Taboka celebrates big birthday by helping Bay charities
Turning 18 is a milestone that signifies growth and while other teens might request extravagant gifts, Pearson High School’s head girl wants to pay it forward and celebrate her special moment by doing something that will brighten up someone else’s day.
Taboka Ndhlovu, who is turning 18 on September 29, has launched the 18th Wish Project which will see her collecting donations for 18 different charities around Nelson Mandela Bay for her birthday.
Taboka said that when lockdown started she had realised the seriousness of the pandemic and had been unhappy to learn that a lot of activities would have to be cancelled in her final year of high school.
“No more big Paarl derby, no matric farewell and no more Bali trip with friends.
“When the first school closure extension was announced, I watched a lot of news and tried to educate myself a bit more on why school closures had to be extended and what the big problem was at the hospitals, particularly the ones in my province,” Taboka said.
She said she had soon realised her “problems” were trivial in comparison to what so many others were facing.
“Children my age, in matric, had no online schooling during lockdown. They had no books or even stationery. I read about the increased need for sanitary items at public hospitals as well as clothes for newborn babies.
“Sometimes when getting groceries, just seeing the increased number of children standing at the robots in Walmer with no masks, and clothes that weren’t warm enough, made me realise that I’m in a much better position than so many other people,” she said.
Taboka said she launched the project on July 29 and even though only a few days had passed, she had made progress and said support for the project had been amazing.
“A lot of past and present pupils and teachers from my school, Pearson, have been so supportive in donating items including books, stationery and clothing.
“I was also so amazed when Isuzu, Acres SPAR, Woodridge, Algoa FM and even my old science teacher who is far way on the Gold Coast contacted me asking how they can also be involved,” Taboka said.
She said she had tried to diversify the charities and looked at all the issues now affecting the world and how the pandemic had either worsened them or brought them to light.
“A lot of youth pregnancies are a result of gender-based violence and a lot of women are left alone to raise children and to be responsible for them financially. Having to buy clothing, nappies and food over and above that is costly, especially as a single parent,” she said.
Taboka also has a soft spot for animals and hopes to collect some donations for the SPCA.
Items needed for donations include clothing (old or new) sanitary items, baby clothes (0-24 months) and other baby items like nappies and bottles, books (old or new), stationery, masks, sanitisers, blankets, uniforms, toys, dog leads, dog and cat food, non-perishable foods, coffee jars (these will be filled with rice, soup mix, lentils, a stock cube and powder so one can bring empty jars or jars that have already been filled) and any other items similar to these.
“People can contact me on my Instagram @the_t_and_tea or on my e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org if they have any items they wish to donate so we can make arrangements for collection.”
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