The University of the Western Cape’s (UWC’s) drive towards greater food security on campus received a boost this week from a student-driven fundraising initiative.
A cheque of R22 000, raised during the AWEAR SA Fashion show hosted a few months ago, was paid into the nutrition programme run by the Office of Student Development and Support (SDS). It is the second year the fashion show raised funding for student support, after R15 000 was donated to the Ikamva Lethu Student Bursary Fund last year.
Awear SA is an initiative of UWC’s Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) and is supported by the Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers Union’s Wear SA initiative to promote local manufactured clothing.
Accepting the cheque, Laetitia Permall, Director of the Centre for Student Support Services, said food security has become critical for students’ success at university.
“Very often there is a misconception that when students come to University they have all the support they require to succeed. What becomes obvious is that many students struggle with basic needs like food security and nutrition,” she said.
“We became aware that we can no longer continue to focus only on the academic project without addressing the support needs of students, because access without support is not an opportunity.”
Permall said many departments in SDS and across the campus had started initiatives to support food nutrition and, with the help of students, have been able to prepare 120 000 meals for students.
“That has made a big impact. And thanks to AWEAR SA and the students driving this programme for identifying the SDS nutrition project as something you want to invest in,” she said.
Students who participated in the AWEAR SA Fashion show spoke highly of the valuable lessons and experience gained from the initiative.
Charleen Duncan, Director of UWC Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation commended the students for their selfless gesture. “An awareness of your political, social and economic context is a critical skill that all 21st-century graduates require. This gesture of paying it forward epitomizes the development of this skill. The WearSA and UWC-CEI partnership creates a great platform for this development to be nurtured.”