EDITORIAL: Stricken pupils need our help

Just as the citizens of Nelson Mandela Bay rallied round to help victims of the fires at Woodridge and Knysna, we hope they will also extend their generosity to Gamble Street Senior Secondary School in Uitenhage.

On Thursday night, a fire broke out in the girls’ hostel at the school, destroying bedding, clothes and other possessions.

Photographs show a blackened shell of the dormitory and the damage was so bad that 80 pupils had to be sent home.

Let us remember today that although many residents see Port Elizabeth as the heart of Nelson Mandela Bay, the smaller towns of Uitenhage and Despatch are also an integral part of this metro. And, tellingly, their residents often feel neglected by the bigger coastal sibling.

Grade 9 pupil Palesa Fleetoor, 15, left, and Grade 8 pupil Sibabalwe Silomntu, 14, check their bags after their hostel was damaged by a fire on Wednesday
Picture: Brian Witbooi

Hence we call on readers in all parts of the metro to stretch out their hands to help this Uitenhage school.

Weekend Post is reporting on where to channel potential assistance.

Councillor Francois Greyling, for one, has offered a drop-off point at his office in Despatch.

Gamble Street school principal Leigh-Anne Paulse has made a heartfelt appeal.

She notes that many of her girls live in less privileged areas and they do not often go to their homes due to travel costs. This means some will not be from homes where parents can simply drive into town with a new duvet or take them on a shopping spree at the mall.

Paulse has called for clothing, bedding, books, schoolbags, monetary donations or any other assistance which might help her charges through this traumatic event.

We are grateful that – as at Woodridge – all the affected pupils were safely evacuated. The next step is to ensure they can continue their studies.

Let’s show the girls at Gamble how big a heart this metro has.

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