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Carthage students raise $8,500 to fix South African school’s sanitation

April 09, 2019

During a 2018 humanitarian trip to South Africa, Carthage students were shocked to learn about the documented cases of children falling into pit hole toilets and drowning in human waste.

The students quickly turned to action to address an appalling situation that plagues close to 4,000 schools in South Africa. Carthage students raised approximately $8,500 to renovate and provide a safe, clean school bathroom to the Nkume Primary School in the town of Eshowe.

Carthage students and faculty visited Nkume Primary School in South Africa for a humanitarian tri...Carthage students and faculty visited Nkume Primary School in South Africa for a humanitarian trip in 2018.

“It is very easy to neglect privileges as simple as sanitation, restrooms, and enough supplies. However, people all over the world and specifically the Nkume Primary School do not have these basic necessities,” said Elanta Slowek ’18. “Although the students do not have all of the basic needs in abundance, I have never seen a group of children still so joyful and full of love. Students were so eager to learn new things, and I can only imagine how much more focused and successful they could be in a school with proper infrastructure and school supplies.”

Carthage junior Michael Keys '20 with Nkume Primary School students. Carthage junior Michael Keys '20 with Nkume Primary School students.

Funds were raised through lemonade sales and a generous grant from the Konar Foundation based in New York. Philanthropic efforts also came personally from students, staff, and faculty.

“We believe that every human being has the right to live in conditions that promote their health and well-being,” said Michele Hancock, education professor and organizer of the study abroad trip.

Carthage and Nkume Primary School in a classroom.Carthage and Nkume Primary School in a classroom.

Carthage students will continue their fundraising efforts in support of Nkume Primary School to help with teacher training and other developmental projects. Carthage students have also created a new student organization called The Future of Africa, whose mission is to help African communities and schools, like Nkume Primary School, by fund-raising throughout the year.

“Working side-by-side with Nkume, we wanted to build a better future together. Our project not only helps Nkume but the world,” said James Durdan ’19.

Read more about their experiences in South Africa

Watch: Nkume Primary School’s sanitation system gets renovated