Mother Louise cooks pre-exam meals for pupils

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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.

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