SITEKI- Over 300 pupils from Loyiwe Primary School located in drought stricken area-in the Lubombo region are faced with water and food shorttage
Simangele Nxumalo, the school head teacher says food items are there but cannot be cooked due to a water shortage, and are on many occasions compelled to buy the water in order to carry out their cooking in the school kitchen. Thus, the school has incurred a lot of costs as the area is under severe drought and most pupils are either orphans or vulnerable and eat from the school.
Reached for comments, Bertram Stewart, the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Training said food and water is supposed to be available before schools open. “According to our plans all food and water should be delivered before schools open,” he said.
According to the Head Teacher when schools closed, they had an enrolment of 372 pupils. It enrolled about 300 orphans and most of them have no birth certificates nor shoes, while the 72 had parents. The school recorded 14 failures in the 2019 standard V results. Information obtained is that the pupils will use water harvested from the rain when schools open which is very limited.
The Loyiwe Primary School head teacher further said the Ministry of Education provides food for the pupils but lack of water also leads to hunger. “The ministry is giving us enough food, but sometimes if there is no water we fail to cook while the children depend on the school feeding programme. Most of the children get their meals only here at school and can’t grow crops because there is no water. This has also disturbed programs here at school, as practical subjects are not done well because we lack water which has resulted to drought,” said Nxumalo.
She continued to say that the hunger has greatly affected her pupils. “The children no longer collapse while at school, for the past three years now. This is because we buy water and cook every day, but when I arrived in 2015 we had such cases,”she added.
But Phila Buthelezi, the local Member of Parliament confirmed the effects of the drought situation. “All boreholes drilled around that area have been dry off late, including a water scheme, but I am not aware of the challenges faced by the school. I will organise a meeting with the school and local authority next week to try and find a way forward on this issue,” added the MP.
Boreholes has run dry