Mr Phasha Sekhukhune, Ms Nthabiseng Sebothoma, Ms Gift Maboe and Mr Hermino Sithole
On Friday,18 October 2019, the Corporate Affairs Department, in partnership with the Welfare Unit, held a B-Ed Sebokeng Campus poverty alleviation grocery handover for students in need at The Vaal University of Technology (VUT)’s Southern Gauteng Science and Technology Park.
The programme was directed by Ms Faith Mocoancoeng: Manager of Residences, who welcomed the students and mothered them throughout the programme. “One of the important things I want to applaud your BEd students for; you really showed Ubuntu. You know when you come to a tertiary institution it’s not only about learning academics. That is where you learn how to love, how to take care of your brother and sister and this is one of the things you have learnt. You started this project on your own, with no one’s initiative from the institution. We really appreciate the leadership.”
During the programme, the students received a message of support from Ms Maureen Ngwenya: Manager of Residences and House Parent, and Mr Tshepang Phasha Sekhukhune: BEd Chairperson.
“I have worked for this institution for more than 18 years and have never in my life seen students who cared so much about other students to the degree of taking out money from their own pockets to help others. To Phasha and the group, I love you so much and I’m proud of you,” said Ms Ngwenya.
Ms Palesa Ubane: Public Relations Practitioner, spoke on behalf of Dr Narissa Ramdhani, Director: Resource Mobilisation and Mr Mike Khuboni, Executive Director: Corporate Affairs, who played a large role in the success of this programme.
“As a Corporate Affairs Department, we are happy in honouring this plea of poverty, because we are the brand ambassadors of the institution, and tomorrow, you guys are going to go out there and talk about VUT and what your time there was like. We thought if we could help to make your time here at VUT a bit easier, we would be happy to do that today. So, with this contribution we would like to say, we thank you for raising and putting the VUT flag up high and we appreciate students of your calibre, students that think for others. And take initiative.”
The One heart, One Spirit, no to Hunger project aims to assist learners within the education department that come from financially disadvantaged backgrounds and have no funding or student loans and are unable to access food, clothes and finance to make ends meet.
“The project was birthed when our department received its second intake of learners, approximately 235, to study for their education degree. When they were vacated from private accommodations and other VUT residences, they all relocated to VUT Sebokeng residence. It came to my attention that some of the learners who stayed at the residence would take almost two weeks without attending classes, but it was not disclosed why. I personally went to the residences and visited some of those learners. With these visits, I learnt that these students would spend days without eating because they did not have the finances to buy food as their bursary applications were not yet approved,” said Mr Sekhukhune.
“It bothered me as to why someone who came to better their lives with education had difficulty in learning because of such circumstances. I thought as a department, why don’t we make monthly contributions to be able to buy food, stationery and toiletries for needy students,” he continued.
He shared his idea with some of his friends and they loved the idea. They later pitched it to all the BEd students, and it was warmly received by both lecturers and students, and they started making contributions. Mr Sekhukhune and his team were able to buy food parcels for the students who needed them and soon after, those students were able to make their way to lecture rooms again without stressing over what they were going to eat that day.
The project is run by Mr Sekhukhune, Mr Hermino Sithole, Mr Gift Maboe and Ms Nthabiseng Sebothoma, who make sure that the food is bought on time and divided accordingly. The department of education as a whole is involved in this fight to alleviate hunger in our residences.
“We were assisting approximately 35 students for almost seven months until some of them had their bursary applications approved. We are currently assisting 15 students and have received assistance from the Corporate Affairs Department, welfare and the residence house parents,” said Mr Sekhukhune.
Anyone who is willing to contribute or assist the team can contact Phasha Sekhukhune on 0749101176 and Hermino Sithole on 0643730216.