16 July 2021 | Story Nonsindiso Qwabe
UFS Qwaqwa Campus social worker, Selloane Phoofolo, and primes and deputy primes of female residences on the campus.

Food insecurity is one of the greatest plagues that students face during their academic careers at university.

A working relationship between national non-governmental organisation (NGO) Gift of the Givers and the No Student Hungry (NHS) office on the Qwaqwa Campus has provided students with nutritional care as they navigate the difficulties brought on by the pandemic.

A little goes a long way

The NGO has been delivering nutritional food parcels for more than a year, with the first batch having been delivered in February 2020. The partnership was again renewed for 2021. Two hundred food parcels were meant to be delivered on a monthly basis, but are currently delivered on request, says Qwaqwa Campus social worker, Selloane Phofoolo. The parcels last a few months, before the next call is made for more. “We are so lucky that Gift of the Givers has continued their partnership with us this year. Without their support we would have struggled, especially during this pandemic. They are always just a call away.”

Phoofolo said the NHS was relying mainly on the food parcels to cater for students, as no other collection drives have been possible to sustain since the lockdown began. She said in 2020, shortly after the lockdown began, they were flooded with requests for food. Since then, students have been able to collect the food parcels from Protection Services on campus. This year, requests surged again in March and April 2021 when the academic calendar kicked off. She lauded Protection Services for their dedicated efforts to ensure that students receive food parcels seamlessly while the campus remains inaccessible to most. 

“We have a significant number of students who are really lacking; so, while we subject them to a vetting process, each case has its own merits because some are really compelling and dire since everyone is going through a difficult time.”

Female residences donate sanitary towels to NHS recipients 

She said another kind gesture that landed on the NHS’ doorstep was a generous donation of sanitary towels collected by primes and deputy primes from female residences on campus. Phoofolo said the donation came as a welcome surprise. “We are very grateful for the sanitary towels. Now every female student who collects a food parcel also receives a pack of sanitary towels.”

“Everyone is going through a difficult time and despite the pandemic, we are happy to see the passion for students and dedication to Ubuntu prevailing,” she said.

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