Nkomo-Ralehoko donates dignity packs to female learners in maiden visit.
While there aren’t accurate statistics, it is often said that many girl children miss school days because of not having sanitary towels.
To change this and restore the dignity of a girl child, Gauteng Finance and e-Government MEC, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko visited Tokelo Secondary School in Small Farm to deliver dignity packs to female learners at the school on Friday (23 August 2019).
Gauteng Finance and e-Government MEC, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko poses for a memorable picture with the learners of Tokelo Secondary School.
The packs included sanitary towels, face cloths, toothpaste and deodorants – which are basic needs for most young girls in schools, especially those from needy families.
Tokelo Secondary School is located in Ward 18 and falls under the Sedibeng Education District 8.
MEC Nkomo-Ralehoko arrived at the school during the morning assembly and committed to adopting the school.
Giving her talk, the MEC strongly discouraged learners from smoking and pleaded with girl learners to focus on their books, and avoid sexual relationships which may lead to unwanted pregnancies and diseases. “We are here to support you. Please don’t lose hope on your dreams and as from today, I’m adopting Tokelo Secondary School,” echoed Nkomo-Ralehoko, to the applause of staff and learners.
Tokelo is one of the oldest township schools serving the community of Small Farm with a total of 960 leaners with 109 of them in Grade 12 classes.
The school’s principal, Jonas Matla said electricity supply was a big challenge, due to incidents of cable theft affecting the school.
He indicated that most of the learners come from disadvantaged families and depend on the school’s nutrition programme for meals.
Despite many challenges, Tokelo learners are high performers, with a 98.7% pass rate for 2018, and a 100% target for 2019.
To motivate the learners, Nkomo- Ralehoko narrated her own hardships from her days growing up in the Eastern Cape. “I stayed in a small rondavel which was used as kitchen, dining room and bedroom. This meant the whole family slept together in a single room, without dignity and privacy. Today I’m the MEC for Finance in Gauteng, so please don’t allow your family background or place of your birth to stop you from reaching your dreams,” she said.
One of the recipients of the dignity packs, Zanele Bakela (14), a Grade 9 learner at the school, expressed her gratitude to the MEC. “We’re happy that learners who cannot afford sanitary towels have a reason to smile, all thanks to the MEC’s good heart,” she said.
By Thabiso Radebe