PPS/RAHA partners with UFH to solve student food shortages

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In recent times, the University has seen a rise in students experiencing challenges with accessing sufficient daily nutrition to aid their studies. Student Counselling Unit has been bombarded with a myriad of requests for assistance in this regard. This challenge affects mainly unfunded students and has propelled the Student Affairs Division to approach a number of donors to assist.  There have been calls from different internal stakeholders within the Student Affairs Division, Students Representative Council (SRC), Student Societies and Individual Students alike calling for something to be done.

The Professional Provident Society (PPS) /Rise Against Hunger (RAH) rose to the challenge to help students by contributing  towards alleviating food insecurity experienced by students in various academic institutions. At the PPS Handover ceremony, a call was made for the establishment of a task team that consists of the SRC, RAH and Mashallah, Mashallah a student leader initiative process of working together to address and solve this problem within the university. The session brought together different stakeholders and allowed a discussion on how to access food to students of the institution.

This year is the second time PPS have sponsored food to the students of University of Fort Hare (UFH). In her presentation, Ms Subashini Gounder, the Programme Manager for PPS Foundation expressed that, ‘’PPS Foundation realized that students who deal with hunger can suffer from a number of issues such as lack of concentration, depression and not being able to perform well, academically, during exams. PPS also offers bursary and Internships programs. They have extended three bursary programs to UFH the criteria for the bursary is an average of 65% pass of all the modules and the students have to be South African. PPs has also partnered with Thabo Mbeki Foundation on a 12 months’ internship program.

Mr Ntuthuko Dube a representative from Rise Against Hunger explained, "RAH is an international organization that coordinates the distribution of food and other lifesaving aid worldwide. The purpose the organization is to engage with the haves and have nots. The organization provides a platform for people to meet and volunteer. Every second-month RAH has volunteer events that help with packaging of the food parcels. This platform also allows people to connect and network."  

In his address The East London Student Representative Council Premier Mr Mihle Hanise indicated that ‘’The SRC has also been trying to source sponsors from different companies to help with the hunger problem that is increasing at the university

Mr Hansie added "There is a need for the Student Affairs Division to pay more attention  when the SRC is running such  programs and assist in acquiring sponsors. The Institution must look at long term solutions."

Mr. Khotso Moabi, the University's Marketing and Communication Manager said," Hunger among students has become a problem and without any reliable solutions it will continue being a problem. The institution needs to pay more attention on addressing this issue. Different departments will join hands and find creative ways and long term solutions to assist the students".