Cedarwood School believes in the spirit of giving back

Cedarwood children took the opportunity to participate in the annual Casual Day event by coming to school in civvies in support of people with disabilities. Photo: Robyn Kirk


The spirit of uBuntu is alive and well at Cedarwood School in Glenferness, as staff and schoolchildren have taken part in a number of charity drives and events in order to help those less fortunate.

“We [the school] are the community, we’re not separate from it just because we’re a school,” explained Mazizi Chembe, a student support teacher and the charity coordinator for Cedarwood. “And I think it’s really important that we remember that.”

Most recently, schoolchildren from Cedarwood took part in the annual Casual Day event, which allows them to wear casual clothes on 1 September in order to raise money to help people with disabilities

Before Casual Day, Cedarwood staff made a special effort to take part in the ‘Thursdays in Black’ campaign, an international protest against gender-based violence and rape. Every Thursday during the month of August, Cedarwood teachers and other staff workers dressed in black in line with the initiative.

Chembe admitted that although it can be difficult to talk about such heinous crimes with children, it is still an important issue that needs to be addressed.

“For me, educating the children about the issues is really about using age-appropriate language,” she explained.

“In the society that we live in today, with social media etc, it’s not something that children are unfamiliar with. Therefore, when discussing it, I try to be sensitive but also serious.”

The longest-running charity project that the school has been involved with this year has been in aid of the Shumbashaba Community Trust, a non-profit organisation based in Diepsloot, in their work to take care of disadvantaged children through projects such as horse therapy and collection drives.

In the school’s first term, Cedarwood hosted their first drive for Shumbashaba.

“The first drive was a collection of Easter eggs, for the children who probably wouldn’t get any,” Chembe said. “Our kids managed to collect about 3 000 eggs!”

In the second term, it was decided that what the children from Shumbashaba really needed was shoes, and as such Cedarwood children were encouraged to donate old shoes in an initiative named ‘Having soul for the soleless’.

“In order to be part of the Shumbashaba programmes, children will sometimes walk kilometers, barefoot, to get there. Any shoes in good condition would help them out, and so that’s what our children were encouraged to bring in.”

For the third and current term, there has been a drive for stationery.

“We didn’t want to tell our students that they had to go out and buy brand new stationery, that’s asking an awful lot from them,” Chembe said.

“So instead we suggested that they just donate the stationery from past school years, the older stuff that most families just have lying around in boxes at home.”

“I can’t tell you what sorts of charity work [Cedarwood] will do in the future. The kids will come up with new ideas and we’ll support them, but caring for the community is something that gives our students the chance to pay it forward, and our kids have shown a great passion for that,” Chembe concluded.

If you have charity ideas that you would like to suggest to Cedarwood School or are interested in contributing to their drives to Shumbashaba, visit the Cedarwood website www.cedarwoodschool.co.za or email their charity coordinator [email protected]


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Robyn Kirk

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