Fire-ravaged Umlazi School Receives Replacement Mobile Classrooms Valued At R485 000 From South African Muslim Charitable Trust

Historically disadvantaged Grade R and Grade 1 at a severely under-resourced Umlazi, Durban, school whose development phase education was put on hold after a fire destroyed classrooms are once again enjoying their lessons, thanks to the donation of two brand new mobile classrooms, valued at R485 000.

The fire, which swept through a park-home and wendy house being used as additional classrooms given the need for COVID-19 social distancing protocols, destroyed stationery, educational toys, furniture, shelving and sick-bay equipment, leaving learners without the means to an education.

Hearing of the school’s plight, the South African Muslim Charitable Trust (SAMCT) was quick to act, providing the school with two new replacement mobile classrooms, ensuring its ability to quickly resume vital development phase lessons at a time when so much time has been lost in the country’s schools as a result of curriculum disruptions associated with the ongoing pandemic.
Speaking at the recent official hand-over of the replacement classrooms, Mr Gaf Osman a representative of the SAMCT, said: “South Africa faces incredible challenges in terms of education, given that so many of our schools – especially those located in historically disadvantaged areas of the country are severely under-resourced. This has been exacerbated during the past 12 months by the COVID-19 pandemic and resultant disruption of education across the country.”

“With under-resourced schools and limited teaching time, our young learners are suffering in spite of the fact that they have the right to a fit and proper education; an education which will effectively prepare them for life beyond school, a life in which they may become contributors to the economy and enjoy an improved quality of living.”

He indicated that Esiphethwini Primary School, situated in Umlazi, outside Durban, was just such a school. “This educational facility was recently dealt yet another blow, badly affecting its ability to provide an effective education to the young learners it serves. Fire swept through two classrooms, completely destroying them and leaving its Grade R and Grade 1 learners without anywhere to continue being afforded the foundation phase development which is so vital for young people,” he stressed.

The fire, which tore through the Grade R park-home facility and the Grade 1 wendy house facility – both being used as a result of splitting the learners in each grade respectively in order to meet COVID-19 social distancing protocols, put paid to the school’s ability to effectively conduct lessons and negatively impacted the school’s adherence to social distancing, resulting in the curtailment of lessons for the affected learners until the situation could be rectified.

The school, opened in 1972, is located in a prime location and has faced significantly increased levels of enrolments and with the advent of the fire, space was becoming a major issue and a significant challenge for the Principal and staff.

“Clearly, the school was battling in the face of extreme hardship, but was determined not to disadvantage its learners by preventing them from attending school at a time when so many school days have already been missed as a consequence of the pandemic and its disruption of the academic curriculum. Therefore and upon hearing of the school’s plight, we were delighted to be in a position to assist, providing two brand new mobile classrooms to replace those destroyed by the fire,” said Mr Gaf Osman
The SAMCT, created in 2008, was established to provide funding, services and other resources for the improvement of the lives of vulnerable, deprived and disadvantaged.

It has successfully delivered sizeable assistance solutions throughout the country, irrespective of race or religion and
works to support needy organisations in the fields of health, social development, poverty alleviation and education. “It is our hope that the provision of the two replacement classrooms at Esiphethwini Primary School will enable the school to quickly resume full-scale lessons for all its Grade R and Grade 1 learners and to again ensure the implementation of proper social distancing protocols, so ensuring the ongoing development of its young people, as well as – importantly – their health and safety when attending school,” said Mr Gaf Osman


For more information about SAMCT and its Esiphethwini Primary School mobile classrooms
donation, please contact:
Rasheeda Motala
Social Responsibility Officer

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