SAMCT Provides A Disadvantaged Durban School With A R354 000 Infrastructural Boost

A rapidly growing and sought-after, though significantly disadvantaged, Primary School located in Durban’s Sea Cow Lake area recently received a R354 000 infrastructure boost, enabling the enhancement of its early childhood education activities and the expansion of its sports programme.

The installation of new infrastructure at the Dr Macken Mistry Primary School, on the fringes of Durban’s central business district, included a combi-court, jungle-gym and sensory play area and a multi-purpose covered area, kitted with tables and seating and was the result of a donation by the South African Muslim Charitable Trust (SAMCT).

Speaking at a function to mark the official hand-over of the infrastructure, SAMCT representative, Mr Gaf Osman said: “It is an unfortunate reality that so many South African schools are severely under-resourced and lack adequate educational, sporting and social infrastructure, a problem exacerbated by the fact that – in the majority of such instances – these very schools serve already disadvantaged learners, hindering their lives still further.”

The school, established more than 60 years ago and serving almost 1 000 learners from Grade R through to Grade 7, has developed a reputation for academic excellence and sound sporting, religious and cultural practices, producing well-grounded and rounded learners in spite of the major resource and finance challenges is faces.

Maintaining this reputation was becoming increasingly difficult, Mr Gaf Osman maintained.

“Increased enrolments, an attendant shrinkage of available space and prevailing financial constraints have impacted on the infrastructural needs of the school on several fronts, prompting efforts to fill emergent gaps for the benefit of learners,” he added.

Requirements included a combi-court to maximise multi-disciplined sporting activities; a jungle-gym and sensory play area, designed for developing manual dexterity amongst infants; and a multi- purpose covered area, with tables and seating, aimed at promoting social etiquette and providing a facility where learners might eat their lunches with dignity, sheltered from the elements.

The SAMCT was ‘delighted to make available some R354 000 to achieve the school’s infrastructural dream,” Mr Gaf Osman stressed.

“Sport plays a vital role in the holistic development of children, increasing self-esteem, stimulating mental awareness, promoting a sense of fairness and sharing, and engendering a keen sense of team spirit. All importantly, school sport and games help learners avoid becoming obese and help uphold the belief in living a healthy lifestyle. However, space limitations at the school threatened to derail this pivotal aspect of its daily activities. The introduction of a new combi-court, enables the undertaking of a range of different sporting codes in a single facility, ensuring the school is now to

extend its sporting programme to include athletics, football, netball, basketball and volleyball,” Mr Gaf Osman said.

He added that the importance of early childhood education should not be under-estimated.

“Outdoor play is regarded as a critical aspect of early childhood development, enabling the advancement of manual dexterity, hand-eye co-ordination, muscle toning, alertness and the like. Children exposed to infrastructure which is related to play are able to learn to share, socialise, develop tolerance and provide support to their peers. Very young children, in Grade R to Grade 3, unquestionably, learn through play and the SAMCT was pleased to accede to the school’s request for a jungle-gym and sensory play area for the benefit of the infants in its charge,” said Mr Gaf Osman.

He maintained that schools play a significant role in infusing in learners good human values – encouraging their sense of self-worth and enhancing their levels of social etiquette. In view of this, areas external to formal classrooms, in which learners may interact socially, are being increasingly regarded as important.

“In an effort to help promote enhanced social interaction, the SAMCT has also funded the development of a multi-purpose sheltered area within the school, affording learners protection against sun and rain, where they are able to sit and eat their lunches with dignity. Of course, this area may also be used for outdoor, interactive lessons, meetings and the like,” he said.

the SAMCT was created in 2008, the result of a partnership between Old Mutual Unit Trusts and Al Baraka Bank for the creation, marketing and distribution of a suite of Shariah Funds. Such partnership ensures that the SAMCT is the beneficiary of this Shariah suite of funds in order to provide funding, services and other resources for the improvement of the lives of the vulnerable, deprived and disadvantaged.

The organisation has been singularly successful in delivering sizeable assistance solutions throughout South Africa – irrespective of race or religion – and continues to work to support needy organisations in the fields of health, social development, poverty alleviation and, of course, education.

Mr Gaf Osman stressed: “This is a school whose Principal, backed by a team of highly committed educators, has not allowed its disadvantaged history or present financial adversity to hold it back, or mire it in the delivery of mediocre education. Instead, the Dr Macken Mistry Primary School has attacked its every challenge with passion and a never-say-die attitude and it is, accordingly, the SAMCT’s great pleasure to have partnered with such an enterprising educational institution and to have enabled the development of this new infrastructure.”

ends

For more information about SAMCT or
its Dr Macken Mistry Primary School infrastructure donation, please contact:

Rasheeda Motala

Social Responsibility Officer Tel: 084 506 2280
Email: samct@samct.co.za

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