In a remarkable display of community engagement and commitment to social responsibility, students from the Department of Marketing Management at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) have taken on the challenge of combating hunger. As part of their curriculum, these dedicated students embarked on a project aligned with UJ objectives and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Led by Ms. Relebohiseng Matubatuba, a representative of CBE Community Engagement, and supported by Dr. Mthobisi Nhlabathi, the students demonstrated their passion for making a difference.
The primary focus of this inspiring project was SDG Goal #2: Zero Hunger. The students were entrusted with the task of organising a Noodle Collection Drive, aimed at collecting instant noodles. To raise awareness and garner support for the cause, the students utilised various mediums such as posters and videos. They reached out to fellow students, as well as the neighbouring communities surrounding UJ and their respective hometowns, in an effort to collect as many noodles as possible. This endeavour exemplified UJ’s core values, emphasising the concept of ubuntu – participating in community assistance.
The students’ dedication and hard work paid off immensely. By the end of May 2023, they had successfully collected over 10,000 packs of instant noodles. In June 2023, these donations were distributed to several charitable organisations in need. The Immaculata Shelter, which supports the homeless in Rosebank, Noah’s Ark, an organisation helping orphaned and vulnerable children in Yeoville, POWA (People Opposing Women Abuse) in Vosloorus, and Woodside Sanctuary, a home for the mentally and intellectually disabled in Auckland Park, were among the beneficiaries of this remarkable initiative.
These organisations, recognising the impact of the students’ efforts, expressed their intention to share the donations with other organisations, magnifying the project’s reach far beyond its initial scope. The students were overjoyed with the outcomes of their project, knowing that they had made a positive impact in the fight against hunger.
Michael Ntuli, the Manager of Immaculata Shelter, expressed his gratitude, stating, “This is more than we expected and will be shared with our other shelters in Berea and the Johannesburg CBD.” Loné Lourens from Woodside Sanctuary also conveyed her appreciation, exclaiming, “This is absolutely wonderful, thank you so much for thinking of Woodside.”
Stephanie Venter, UJ’s Community Engagement Coordinator for CBE, acknowledged the significance of the students’ contributions, saying, “May you be fully aware of the incredible answer you are to a need for this organisation. They are love in action for many unhoused men and women. That meal is a lifeline for many.”
The impact of this project extended beyond the immediate beneficiaries, inspiring both the students and the community at large. Nceba Zindela, one of the UJ students involved, shared her transformative experience, stating, “Learning about this has changed my perspective on life and has made me want to give back more to society and make it better for someone else.”
The Department of Marketing students at UJ have demonstrated the power of education and community engagement in addressing social issues. Their dedication, compassion, and commitment to fighting hunger serve as a shining example for others to follow. As they continue their academic journey, it is certain that these students will carry the valuable lessons learned from this project and make a lasting impact in their future endeavours.