UNESCO distributed 1200 hygiene packs to learners affected by floods in South Africa
To provide relief to the KwaZulu-Natal communities, UNESCO and the South African National Department of Basic Education handed over 1200 hygiene packs to students on 15 September 2022. 700 kits were distributed to girls and 500 to boys in Intinyane Primary School, situated in the Umlazi next to Durban in South Africa.
Students showed their appreciation for the hygiene packs and emphasized how this can help their families and how important this will be to allow them to go to school without worries and concentrate on their studies. A grade 7 learner highlighted that these hygiene packs would help her and her classmates to take care of themselves before coming to school and to be healthy; she also mentioned this is helping students to focus on schoolwork and to avoid bullying.
The floods occurred in April 2022 and affected more than 630 schools, with 101 schools being inaccessible whilst 124 schools experienced extensive damage. In addition to the damage to schools, many children lost their household contents and more than 400 people lost their lives.
Deputy Minister of Basic Education Dr. Regina Mhaule expressed her gratitude to UNESCO for the compassion demonstrated in the province: “We warmly accept this act of solidarity amid the devastation caused by the KwaZulu-Natal Floods. The KwaZulu-Natal young people have had to battle the effects of a triple whammy, the July riots, Covid-19 and the April and May floods. The KwaZulu-Natal floods left more than 630 schools in distress. Beyond the damage to school infrastructure, the floods had a negative impact on the livelihoods of communities, learners included. The eThekwini District, where we are today, is among the hardest-hit districts; many people died. Thousands of homes were damaged and destroyed, resulting in people being homeless and placed at places of shelter. Among the worst affected are school-going learners who lost their belongings and schoolbooks during recent disasters. Over 400 people perished during the floods. In the region, 258 died during the July riots. Not to mention thousands who died due to Covid-19. Most of them were breadwinners, mothers, grandmothers and fathers of the children attending this event. We consider the extension of a helping hand to our people as a sign that we are not alone in our hour of need. We appreciate the gesture and wish all organizations involved more success and milestones in being of service to humanity.”
Dr JB Mthembu, the Deputy Director-General for the Curriculum Management and Delivery at the KwaZulu-Natal Education Department emphasized the importance of donors' contribution: “The education districts have done exceptionally well in administering learners support programmes to ensure that the majority of learners are enabled to gain entry to the bachelor studies at institutions of higher learning and training. I would like to thank the Global Fund and UNESCO for the donation. This will encourage our learners to work hard in their studies.”
The South African National Department of Basic Education and the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Education Department are encouraged by the intensified donation aimed at getting the KwaZulu-Natal Province schooling back on track following the severe floods encountered by several communities. Thanks to the donations, students in the hardest-hit areas are encouraged to focus on schoolwork and to further their education.