Fast little loans
PUPILS at two impoverished primary schools in Kwaguqa Township near Witbank are sitting comfy and pretty for a change thanks to the generosity of two women’s organisations and a coal-mining company.
The Xstrata Coal SA Women in Mining Forum at the company’s Impunzi Complex, in partnership with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) Women’s Structures in the Highveld region, recently hosted an event during which they donated school uniforms and food to needy Kwaguqa Primary School pupils. They also donated 100 chairs to Nkonjane Primary School where the pupils had to make do with broken furniture.
Siphiwe Litchfield, NUM’s Impunzi Complex branch secretary and full-time shaft steward, describes the gift as historic and a demonstration of what co-operation between workers and employers can achieve in assisting the poor.
“This donation is our attempt to ensure that our kids are able to learn in an environment that is conducive to learning,” she says. “The pupils at Nkonjane had to sit in three-legged chairs, some of which did not have back rests. When we saw this, we felt we needed to do something and approached Xstrata Coal who joined us in the initiative.”
Xstrata Coal HR manager Sisi Mahobe says the company’s participation shows Xstrata’s commitment to community development.
“As workers and management we come from the same communities that are experiencing these challenges,” says Mahobe. “We desire to give these pupils the opportunity to learn and take advantage of what education can do to change their circumstances.
“While most of these pupils come from adverse backgrounds, such activities give us an opportunity to motivate the kids and instill the value of hard work.”
The initiative received the endorsement of the local municipality and the community, through Emalahleni Councillor, Thandi Mokoena, who was guest speaker at the hand-over ceremony. Kwaguqa Primary principal Dumisani Mahlangu thanked both organisations for their generosity and for putting the interest of the kids first.
“This gift will not only benefit the school but will also benefit community members and parents who are struggling to buy uniforms for their children,” he said.