Gauteng Government Bridges The Socio-Economic Gap Through The Provision Of Basic Needs For Learners

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By Tshepo Motholo

Kamogelo Mohapi, an unemployed single parent, awakened with a sense of anticipation on the morning of January 17, 2023. Today marked the launch of a heartwarming initiative led by Mbali Hlophe, the Gauteng Member of the Executive Council (MEC) for Social Development and Agriculture, Rural Development, and Environment. The campaign aimed to kick-start the 2024 academic year with a focus on providing essential support to learners in the Sedibeng region.

The campaign involved the distribution of school uniforms and dignity packs to learners from various schools in the Sedibeng region. This thoughtful gesture is part of the Gauteng Provincial Government’s annual commitment to supporting less fortunate learners through the Bana Pele Programme. The programme is designed to bridge the socio-economic gap, ensuring that all learners, regardless of their background, have the necessary resources to thrive in the national educational system.

Kamogelo’s child had been a beneficiary of the programme since grade 8 and was currently in grade 10. Grateful for the support, Kamogelo expressed his appreciation, recognising the significance of the uniform for his family’s financial stability. “I appreciate the uniform because at least I can be able to do some other essential things with SASSA money,” he remarked, reflecting on the program’s impact on their lives.

Distributing school uniforms and dignity packs is more than just a charitable act; it represents a crucial step in restoring dignity to children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. By meeting their basic needs, the programme endeavours to cultivate an environment where learners can concentrate on their studies without experiencing a sense of inferiority compared to their peers.

Mohapi emphasised the positive impact of the initiative on the dignity and confidence of the students, stating, “Our children from poor backgrounds have dignity now, and they can be able to focus on their studies without being inferior to other learners.” This sentiment underlines the profound effect that small gestures can have on the lives of students facing financial hardships.

In addition to praising the initiative, Mohapi took the opportunity to encourage other parents to participate actively in their children’s education. He stressed the importance of parents being present on the first day of school, urging African parents to support their children during this crucial time. Expressing disappointment in the low attendance of parents, he encouraged a collective effort to ensure that every child feels supported from the beginning of their academic journey.

MEC Mbali Hlophe’s leadership in the school reopening campaign showcased the profound impact of government initiatives on students and their families. By attending to the basic needs of learners, the Gauteng Provincial Government is not only prioritising education but also nurturing dignity and equality among the youth, paving the way for a brighter collective future.

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