From The Star (South Africa)
March 30 2012 at 09:32am
By Noor-Jehan Yoro Badat
ANYWHERE else it would be an improbable sight. A group of Muslim and Jewish teenagers are gathered on a patch of grass, chatting and laughing.
Yet here they are, meeting every Friday, under the guidance of Marilyn Bassin and Moulana Riaz Simjee, to work on a common cause. The pupils of King David High School Linksfield and the Lenasia Muslim School are on a voluntary mission to offer comfort, friendship, entertainment and food to disabled and sick children at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto.
As intended, their interaction has spun off into a deeper understanding of and respect for the other’s culture and religion.
It began more than a year ago when Bassin, a physiotherapist and a trustee of Boikanyo-The Dion Herson Foundation, an NGO that works with children who have physical disabilities, attended a junior school mini-city council function.
During the function, Bassin showcased a Shona Buggy, a customised wheelchair, and discussed the need for this equipment at hospitals. Later, she was approached by Simjee, who was keen to assist her.
She invited him to join her at the facility where she volunteered.
Simjee brought along a few pupils. Bassin, too, was accompanied by some pupils, including her 17-year-old daughter Gina.