WHAT started as a family initiative six years ago has turned into 5000 meals served every week in three under-privileged schools that otherwise do not receive government assistance when it comes to feeding pupils.
Mureedah Botha and her brother Shudley started Pops – People Opposing Poverty in Society – and run the main office out of Botha’s Kabega Park home.
“We started with holding year-end parties for orphans and senior citizens with the money we raised among our friends and family,” said Botha, who is a bookkeeper and tax practitioner.
And since then they have been growing to bigger things.
Last year with close family friend Lohan Geel onboard, Pops was registered as a non-profit organisation.
Botha said after reading about some schools who were not receiving feeding funds, they decided to start a soup kitchen as well. Three schools were identified –Kuyga Primary School near Greenbushes, Cederburg Primary and Alfonso Arries in Booysens Park.
Botha said a group of volunteers from Kuyga school helped cook the meals that were given to the 940 pupils from the school twice a week.
“We are implementing other projects at the school which included a clean-up project which about 50 of the pupils volunteered for on March 3.”
She said this helped instill pride in their school. The children and volunteers were treated to a hearty meal afterwards and met The Herald Spec-Saver Miss Port Elizabeth Nandipa Mnuna and singing sensation Gino Lee.
They have also started the Sow and Reap project – a vegetable garden to help sustain the feeding scheme. The garden is overseen by school principal Nomvuyo Dubula.
“We are experiencing some problems like not having a caretaker. We also have a hole in the fence near to where the community field is and an animal got in and ate almost everything,” said Dubula.
But she remains upbeat and said the children were all playing their part in keeping the garden going. Botha said they would continue with this project, and the feeding scheme and had already been approached by other schools to help out.
“We have amazing volunteers and received a much-needed funds donation of R50000 from the Toy Run last year.
“We are able to purchase supplies at various shops which then invoice Toy Run.”
She said they also received huge pots and a gas cooker from The Boardwalk for one of the Northern areas schools and said they are always needing more.
Anyone wishing to volunteer or donate can call Botha on 083-738-8436.