Third-year students in the Construction Studies Discipline at UKZN have been part of a great initiative to give back to and support the Malvern Child and Youth Care Centre in Durban.
The Centre, home to 120 children between the ages of two and 18, strives to create a safe, loving and cherished environment for orphaned, abandoned, neglected and abused children.
As part of a final-year assignment, senior lecturer in the Construction Studies Discipline, Dr Nishani Harinarain tasked students with helping the Centre. Prior to their visit, Harinarain divided the volunteers into teams and requested them to engage with the local community and Howard College staff and students to procure funds, toys, supplies, clothes and other necessities.
The students were not limited in any aspect but were told to be as creative as possible in achieving their objectives. The students ran different fundraising activities including requesting sponsorship, Food-A-Thon collections, Fit 4 Charity events, a hamper basket raffle draw and cake sales.
This resulted in a bus full of essential items such as toys, food and clothing being delivered to the Centre.
Harinarain believes that ‘giving to charity strengthens personal values’ and hoped to impart this to the students.
Harinarain and the students received a warm welcome from the Malvern staff and were given a tour of the facility. Students then enjoyed themselves playing fun games with the children such as netball, soccer, cards, cricket, and dominos while the younger ones could not stop playing with fun toys.
‘Having the power to improve the lives of others is, to many people, a privilege and one that comes with its own sense of obligation,’ said student, Mr Kenneth Njibana. ‘Acting on these powerful feelings of responsibility is a great way to reinforce our own personal values and feel like we’re living in a way that is true to our own ethical beliefs.’
Said colleague Mr Ropafadzo Kwaramba: ‘The assignment was very empowering – it allowed us to discover things about ourselves and our capabilities and to see the results of our efforts.’
Ms Lindelwe Cele said: ‘It gave us an opportunity to take a step back and see others in need and that there are far greater problems than what we perceive in our own space and through working together as a team we achieved our objectives.’
Harinarain said the aim had been to inspire students and help elicit a better sense and understanding of personal and professional skills that would assist them create a valuable connection with the people within the community, not just as professionals but as passionate, empathetic leaders of tomorrow.
Photograph: Nishani Harinarain