After visiting the St John’s Parish Primary School in Visakhapatnam, India, earlier this week, the Coca-Cola South Africa under-19s (U19s) returned on Friday with a donation of just under R10 000 to contribute to the school. The 16 players decided of their own accord to donate money from their daily allowances to the school after they were touched by the work done by its staff and the surrounding community.
The donation of 60 000 Indian Rupees, was handed over by team captain, Yaseen Valli, and team manager, Morgan Pillay.
As a result of this gesture, the school has announced that it will put the money in a new trust fund that will be used to sponsor the education and clothing of one new scholar a year, through a foundation that will be named after the team.
Valli was extremely touched that the team’s efforts could help turn around the lives of young children who will be attending the school.
“This was a very emotional visit for us,” he said. “The reception we have received on both occasions this week has been unbelievably humbling and I am moved beyond words that the school has decided to name a project after us that will shape one young learner’s future every year.
“Education is an important tool to help free a person, young and old, from the toughest of situations and knowing that we have a hand in starting that process for one child every year humbles me beyond words.”
The school holds approximately 1 350 pupils and 50 teachers. Its focus is on the under-privileged children in the immediate area of the St John’s Anglican church and it survives solely on the generosity of the congregation’s donations and those of the non-profit organizations in the area.
The head mistress was blown away by this surprise visit. She hailed the team’s spirit of generosity and the manner in which they have quietly gone about it.
“We have seen many cricket teams come to our school and spend time with our pupils, but this is the very first time that any of them has left a legacy behind. I cannot thank the young men from South Africa enough for the gift they are leaving behind and I hope that one day, they will be able to come back and see the fruits of their kindness,” she said.