With schools officially opening today (Wednesday January 11), 450 pupils from Vrygrond and surrounding areas had one less thing to worry about when they received stationery for their new school year.
African Equity Empowerment Investments (AEEI), formerly known as Sekunjalo Investment Holdings, has been working with Vrygrond NPO Where Rainbows Meet for the past five years to provide stationery for children in the area.
This year R85 000 worth of stationery – including books, pens and crayons – was donated for children from Grade R to Grade 12.
Mymoena Scholtz, founder of Where Rainbows Meet, said many parents could not afford to buy stationery for their children.
“Many families receive grants, and many can hardly afford to keep food on their tables. So stationery is often the last thing parents and guardians worry about, especially after holidays,” she said.
Ms Scholtz said the initiative had started when the group decided to get stationery for the children attending its aftercare. Soon they realised just how big the need was in the community.
“Education becomes the first priority, and with many pupils coming to us every year saying they couldn’t afford stationery, something had to be done.
“We at Rainbows believe that every child deserves the necessary resources to equip them for the school year. With the help of AEEI, we have been able to assist many more children,” she said.
Cherie Hendricks, AEEI’s corporate affairs and sustainability director, said she had been involved with the NPO in a personal capacity and brought the company on board later.
“Since starting this initiative, we have had children who have gone back to school when they received the stationery and some have even received bursaries from us,” she said.
Mina Jonkers’s daughter, Nicole, is a matric pupil and she said the stationery donation had been a welcome boost for the family. “I am not able to work because I am ill, and Nicole’s father died when she was in Grade 1. Being a single parent is very difficult, and I cannot afford many of the things needed, but the donation from AEEI helps immensely, and I am very grateful to them and Where Rainbows Meet,” said an emotional Ms Jonkers.
Nicole said: “Now I can concentrate on my school work and passing Grade 12, and when I finish studying to become a teacher, I will come back and help the children of my community.”