Two Historic institutions joined hands in community outreach.

Eighteen  University of Fort Hare community volunteers and ten from Lovedale College's Department of Performing arts joined on Wednesday October 27 - to give the children at the Mzamomhle Day Care Center a Xmas party with a difference!  And one they will not forget for a long time. Mzamomhle provides day care and schooling for 69 mentally and physically handicapped children.

The real stars of the show, apart from the children themselves, were the Lovedale College and UFH students who united their efforts to make it a very special day. In fact they were nothing short of terrific! The song and dance routines expertly choreographed, their music, dancing and comedy skits kept the children entertained...and whetted their appetites for the Xmas braai that was to follow.

 Items given to the children included dresses, slips, tops, T-shirts, socks, underwear, hats, backpacks, and gloves,. Each present was checked as being age and gender appropriate before being individually wrapped and addressed to each individual child. It took an entire afternoon just to wrap all the presents.

UFH Community Project Leader Ms Rose Molefi said "We as a group wanted to provide the children with something they probably have never experienced before, and given their respective backgrounds and disabilities - we felt that a traditional South African braai with chops, wors, pap and gravy would be a great idea....and it was, because the children enjoyed it immensely, and it was a great day for all of us and we loved seeing our kids enjoying themselves so much." She added that the weather, a bright sunny warm day, "could not have been better for this happy occasion."

And the Lovedale College students were such a big hit with the children that they have promised they will be back in 2011 and work alongside UFH students' efforts to improve the quality, social stimulus and interaction of these children's lives. Given the unique rich and historical connection between the University of Fort Hare and Lovedale College, once considered one of the best black colleges on the African continent, this venture could be the nascent beginning s of a new partnership between the two institutions.

Criminology lecturer Mike Earl-Taylor said student volunteers were drawn from all Faculties at the UFH and the experiential training gained in community engagement was both invaluable and empowering for the individuals concerned. "There is no substitute for caring about those that are very vulnerable in our society, one either does or conversely, does not. Our student volunteers are committed and dedicated to helping these children, for whom there are no cures......lead as normal a life as is possible."