E3’s Back to School programme is working directly with 100 orphaned and vulnerable children at Mdutshini Primary School in Elandskop, an isolated rural township, 62km outside of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. HIV is one of the leading causes of death and suffering. Parents are unemployed because there is no work nearby, no opportunity to travel for work and most are uneducated. Many children are orphaned and are being cared for by elderly grandparents and relatives. Grandparents receive a very small state pension, which is not sufficient to afford enough food let alone pay for school uniform and shoes. Families live in poverty and children struggle to attend school regularly. Some children walk as far as 4km from home without breakfast and look forward to a school meal, which is provided every day.
It is not just about giving a uniform and shoes. Going to school gives the children and their families hope for the future and shows that someone cares about their situation. Sinatra Matimelo (E3 CEO) and E3 Office Manager, Sharon Swartz, are managing this project. E3’s partnership:
- Provides school uniform, shoes and books to the 100 children.
- Runs biblical life skills workshops at the school to help the Back to School children cope with their situations, look to the future with hope and make good choices in life.
- Built a new school kitchen where 120 meals are prepared every day for pupils at the school – for many it is their only meal of the day!
- Built a Jungle Gym so the children have a safe and fun place to play at break times.
- Is setting up a vegetable garden to grow fresh produce for school meals.
- Budget for Mdutshini and other Life Skills and bulk purchases of uniform: £7,800