Mercer students who participate in Mercer on Missions feel a strong connection to the place and the people they visit. One such group has taken it a step further and has started collecting for those with whom they worked while traveling.
All last week, students who participated in the most recent Mercer on Mission to South Africa sat in Connell Lobby to collect money, old prescription glasses, old sunglasses, scientific calculators and old phones in order to send to the school they worked with in South Africa. “We noticed the students at our school didn’t have glasses” event coordinator Chase Williams stated. “There are a lot of general things we take for granted that these kids would really appreciate.”
The students in this group made a Facebook event to attract students to donate. Donations started off slowly at the beginning of the week, but the collectors hoped it would pick up as students found out about the cause and remembered to collect old items from their rooms on their way to the cafeteria.
Hector Peterson High School, the high school which will be receiving the supplies, is in one of the poorest areas of Cape Town. While the Mercer on Mission group was in South Africa, they worked with the drama department of the school to teach them how to write and put on a play. This effort went as an attempt to keep the kids off the street and engage with the community.
“Our group worked specifically with the school’s drama group teaching them how to write and put on plays as an attempt to keep them off the streets and out of gangs and to engage with their community through dramatic arts and free expression,” Junior Hannah Hyde wrote.
Students went with Dr. Eimad Houry and Dr. Mary Alice Morgan to Cape Town, South Africa. They felt a strong connection to the kids at Hector Peterson as they saw the daily struggles these kids face as demonstrated by the subject matter of the play they wrote during Mercer’s stay.
The students who participated in the Mercer on Mission noticed the needs that were unfulfilled while they were in Cape Town and came up with this list of needed items. One student pointed out how close some of the students had to put a piece a paper to their face in order to read it, so old prescription glasses made it onto the list.
These items would help the children in Hector Peterson be able to function more efficiently in school. In addition to creating a Facebook event, Dr. Houry sent out a plea to the faculty listserv, hoping that professors would be more likely to have old cellphones and old pairs of glasses available and at easy access. All donations will be sent to Hector Peterson in hopes to help the kids do better in school and function in the community.