For the team at SHAWCO, Mandela Day was a time for reflection and action as they went out into the community to try to make a difference and honour Madiba’s example of “paying it forward”.
For 75 years, the Studentsʼ Health and Welfare Centres Organisation (SHAWCO) has been harnessing the energies of volunteers to bring primary healthcare clinics, skills development and education programmes to under-resourced communities.
In a sense, every day is Mandela Day for the organisation, and 18 July this year was no exception as the team headed out into the community with donations of food and blankets for the needy.
“On Mandela Day, I believe that we need to embrace the moment and reflect on our roles within society, goals we want to achieve, how we can empower people and be the legacy for our children,” said SHAWCO operations manager Thara Kallungal.
She said that SHAWCO had been able to feed underprivileged children in Manenberg thanks to a donation of sandwiches and other food items from Rosebank Progress College, in commemoration of the Mandela centenary.
“We need to embrace the moment and reflect on our roles within society.”
Warmth in winter
The Vacation Accommodation Office in UCT’s Department of Student Affairs donated over 700 bed covers and blankets to SHAWCO, enabling the organisation to do a winter-warmth drive in Manenberg, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu and Kensington. Beneficiaries included senior citizens, early childhood development centres and participants in SHAWCO programmes, said Kallungal.
“We donated 75 blankets to Manata Crèche at Gugulethu. It was an incredible experience for the kids and the SHAWCO team.”
Fifty blankets went to the SHAWCO K1 Centre in Khayelitsha, 40 to the Meals On Wheels non-governmental organisation at the Kensington Centre and 20 blankets to the Manenberg Centre.
Student volunteer Stephanie Roche will be handing over 100 blankets to migrant women at the organisation's Women's Health Clinic at the Scalabrini Centre and James van Duuren, president of SHAWCO Health, will be donating 82 blankets to the Ikamva Labantu Charitable Trust.
“The SHAWCO team is proud to be part of such a rewarding initiative,” said Kallungal. “We are trying our utmost to stand up and make a difference.”
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The Students' Health and Welfare Centres Organisation (SHAWCO) runs various health and education programmes. Approximately 2 000 UCT students are involved.
The community partnership and social entrepreneurship programmes, that address inequality, are managed by 32 full-time and 5 part-time professional staff.
Operating in the Western and Eastern Cape, the health programme provides primary healthcare to 5 000 adults and children (annually) close to their homes, with fully equipped mobile clinics.
The education programme gives academic support and homework assistance to 1 300 learners weekly with structured education projects that help improve the academic ability of learners.