Laughter and hysteria was the order of the day at Ezibeleni School for Physically Disabled Children in Katlehong on Heritage Day.
Members of the After the Storm project were dressed as mascots and packed in a great deal of entertainment for the learners.
The Essential Platform is an organisation that has benefited from the metro’s Grant-in-Aid funding for their anti-drug abuse (After the Storm) project.
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The financial assistance from the metro allowed the organisation to train 15 ex-drug and alcohol abusers to become mascots and entertainers for small children and learners.
“The Grant-in-Aid assistance has helped the organisation so much in changing the lives of former substance abusers because now they are able to live ordinary lives, as well as feed their families,” said Pascal Machai, chairperson of The Essential Platform.
The principal of the school Thabang Dagada thanked the mascots for bringing a spark to the event, and for putting smiles on her learners’ faces.
“It is very humbling to see all these children smiling, and I am proud of myself for being able to make someone happy,” said Lefa Mosala, a mascot wearer and trainee.
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The organisation plans to host a workshop and train more ex-addicts who are in their database, and transform them into responsible community members.
“As The Essential Platform we felt that it was our responsibility to go and entertain the children for free as part of our social responsibility programme, and we were so impressed to see our mascot Trump receive great affection from the learners.
“They adored him,” said Pascal.
The Essential Platform has also partnered with the police and local schools to use the mascots as primary figures during anti-crime, anti-child abuse and anti-bullying campaigns.
“The R80 000 received by our organisation from the Grant-in-Aid was used to purchase two mascots outfits, Trump and Bully.
“Since our project is broad and we have a number of beneficiaries, we are going to buy more mascots with the remaining money to empower more young people,” said Richard Ramakhatha, coordinator for The Essential Platform.
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