Feeding scheme providing hot meals for students welcomed

Durban University of Technology students queue up for their food packs provided by Aunt Caroline after attending their classes. Picture: Supplied

Durban University of Technology students queue up for their food packs provided by Aunt Caroline after attending their classes. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 11, 2023


Durban — Aunt Caroline rice has committed to provide about 17 000 meals to students across KwaZulu-Natal over the next three weeks in a bid to support those still trying to find accommodation and allow them to focus on their studies instead of worrying about where their next meal is coming from.

Despite the challenges faced by KZN’s first-year students, driven largely by the country’s economic downturn and their disadvantaged backgrounds, their resilience and resolve have motivated the rice brand to embark on an initiative to provide meals every afternoon to needy students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban University of Technology and the Mangosuthu University of Technology.

Tiger Brand’s marketing director, Thembi Sehloho, said Aunt Caroline was at the centre of every activity in the province.

“When we saw some posts on social media and photos of students who struggle to find accommodation, and some are struggling to register at institutions of higher learning, we wondered whether these students were going to bed without having eaten.

“That is when we decided to start an initiative to provide warm meals for these students, at least every evening, so they go to bed well-nourished.

“It is a known fact that at the beginning of each academic year most students from poor backgrounds go through a lot of challenges, such as finding a place to stay and then having to buy a bed, blankets, cooking utensils – everything,” Sehloho said.

Sehloho said that, in the spirit of ubuntu, she urged other brands in the province, and also ordinary members of the community, to rally around their initiative and help students in need.

DUT student representative council president Sanele Khumalo said the initiative would give students something to look forward to and would sustain them during their evening classes and group study sessions.

DUT student and feeding scheme beneficiary Sibusiso Gumede said they appreciated the initiative, and that it had helped them to have food which they sometimes found themselves having to struggle for.

Gumede added that this had relieved him of the stress of always having to worry about his next meal, instead of focusing on his studies.

“I appeal to the organisers and other sponsors to help make this initiative last for a year, so that struggling students won’t have to stress about food.”

UKZN’s SRC secretary, Nosipho Manzini, said they welcomed the initiative, adding that it had helped a lot of students who were still waiting for NSFAS funding. “We wish this initiative could be extended for the whole year,” Manzini added.

MUT’s media liaison officer, Bheki Hlophe, said the initiative had not yet been rolled out at MUT.

DUT and UKZN spokespersons had not responded to requests for comment by the time of publication.

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