Johannesburg –A Joburg community is working around the clock to raise funds to give an impoverished school a matric farewell for the first time in six years.
The BrightSparks Foundation, an organisation which works with troubled youngsters and those for disadvantaged areas, is working together with Northview High School in Balfour Park, as well as the area’s Community Policing Forum (CPF) to raise funds for the end of year festivities for the matriculants.
The founder and director of BrightSparks, Welcome Witbooi, told the Saturday Star this week that although they have just about a week to come up with the funds for Northview to have a matric farewell, he and his team were doing everything they can to achieve this goal.
But by the middle of this week, they managed to raise around R33 750 of their R120 000 target. “We have just a few days left but we are trying everything we can and we are pushing hard,” Witbooi said.
He said that they have already received support from some businesses such as Sorbet and the CPF but still needed much more for Northview to have a matric farewell on October 6 at Sky City Hotel in Sandton.
“We really don’t want to disappoint these kids but if we don't manage to raise the funds, we will have to cancel the matric farewell which is something none of us want.”
Witbooi added that they have also received donations of matric dresses for the girls and suits for the boys and while they still welcomed more garments, they were urging businesses and the public to donate cash so that they can pay for the venue and host the event.
He said that the school has been unable to have a matric farewell since 2017 because of the school’s financial state as well as the youngsters’ circumstances.
“The school is not financially capable of hosting a matric farewell and haven't been in a position to do so for many years now,” he said.
“Some of the school’s teachers hardly get paid and the school faces many challenges and they have a very limited budget.”
Witbooi added that despite the pupils’ desire for a better life, they also find themselves in challenging circumstances.
“Many of the pupils come from areas like Alexandra, Tembisa, and Soweto.
“During my time at the school I have found them to be committed to education which is key to taking them out of poverty but right now they find themselves in unfortunate situations.”
Witbooi said that it was also for this reason that they wanted to host the school’s matric farewell at Sandton’s Sky City Hotel.
“These youngsters spend most of their time at the school and in their communities and many of them have not been to a hotel or even Sandton so we want to show them the beauty that Joburg has to offer,” he said.
“We want to take them out of the environment they are always in and we want them to know that they are destined for greatness.”
Witbooi said that he was passionate about youth empowerment and during his time with BrightSparks Foundation, including their three years at Northview High School, he aimed to help young people identify who they were and to support them to make the right life decisions.
“We have programmes where we teach young girls about self confidence and we also educate boys about gender-based Violence (GBV),” he said.
Witbooi believes that Northview High School’s Grade 12s deserve a matric farewell and he hopes that he can help this become a reality.
“We hope that we get the support we need to make young people’s dreams come true because I believe it is our duty as a people to invest in young people,” he said.
“I don't want them to get involved in crime or to make the wrong choices in life so we must support them by coming together to give them a matric farewell, come hell, rain or fire.”
If you want to make a monetary contribution, donate a dress or a suit or offer assistance in any other way, visit: https://web.facebook.com/brightsparkSA/?_rdc=1&_rdr or contact Witbooi on: 084 790 6368