Ricochet News

VIDEO: Emfundweni Primary School learners exchange old desks for ‘tutu desks’

By Afikile Lugunya - Jan 31, 2018
VIDEO: Emfundweni Primary School learners exchange old desks for ‘tutu desks’

Happiness and excitement were written on the faces of over 900 local learners on Wednesday as the German Ambassador to South Africa, Martin Schaefer handed over 960 ‘tutudesks’ to the Emfundweni Primary School in Zwide, Port Elizabeth, in support of the ‘tutudesk campaign' that was launched in honour of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

The campaign estimates that in South Africa, 3 million learners attend school without the benefit of a classroom desk to work at. In support of the campaign, the German Embassy is sponsoring 1 000 portable ‘tutudesks’, which learners can place on their laps, providing them with a stable surface to write on.

Emfundweni Primary School was identified as a beneficiary of the project.

The idea of the tutudesks came to Archbishop Tutu after seeing that there were many children, who were struggling through to learn because of a shortage of desks.

The donation could not have come at a better as Emfundweni Primary School was forced to take more learners after the closure of a neighbouring school – creating a shortage of desks.

Speaking for the school, Principal Maneli, said that they are very happy with the donation because the learners will not feel the pressure of not having desks anymore.

“I just want to thank Germany Embassy for their donation, this initiative will play a big learning role in the learner’s lives and their handwritings will improve,” he added.

A Grade 6 learner, Phelisa Matshaya was also happy with the donation saying that her fellow classmates often struggle to write due to the crowded classroom.

“Most desks are cracked and they look like they can collapse anytime. This donation means a lot to us because of shortages of desks, we are forced to share a desk with 3/4 people, which results in one of us struggling to write well,” she described.

Speaking for the Germany Embassy, Kerstin Bittiger, highlighted the importance of education.

“Education is the most important thing that you can actually support, I think in the spirit of Tutu initiative, I think it’s very impressive and it’s the work that we would like to support. I think that the people involved in this project are trying to do that, bring inspiration in order to equip these learners with infrastructure and to improve their handwriting,” she said.

“The work of Desmond Tutu and the supporters of this campaign is an inspiration in order to show the kids what a simple desk can do.”

The Germany Embassy is continuing on a tour of South Africa aimed at sharing with locals the German culture, language, information on study opportunities abroad using their Khombisa – a Volkswagen kombi painted in German flag colours and renamed to Khombisa Germany (meaning show Germany).

According to Bittiger the taxi is meant to say; “hey hop in - we want to show you Germany”.