Pictures: Sedick du Toit

Cape Town - Say the words "uniform shopping" and you'll be met with moans and groans from parents and pupils alike over the thought of being yanked out of the bliss of summer holidays to spend money and time in a store.

But for some parents and pupils spending money on school uniforms is not an option. There is no money.

A school where this is generally the case is Litha Primary School in Gugulethu, Cape Town.

Last month principal Dr Sedick du Toit drew attention to the plight of his 685 learners when he shared pictures of the broken school shoes of some of his pupils on Facebook under the words "So this is what poverty looks like". 

"Those pictures represent the reality of poverty that my children experience every day. How can they learn if they are not comfortable, warm and dignified? Du Toit told IOL.

"These children want to learn and have achieved a high level of academic success. You cannot teach a hungry child and by the same token you cannot teach one that has not got at least a basic level of clothing, comfort and dignity."

Du Toit's Facebook post prompted donations from friends and former pupils, but more is needed.

Du Toit says it is not only shoes his pupils need, any donations of new and good quality used uniform are welcome, such as white shirts, grey socks, white socks vests, grey shorts and black jerseys.

The prinicipal says he accept donations at home or at his school or will collect if the size of the donation warrants it. If you prefer to donate money, the school's bank details are: 

Litha Primary School
Standard Bank
a/c number: 072795816
Branch: Vangate Mall 5909 

Du Toit says running a school where pupils don't have the basics others take for granted is hugely challenging yet very rewarding.

"These children appreciate everything I manage to get them and take nothing for granted. 

"We have a very low absentee rate because if many of them do not come to school they will not eat for the day. We do not accept poverty as an "excuse" for lack of academic success. Our mantra is not a township school but a school of excellence in a township. Every day I feel overwhelmed and humbled by the kindness shown by ordinary people who have assisted my school. Many are ex-pupils of mine, others are friends and friends of friends or people I do not even know.

"I feel a tremendous responsibility to the children in my care but at the same time feel very blessed that I am able to help them and give them the best education possible. I am supported by a truly dedicated staff who are really concerned about every child in their care. There is a greater demand on us given the home circumstances of many of these children.
 
"I am truly blessed to be able to help these children. We can make a difference, we can succeed."

* Contact Dr Du Toit at [email protected] 

* As part of our #WeCareWednesdays campaign, IOL features organisations that needs a helping hand.  

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