Smiles and laughter were the order of the day as Continuing Education at University of Pretoria Trust (CE at UP) did their part for Mandela Day 2015 at the Sunnyside Orphanage Home in Pretoria on Friday, 17 July 2015.
Representatives from CE at UP’s various divisions visited the Home and used their 67 minutes to play with the children and give them some well-deserved and needed supplies, clothing, stationery items, toys and a nice treat (or two) as part of their Shoebox Project for 2015.
Through the Shoebox Project, CE at UP’s staff members donate needed materials and create tailor-made “goody boxes” that are labelled and decorated for each child at the Home. Each box is filled with age-appropriate materials that the children need together with something sweet and a toy.
Established in 2011, the Home caters for homeless and vulnerable children between three and 12 years of age. Dorothy Mfundisi, secretary at the Home, remarked that the children are taken in through a court order from the Department of Social Development and are provided with a place where they can feel safe and are taken care of. This is achieved through the assistance of volunteers, many of which are high school learners in the area who give of their holiday time and weekends to help out.
Puseletso Matsapola, a Grade 11 learner at Loreto Convent School in Pretoria is one of these volunteers who help out on a weekly basis. According to her, it is important to give back to the community and help out where possible.
“The kids enjoy it a lot, because it’s not often that they get to do something this much fun and also get things that they need. When someone [like CE at UP] steps in to help out, it means that they will have more of their needs met and hopefully have a better life,” she says.
Puseletso has commended CE at UP for what they are doing and urges more people to do the same and get involved in helping others. “They should look for more orphanages with shortages, especially those that don’t receive much attention.”
CE at UP’s staff members were also deeply touched by the initiative.
“It was with absolute awe to see how much heart each colleague has, and how much effort each and every person put in the preparations leading up to the day,” Maryke Groenewald, programme manager, stated. “I’d like to personally thank my colleagues who attended the day for putting so many smiles on the faces of those little kids.”
“Not only by the physical gifts they were giving, but for the way love was given. Every child enjoyed each second of the 67 minutes CE at UP spent there, playing games, singing songs and just laughing together.”
Ms Mfundisi shared the same sentiment, “What CE at UP is doing is wonderful, a day like this is important to the kids because they feel loved.”
“On behalf of the children, I am very grateful – words cannot describe how grateful I am. Please continue doing this wonderful work, and this should not only be for us – reach out to other organisations like ours.”
Above: Children and CE at UP staff at the Sunnyside Orphanage Home