Lee and Robyn-Kelly both want to be teachers. Sascha-Lee said he had applied for a bursary for next year and will also try to find a holiday job after the exams, perhaps working in a restaurant. He’s prepared to wash dishes or clean up.
Robyn-Kelly has lined up work next year to save for her studies.
“Education is very expensive. I want to be a teacher. My English teacher inspired me to be a teacher.”
SUPPORT: Louise Hendricks chats to matric pupils before they head off to write their exams. Hendricks has been cooking meals for matric pupils in Delft since 2013.
DARE TO DREAM: Librarian Carol-Ann Johnson assists her mother Louise Hendricks.