File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – She was so moved by the plight of the pupils at Tembaletu School in Gugulethu that Anusha Naidoo, manager for Circuit 8 in the metro central education district, requested donations for the school in lieu of presents for the birthday of her 80-year-old father-in-law.

The school caters for pupils with special education needs with varied physical and academic disabilities, many of whom are in wheelchairs.

Naidoo said the school struggled financially, especially with pupil transport expenses and very little financial support from parents.

“The school hostel was broken into two years ago and the hostel TV and other articles were stolen. This was the only form of entertainment that the pupils had in the evenings.

“When I heard of this and visited the hostel, I was very disturbed,” she said.

Stepping into action, Naidoo sourced the donation of a TV from a religious organisation and then came up with the unique fund-raising idea for her father-in law’s birthday.

“I encouraged guests to support the school by donating money towards school uniforms - tracksuits, jerseys, shoes - and educational games for the hostel.”

The family had raised enough money to purchase educational games for the hostel pupils and donated R8 000 towards school uniforms.

They visited the school to hand over their gifts, serving a meal to the pupils, as well as some surprise luxuries.

Tembaletu principal Ayanda Mtshazo said: “The pupils look very smart in their new school uniforms, which contributes to maintaining discipline in our school.”

Western Cape Education Department head Brian Schreuder added: “It is a wonderful example that has been set and I encourage everyone to follow and think of ways of doing similar initiatives to the benefit of schools.

“It is an example of living our values and caring for our young people.”

Department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said the provincial government endorsed six core values: competence, responsiveness, caring, integrity, innovation and accountability.

“In the past two years, the department has promoted and encouraged ‘values-driven learning’ at all schools, as well as a ‘values-driven’ organisation at the department.

“It is therefore wonderful to continuously see and hear of stories inspired by positive values.”