Cape Town – A Lavender Hill teen who lost everything in a devastating fire that almost killed his grandmother says he has been overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers who came to his aid.
Nurdeen Joshua, 18, from Steenberg High was at school when his home went up in flames last month, destroying his study material, sports accolades and coursework.He was studying for his final exams and practising for the Cape Argus Food Lover’s Market High School Quiz.
Islamia College in Lansdowne heard about his plight and decided to extend a helping hand. They donated a quarter of their R8 000 winnings – about R2 000 – for making it to the seventh place to help him out. Ironically, Steenberg High knocked Islamia Collage out of the semi-finals, but South Peninsula High eventually clinched the title.
The college’s principal, Shaheem Galant, said: “We saw that Nurdeen had determination and it was admirable. His conditions did not deter him. We extended a hand to help so he could get whatever he needed. Our aim is to help the poor and the needy. That was part of it, and we thought it would be good to help him.”
He was also given several boxes of study guides, which covered every subject, and stationery – including calculators and books – so that Nurdeen and his 16-year-old sister, Nawaal, could continue with their studies.
A local dentist, Dr Husain Brey, dropped off some clothing and a cash donation for Nurdeen and his family early last week. The Bellville Athletics Club also stepped up to the plate by donating clothes, because Nurdeen is Steenberg High’s star athlete.
One of his teachers, Riedewaan Gafoor, said Nurdeen was putting on a brave face. “He is always a happy-go-lucky child. It’s hard to gauge what he is feeling, if he is sad. He is a very grateful child. He cried when he was handed the cheque. He put down some money for his matric ball that will happen in December this year.
“The school waived his school fees for the year – R1 700 for him and his sister,” he said.
Nurdeen was overcome with emotion on receiving the much-needed help. He said: “I am overwhelmed by everybody’s generosity – especially the kindness of complete strangers. If only they can see how every cent or donation helped.
“It will take months before the council will fix our flat but in the meantime we are slowly rebuilding our lives in our temporary home. I am very grateful and can not thank people enough.”