When President Ramaphosa initially announced a national ‘state of disaster’ followed subsequently by a national lockdown, no South African was spared from the unprecedented restrictive consequences. However, for certain segments of the population, the lockdown has hit harder than for others, whereby necessities which were previously taken care of seemed to no longer be available.
When the school system was essentially shutdown, thousands, if not millions of students and teachers who benefited from the various national feeding schemes, were left empty-handed. One such school, the Forest Town School for learners with special educational needs, as well as cerebral palsy, physical and learning disabilities in Johannesburg, was adversely affected as some of its day students and their families were reliant on the food subsidies which were routinely distributed. An urgent meeting between Maston Lane, Sasfin Bank’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), whose daughter, Rachel, is a teacher at the school, and Sasfin Group CEO, Michael Sassoon, swiftly addressed the situation
After being alerted to the gravity of the situation, Sasfin Management agreed to contribute R40,000 to ensure groceries would be purchased, packaged and distributed to the 66 learners (and their families) that rely on the school’s support.
This culminated on Wednesday 25 March, two days before the commencement of the national lockdown, in some of the teachers, therapists and general assistants spending time at the school packing and delivering all parcels.
The school’s Principal, Ronalda Lucas, was overwhelmed by Sasfin’s gesture and thanked the Group for its support that enabled young children to be fed during the 21-day lockdown.
Sidebar: About Forest Town School Forest Town School was established in 1948 by a small group of parents who needed education, care and treatment for their children with cerebral palsy. Today, the school caters for learners with a wide variety of special educational needs. The school motto is “Arise”, whereby children with difficulties and disabilities are given the opportunity, encouragement and expert support they need to arise and be the best they can be.
The Forest Town School journey starts in the Pre-Primary Department. From there, the children either progress to the Junior Modified Department or the Foundation Phase (Grades 1 - 3), depending on their ability and special needs. The senior section of the school consists of the Senior Modified Department and the Intersen Phase (Grades 4 - 7).
Finally, depending on their abilities and needs, learners still attending Forest Town School at the age of 16 years enter the Work Experience Programme.
If you wish to donate towards this incredible institution, please contact Elisheva Gilbert at Elisheva.firstname.lastname@example.org