In celebration of World Teachers Day this month, Woolworths has announced the winners of its national Teachers Day Competition.  Ms Pinkie Mchunu, a teacher at Mzomusha Primary School in Inanda, KwaZulu-Natal, is the overall national and KwaZulu-Natal Primary School winner.

Ms Mchunu, a teacher with extraordinary compassion and the willingness to go beyond the extra mile to support at-risk students, was nominated to the Woolworths Educational Programme and MySchool’s 2018 Teachers Day Competition by one of her learners, Asimbonge Ndlovu. 

This year, a record-breaking 33 835 entries were received from school children across South Africa who felt inspired to submit a 200-word motivation about the teacher who has made a life-changing difference to them.  In telling their heart-warming, and often heart-wrenching, stories, learners highlighted that there are a great number of devoted teachers in South Africa.  They have recognised and appreciated teachers who regularly go beyond the call of duty, not just to inspire and help children learn, but to provide invaluable emotional support to those in the grip of traumatic and devastating childhood events. 

In her motivation letter, Asimbonge, a Grade 6 learner, tells her heart-breaking story of living in dire poverty.  Working by carrying people’s goods for them on the street, she was homeless when Ms Mchunu took her under her wing and enrolled her in school.  Asimbonge’s dreams of an education and a better life started to come true.

Through the annual Teachers Day Competition, Woolworths aims to encourage learners, parents and schools to recognise and reward those teachers in their midst who provide an extraordinary service every day in their communities.  As one of the eight national finalists and the overall national winner, Ms Mchunu won a laptop, a R 30 000.00 Woolworths Giftcard, a R 25 000.00 cash prize and enjoyed an all-expenses getaway with a partner to Sandton, Gauteng.  Asimbonge Ndlovu received a R 5 000.00 Woolworths Giftcard, and Mzomusha Primary School was awarded a R 10 000.00 cash prize.

 “It’s so important for us to acknowledge South Africa’s ‘ordinary heroes’ like Ms Mchunu,” says Pieter Twine, Woolworth’s General Manager of Loyalty and MySchool.  “Woolworths congratulates her for her outstanding contribution to her community and our country.  We also thank Asimbonge and her school for participating in the Woolworths Teachers Day competition.  In 2018, the 8th year of the competition, the entries increased dramatically, by 175%!  That’s testimony to the fact that South Africa has many heroic and inspirational teachers who are shaping lives for the better every day.  In our decades of supporting the upliftment of education in our schools, Woolworths has first-hand experience of these amazing teachers who bring hope each day through their deep commitment to our young generation.”