Two Durban companies, Wonderbag­ and the Oyster Box Hotel, launched their first educational and economic-inclusive initiative for underprivileged communities in South Africa bringing new hope.

The launch of the first phase of the initiative took place on Youth Day at Thembelihle Primary School in Howick for 300 parents of pupils who come from impoverished communities.

The parents enjoyed a healthy Wonderbag-cooked meal amid lots of singing and uplifting educational demonstrations provided by Wonderbag’s activation teams.

Not only did the local families leave with full stomachs and hearts, they received subsidised Wonderbags.

Sarah Collins, founder and CEO of Wonderbag, addressed guests and acknowledged the importance of this momentous occasion being the 40th anniversary of the Sharpeville uprising as well as the significance for her of launching this community model in her home town of Howick.

“Howick is a very special place to me as it was here that I spent a few years learning from Dr Ian Player about my life’s purpose while living on his farm in the Karkloof.

“I believe that just like Hector [Pieterson] and all the brave children who went about affecting change this day 40 years ago – so too do we all have the power within us to improve our lives and that of our family’s and community.

“We want to protect our future leaders from the harsh realities and dangers of indoor air pollution and shack fires. So many children living in these communities face these dangers on a daily basis when trying to cook for themselves on open flames while their parents work long hours.”

Thembelihle Primary School is run independently and relies solely on donations to sustain its operations that cater for vulnerable children in the greater Howick region. According to the principal Damon Shaw, this school is more than just an educational centre for Howick’s children and further serves the needs of the community as a safe haven.

“The school’s name means ‘good hope’ and we are very proud of the trust and reputation we have earned from the families living here as they openly regard us as a beacon of hope to the community.

“We not only strive to provide our pupils with a great education in the traditional sense, we also provide them with a holistic life education which includes assisting with health care, emotional support and counselling as well as feeding them nutritional meals and providing health supplements to our students.

“Our school’s cook was given a big catering Wonderbag from Sarah and her team and now swears by it for all the school’s cooking needs,” Shaw said.

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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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