Victor Sothozama, the Vusumzi Primary School Afterschool Tutoring Coordinator, expressed it flawlessly when he said, “I have never, ever, in all my years in this location, seen the Vusumzi learners looking so good. So healthy. So happy.”
We agree. Victor captured perfectly what we witnessed in August 2018: that nearly all of the 750 Vusumzi children now sport a full school uniform, and we have a lot of people to thank for that.
First, we are indebted to our unparalleled Inkuthazo sponsors, who make up the backbone of many of the transformations at Vusumzi and beyond. In fact, Inkuthazo sponsors had single-handedly fueled this effort since 2011. In June 2017, however, UP warmly welcomed the compassion and actions of volunteers Ally Marrinan, Jane Gudoian, Madi Aumann, and Maggie Stark (left), who reached into their pockets to apply immediate relief. The truth is that the most loving and devoted guardians often face serious financial obstacles, and they sometimes have to choose between feeding their families and outfitting their children for school.
In March 2018, Ally, Jane, and Maggie were joined in this effort by Newport’s St. George’s students, who were on the lookout for uniform inequities. Five months later, Anja Bjornson also made it a goal to have each Vusumzi child arrive at school in the classic green & gold. Maggie even took it upon herself to reach out to family and friends to contribute, and they came through. In sum, UP has overseen the purchase of scores of uniforms funded by targeted donations, volunteer gifts, and Inkuthazo. With a system now in place to determine, record, and follow up with the children and families in greatest need, Vusumzi boasts a climate that uniforms are intended to create but often fail at ensuring: more confidence and less shame for children. What’s not to love about that?