Donations to food programme assist in development of sustainability hub

18th May 2019

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Each weekday over 1000 Wits students make use of the Masidleni daily student meal programme.

The programme, which is managed by the Wits Citizenship and Community Outreach (WCCO) project, provides free-of-charge daily lunches on the Wits East Campus as well as on the Wits Education Campus.

In 2019, for the third consecutive year, the South African Student Solidarity Foundation for Education (SASSFE) again made a financial contribution to support the ongoing work of the Masidleni programme.

SASSFE’s 2019 donation of R200 000, bring to R700 000 the total amount that SASSFE has contributed to the Masidleni programme over the past three years.  SASSFE’s contribution has helped to catalyse and support the Masidleni programme, which in the main is funded from the Wits University budget.

Karuna Singh, who heads the WCCO and is hands-on in running the Masidleni programme, welcomed the donation from SASSFE as she indicated that the cost of providing daily meals has risen significantly in the past 12 months.  “We are having to stretch the programme’s limited budget to cover a growing number of students,” says Singh.

The SASSFE Trustees – Archbishop Thabo Makgoba (Chairperson), Retired Justice Richard Goldstone, Supreme Court of Appeal Justice Azhar Cachalia and UCT Vice Chancellor, Prof Mmamokgethi Phakeng – resolved to continue to support the Masidleni programme, as they regard it as an effective and practical mechanism for helping students in need on the Wits campuses.

In addition to regular individual donations by Wits alumni, SASSFE’s fundraising over the past two years was boosted by SASSFE Management Committee member Thandeka Gqubule’s donation of the proceeds of her book No Longer Whispering to Power: The story of Thuli Madonsela as well the donation of a number of copies of his book, titled ‘Faith and Courage – Praying with Mandela’, by Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

The area on East campus around where the Masidleni programme operates is undergoing a transformation, a Food Sovereignty Centre has been established and a range of important new programmes are currently underway, including the establishment of food gardens and a communal kitchen, where students can access donated food items and prepare their own meals.  The area is becoming an important hub on campus for issues of food, human dignity, ecological awareness and sustainability.

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