Departure: Toronto December 28, 2016
- Meeting with secretary of school on January 2, 2016 – reviewed events at school since last visit – premature deaths of 2 teachers and director of education; high absenteeism due to illnesses; new school governing board elected; new funding from Dept. of Education for a full-time nurse, 2 Occupational therapists and a Psychologist over the past 6 months
- School opens January 13, 2016. Visited the school on 15th January. News of premature death of 2 young female teachers in the last quarter of 2015. The department of Education now provides for a full-time nurse and occupational therapist. School now has 300 special needs children. Met with staff, nurse and therapist. Morale is low following death of the teachers and some children. Many children and staff are mentally depressed. Agreed to regular medical visits to the school.
- January 29, 2016. Attended Matric prizes and gift awards ceremony in Rayton to honour outstanding graduates. We awarded Lenovo laptops to the best female and male matriculated students in the district. (pictures)
- February 5, 2016. Sizanane Staff (50) recognition awards. Morale very sombre with grief of the 2 dynamic teachers. All staff were given vouchers equivalent to 1 week of groceries. Some teachers were awarded Lenovo laptops to assist them with their duties. These gifts created an ecstatic atmosphere and the staff were overjoyed. This sparked an enthusiasm in them to focus on achieving the most with the children. A vote of thanks and gratitude was made with speeches by the teachers to honor each of the donors of the Kungwini Dream Fund.
- Purchased Oxygen cylinders, masks and other emergency and clinic equipment from Pretoria. Purchased sporting equipment and canopies from Johannesburg. Frustrations with making payments – 1st a deposit; then the order; then a dozen calls to confirm; then the balance; the errors; etc. Orders placed for woodwork and metalwork equipment; knitting and embroidery equipment; and hairdressing equipment. Awaiting price estimates before confirming- still waiting!!!
- February 6, 2016. Visited a rural clinic which I had started 37 years ago in the barren homelands of Kwandebele (where black people were to live when they were forcefully expelled from the cities). This was now a huge town with paved street, electricity and water and sewage. The trees have grown so much that landmarks were difficult to find! It was a very emotion, heart rendering experience – personally and professionally!
- March 4, 2016. The last day of my visit to the school was filled with a farewell celebration for us. Students, parents and staff thanked us and the donors KDF for our presence, activities and donations to the children and staff.
- From a medical viewpoint, we had to screen students and staff for a very contagious respiratory infection and treat and isolate them. Medications are being provided by the Department of Health. This infection was likely responsible for the illness and deaths.
Return: Toronto March 7, 2016
In the State of the Nation Address presented to the joint sitting of Parliament in Cape Town on 3 June 2009, the President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Jacob G Zuma, stated that “Education will be a key priority for the next five years. We want our teachers, learners and parents to work together with government to turn our schools into thriving centres of excellence.”
Preceding this important statement made by the President, the Government of South Africa launched a health and education campaign at Walter Sisulu Square in Kliptown on 11 August 2008. This campaign arose from the recognition that health and education should be at the centre of the Social Transformation Programme for the next five years.
It is against this background that the Kungwini Parliamentary Constituency Office (PCO) raised its hand to be counted among those that have heeded the call by the State President. To this effect, Kungwini PCO, through the effort of a successful local entrepreneur, Mrs Ameenia Nanabhai, better known as uMakoti, made it possible that a reunion between the South African born Dr Mohamed Rashid Goolam Hussain and the local leadership takes place.
Dr Hussain, a medical doctor by profession, studied at the University of Natal and later practised as a general practitioner in the former KwaNdebele, Kwaggafontein. In the late 1980s, due to the unjust laws and the documented history of segregation during apartheid South Africa, Dr Hussain left the country to pursue his career in Canada. He is currently a Medical Director at the Tri-Hospital Sleep Laboratory West in Canada. He is decorated with a number of achievements in his involvement in both the private and government circle in Canada. The Kungwini PCO has partnered with Dr Hussain in advancing the concept of quality education for all. In 2012 and 2013 he formed part of the delegation that consisted of Members of Parliament, Members of Provincial Legislation, councillors, the Chief Whip, the Speaker of Council, religious groups, school governing bodies, city officials, Members of the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign and other important partners during the Back to School Campaign led by Members of the Executive Council in Gauteng Province. The Members of Executive Council, M Nkomfe and N Kholisile, were among those who graced this outreach programme. During this period, schools such as Dan Kutumela High School, Ekangala Comprehensive School, Sithjejiwe High School, Strauss High School, new Zithobeni Combined School and others, were visited by the leadership of government joined by other progressive formations within Region 7 of the City of Tshwane.
Doctor Hussain has led a number of groundbreaking initiatives which included addressing Grade 11 and 12 learners on the importance of studying Maths and Science; he also introduced the School Health Initiative Programme which focused on conducting medical investigations for learners attending the School for the Disabled in Sizanani. He has conducted a cohort study which seeks to address the reduction of barriers to health care, learning and development, as well as the promotion of essential health awareness and behaviour which will have direct impact on a child ‘s school performance, absenteeism and overall health matters. He introduced the concept of teacher-performance at th is school and assisted in improving its results. The role of the Kungwini PCO has been instrumental and commendable to Dr Hussain’s work, noting many of the socio-economic challenges that exist and affects the learners, with limited resources to overcome these unfortunate circumstances.
With his involvement as a doctor in this project, he has been able to offer his [medical] skills and knowledge. His contribution has enabled the district and all its social partners to benefit towards realising the goal of achieving quality health and education in underprivileged communities, residing in areas such as the erstwhile Metsweding.
It is very commendable to experience such a good partnership by local citizenry, in particular with someone who is a professional. Dr Hussain dedicates his life towards addressing the core issues that a touches the lives of ordinary people, without any financial gain. During his last days in South Africa before departing to Canada, the Kungwini PCO, together with the Office of the Chief Whip, deemed it fit to pay a farewell tribute to Dr Hussain as part of recognising his selfless contribution – he visits South Africa during his off-season and holidays, usually between December and March each year. The Kungwini PCO organised a farewell which was attended by the key local stakeholders, such as Leaders of the Gauteng North District, religious groups led by Pastor Jele, Hon MP JB Sibanyoni, Hon MPL R Ndzuta, local councillors led by a convener, Cllr J Masombuka, school governing bodies and various school principals as well as the leadership of the ruling party in the Metsweding zone. All the speakers commended both the Kungwini PCO and Dr Hussain for the work done towards putting Gauteng North District and the Metsweding constituency on the map. This included celebrating the top achievements of the matric results and being the best performing district in the entire Gauteng for 2012.
During this event which took place on Constituency Day, Monday the 25th of March 2013, the Chief Whip of Council, Jabu Mabona, also praised Dr Hussain for partnering with the local stakeholders to achieve a better life for all. He emphasised that this will only be realised when all people are glued together and more hands on and practical in contributing to the slogan of “working together we can do more”.
Finally, as part of paying tribute to the work done by Dr Hussain, the Member of the National Assembly deployed in Kungwini PCO, Hon JB Sibanyoni, also tabled a statement, which was read in Parliament on 19 March 2013, wherein he praised the good work done by the Dr Hussain. Sibanyoni said, “It is people like Dr Mohamed Hussain who, during his holiday, dedicated his limited time in the country and contributed towards bettering the lives of ordinary people and especially with no gain. He has continuously served as an inspiration to the entire area of Kungwini and Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality. On behalf of Kungwini Constituency, I say: Dr Hussain, bon voyage on your trip back to Canada.”