In the majestic Kingdom of Eswatini, on Monday, 17 June 2019, the Kuhlase Samuel Sipho Education Foundation was launched, in his honour and loving memory to keep his legacy alive. The Kuhlase Samuel Sipho Education Foundation seeks to break the stronghold of poverty, through supporting the educational needs of deserving and needy learners, both boys and girls. The aim is to break the inter-generational poverty that impedes positive educational outcomes.
In partnership with Imbumba Foundation of South Africa, CEO: Mr. Richard Mabaso, the concept innovator of Caring4Girls and Trek4Mandela, Caring4Girls Eswatini was also launched on 17 June 2019, and its initial commitment was 7,500 sanitary pads donation for girls in Eswatini as determined by the Kuhlase SS Education Foundation. The first beneficiaries were 450 girls from Nsongweni Methodist Primary and High Schools, in Nhlangano. These are the schools where the late, Mr. SS Kuhlase (75 years old at the time of his untimely demise) got his foundational education. These 450 girls will get pads supplied for the next six months through this generous contribution of Imbumba Foundation.
The launch event was graced by the presence of the CEO for Imbumba Foundation, Mr. Richard Mabaso, Chief Executives of two legacy foundations: Mr. Sello Hatang of the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Ms Matshidiso Masire of the Sir Ketumile Masire Foundation of Botswana. The Masire Foundation runs the Caring4Girls Botswana programme. Other dignitaries were Ministry of Education representative, former Senator: Mr. Walter Bennett, CEO of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, Mr. Sandile Dlamini, Mr. John Mngomezulu of Tibiyo Taka Ngwane, Mr. Enoch Mavimbela, GM of Eswatini Bank, Mr. Mabaso a former teacher of SS Kuhlase, and SS’ friends Mr. Barnabas Mhlongo and Mr. Matthew Hlophe, family, friends, school representatives and others.
Caring4Girls is a menstrual hygiene initiative that promotes social justice and dignity of girls and young women, and sets out to assist impoverished girls who often miss school during their menstrual cycle due to lack of sanitary pads, sometimes even leading to school drop-out and teenage pregnancy. The Caring4Girls programme is a Mandela Day (18 July) project and promotes the ethos of ‘Make Everyday a Mandela Day’ and ensures access to much-needed sanitary towels to ensure that girls stay in school and embrace womanhood with pride and dignity. Caring4Girls sanitary pads distribution is always followed by the Puberty and Adolescence talk with the girls guided by the booklet from Imbumba Foundation. Caring4Girls in South Africa, Botswana and Eswatini note the UNESCO figure that estimates that 1 in 10 African girls skip school during their period, eventually leading to high school drop-out rates. As Caring4Girls expands its regional footprint, the programme logo assumes the colours and features of that country’s flag.
Thank you to our guests present and others who could not make it for responding to the call of action and bringing school shoes, school bags/backpacks, jerseys and stationery. Full sets of school uniforms were handed over to the 1st two beneficiaries of the Kuhlase SS Education Foundation Uniform Support Programme, because we believe that uniform is an equaliser. Vulnerability is assessed by the school and final approval of beneficiaries is done by the Kuhlase SS Education Foundation.
The Education Foundation looks forward to replicating this model in many more schools in Eswatini, all in an attempt to not only keep SS Kuhlase’s legacy alive but also to make the learning process for these students to be much more easier and thus more fruitful. Thus breaking the shackles of poverty!
“I look forward to the journey ahead with the Kuhlase SS Education Foundation and Caring4Girls Eswatini as we impact on the lives of young girls and make a difference in their lives. I note that Babe Kuhlase recently passed on, and it is 2 years since the demise of Rre Masire and we are about to celebrate Tata Madiba on Mandela Day, these are our heroes that we celebrate. I am honoured to be giving back to emaSwati as I am also Swati from Luphisi, in Mpumalanga, SA”. Richard Mabaso, CEO of Imbumba Foundation.
By Thithi Masuku and Fikile Kuhlase