Caring teacher honoured

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Philisiwe Chiliza, 17, a Grade 12 pupil who lost both her parent, believes her teacher was sent by God to nurture her future.

Her teacher has for the past three years helped her carry on with life and her studies.

The teacher, Thandekile Hlangu of the Inkosi Mdibaniso High School inHighflats, is a shining example in the community.

When Philisiwe lost her father in 1999 and her mother in 2005, she was left with no one to take care of her and her sister, who was still a minor. Her sister has turned 21 this year.

"I've been buying groceries for both of them every month and given them school uniforms every year and other necessities since their mother died in 2005," Hlangu said.

Philisiwe and her sister were experiencing problems to access the government social grants because they did not have ID documents at the time.

"I applied for an ID in 2006 but whenever I went to Home Affairs they told me my ID had not been brought from Pretoria," Philisiwe said. "I only received my ID two weeks ago, so I can now apply for a social grant.

"I don't know how my sister and I could have survived for all these years without my teacher's help."

Philisiwe is not the only child Hlangu has helped through the years.

By assisting pupils she has made it difficult to distinguish between pupils from poor and those from well-to-do families at the school.

"I identify poor pupils and look at what each child doesn't have," she explained. "From the little I earn I put aside a portion to buy them what they need."

Her efforts have not gone unnoticed.

The community and the MEC for social welfare honoured her recently for making a difference in the lives of needy pupils.

The proof of Hlangu's efforts was evident from the way the pupils dressed. They were all clean, in full school uniform and happy.

"Because I work very close with the pupils I'm able to identify who doesn't have a jersey or shoes," she said. "Then I try to give them these things so that they don't feel left out."

Handing Hlangu an award MEC for social development Meshack Radebe said the community needed more good people like her.