The Gift of the Givers Foundation has once again come to the aid of Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) students in their time of need after suffering great distress caused by the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal.
The Gift of the Givers’ Liaison Officer, Hlengiwe Nkwanane explained: “providing aid to those affected is paramount to us as Gift of the Givers. Our mantra is: ‘Make a difference. Help bring hope to those who need it most’. We are heartened that the water that we had provided is making a difference. In particular, when there is no water at Umlazi Township.”
This time, the beneficiaries were about 450 MUT students living in three off-campus residences (Uniciti, Villa Mzimba and the White House) in Isipingo as well as 300 on campus students. The plight of these students, like that of many other students in the province, has been largely overshadowed by stories of loss by the business community, and home and movable assert owners.
Highlighting the plight of students
East Coast Radio, a commercial radio station in Durban was present to document the plight of the students. East Coast Radio staff assisted with offloading non-perishable food items from an articulated Gift of the Givers truck. This was before they went to witness the damage caused by floods at Uniciti student residence.
Mbali Mkhize, Senior Director: Marketing and Communications at MUT, said it was important for the public to understand the plight of the students because of the intersection ways in which they were affected by the floods.
“In addition to some of our students’ families suffering damage to their properties, losing their supplies and others who might lose their employment because of floods, our students lost their personal belongings and food supply,” said Mkhize. “What is unfortunate is that despite these multiple levels of devastation, the plight of these students is often unnoticed.”
Bhekumuzi Mtshali, Residence Warden at MUT, said many of these students had to watch helplessly as their refrigerated groceries got spolied when power was cut-off because of the floods. These were groceries earmarked to last a month.
Gift of the Givers aid coming at the right time
Asande Mkhize, Public Administration student, and Xoliswa Kubheka, Public Finance and Accounting, were among the group of flood-hit students living in Uniciti Residence in Isipingo. Besides losing their groceries, the two also ran out of money as they now had to buy water. Like many in the province, they were victims of nature’s irony running out of water because floods cut-off water supply.
Most of these students are beneficiaries of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). The option of family lending a financial hand does not exist. Aid from Gift of the Givers could not have come at a better time.
“The fridges are empty,” the students exclaimed.
The aid from the Gift of the Givers will help inject the much-needed food supply to enable students to continue with their studies as they attempt to put the loss from floods behind them.
Many students were affected by floods regardless of location
Likewise, students in the MUT main campus residences, and others living in residences in the inner city were not spared from the carnage of the floods. About 60 MUT students in the Grand Lodge Residence in Durban’s inner city, are next in line to receive aid.
For some of the students in MUT’s on-campus D Block Residence, the situation was dire. House Committee member, Smanga Ndlovu, said 66 students at D Block, were without food.
“These students do not have the NSFAS support; their families cannot afford to support them,” said Ndlovu. “They have nothing.”
Nkwanyane, said her organisation (Gift of the Givers) had brought an additional aid to 750 more students. These is an addition to the 450 students that were initially assisted.
Nkwanyane confirmed that the organisation’s Founder, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, always reminds them that “Best among people are those who benefit mankind”.
Partnering to help keep our students in the classroom
Mkhize said the partnership with the Gift of the Givers was key to providing relief to these students. She added that such generosity is beyond just assisting students with food and clothing items.
“What the Gift of the Givers is giving our students is not just food and clothing aid; it is the gift of enabling them to go back to class without having to worry about where the next meal will come from. That to me, is the best investment in the future of South Africa that anyone can ever make,” Mkhize explained.