Eastern Cape health department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo has proven to be a man of many talents. When he isn’t helping save lives in the province and communicating his department’s programmes, he is playing his part in transforming the lives of needy pupils across the province.
The Sizwe Kupelo Foundation, founded in 2008, has made significant strides in improving the educational and social needs of many provincial pupils, mostly in rural parts of the province.
The foundation has in the past nine years supported in excess of 20000 pupils with their basic school needs.
Speaking to the Dispatch yesterday, Kupelo said his extensive travels across the length and breath of the province, has exposed him to the need for the charity work that he does.
“Following my extensive travelling across the province, I was touched to witness the poverty and vulnerability of pupils in rural areas, so I decided to embark on this initiative,” he said.
Kupelo added that “seeing that kind of poverty everyday makes me emotional”.
He began identifying pupils and children around the province, and using his own money, started planting seeds of hope in many of their lives.
The foundation’s great work has been hailed by many in the province and beyond.
Since it started, it has benefited over 20000 pupils who have been supplied with school uniforms, bursaries, laptops, soccer kits, renovated playing fields and computer labs, to mention a few.
He has also assisted many families living in dilapidated homes receive decent government housing.
Kupelo’s foundation hosts annual Christmas parties for vulnerable and destitute children in different identified villages across the province.
These parties, he said, are a fun-filled days with helicopter rides and jumping castles for village kids, an experience he said is always a first for many of those children.
“The emotional response from these kids is what motivates me to keep doing this,” he said.
Kupelo said he believes his job as a government communicator has enabled him to carry out his passion for serving.
“Serving government has given me the opportunity to serve God by changing lives. At work and in my personal life, I strive to make a lasting impact,” he told the Dispatch.
Millions of rands have gone into the work the Kupelo foundation has achieved, with him saying if society, government and corporate businesses all worked together to confront the frontiers of poverty, much more could be achieved to assist those living impoverished lives.
For the 2017 Christmas party, Kupelo said the foundation will be distributing soccer kits and school uniforms to rural teams in the Ngqeleni village.
He invited businesses and good Samaritans to come forward with goods to donate.
“We do not encourage financial deposits. Rather toys, uniform, or soccer kits.”
Speaking about himself, Kupelo said he was an introvert who preferred to engage with other people on social media. He also said he was an avid cattle farmer.
“Most people don’t believe that I am shy. Because I love people, service delivery comes first. I am passionate about what I do.
“Farming is my next life once I leave public service. Serving people through charity is my life’s commitment, and I intend to remain doing just that for the remainder of my life,” he said. — firstname.lastname@example.org