To help fight the spread of COVID-19 at the Durban University of Technology (DUT), the Tianjin Vocational Institute (TVI) of China handed over 50 000 face masks to the University at DUT’s Ritson campus on Tuesday, 8 September 2020.
This donation has come at a right time for DUT since we are expecting to have 66% of our students back on campus as per guidelines in the Government Gazette. The handover was held outside the Luban Workshop, which was set up by TVI, to provide technical and vocational training for young South Africans, last year on 16 December 2019.
The donation demonstrated a strong partnership between TVI and DUT which is aimed at combating the Coronavirus pandemic. Expressing her appreciation on behalf of the DUT Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Thandwa Mthembu and the DUT Senior Management Team, DUT’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement, Professor Sibusiso Moyo said it was a special day for DUT as they received the much needed 50 000 masks from their Chinese partner, TVI, at a time when there would be more students on Campus.
“The masks will help prevent the spread amongst staff and students. The masks will help in protecting our frontline staff and students treated at the Student health clinics. Furthermore, students and staff from the Health Sciences Faculty will also benefit from this donation as often they have to work with patients. It is important for our people to know that the virus is still there and caution must be exercised to ensure we keep our Campus running and operational,” said Prof Moyo.
She also acknowledged the Luban Workshop Project Leader, Mr Ebrahim Asmal who is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Information Technology at DUT and his team for running the Luban Workshop. “The Luban Workshop has a 3D printing facility. The same university that donated the equipment for the Luban Workshop, is the university that donated the masks. We are very grateful for that, thank you so much for the support and for the masks,” stated Prof Moyo.
Chief Professional Nurse, Sister Soori Wardthen, said: “The DUT Student Health Clinics, Department of Student Counselling and Health wishes to express our sincere appreciation to TVI, the Confucius Institute (CI) Headquarters and CI-DUT, for support towards the DUT Community as evidenced by the recent donation of the 50 000 masks. The masks will help in protecting our frontline staff and students treated at the Student health clinics. Furthermore, students and staff from the Health Sciences Faculty will also benefit from this donation.”
Speaking on behalf of the DUT COVID-19 Response Task Team, Prof Nokuthula Sibiya, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching and Learning at DUT said they would like to extend their sincere appreciation to the President of TVI, Prof Bin and his colleagues. “We have about 66% of students who are back at campus and you know the background of our students. Some of them cannot even afford one mask. We really appreciate the gesture. Thank you, colleagues, we look forward to our collaboration,” stated Prof Sibiya.
Asmal said DUT has a short yet very fruitful relationship with TVI which started in December 2019. He said they have been collaborating with TVI for over a year, the project started last year in June. According to Asmal DUT has two wonderfully set up laboratories donated by TVI and the donation of masks is an extension of that programme.
“We find that this relationship has been growing at a phenomenal pace. We would like to thank Frank and Prof Moyo for working on these projects with us and supporting us. Personally, I would like to thank the Confucius Institute and the President of TVI for the wonderful gesture to DUT,” said Asmal.
Co-Dean of the DUT Confucius Institute, Mr Frank Li WU said 2020 has been tough for everyone no matter where you are from. He added that they are glad to see the determination demonstrated by the people to unite as one in fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic. “On behalf of the Confucius Institute, I am so proud to see the collaboration between DUT and China. We are glad to see that DUT and our Chinese partners always support each other. On behalf of CI I just wanted to say we are so glad to have such trusted partners. I hope to see more of these collaborations between DUT and the Chinese partners and hopefully can achieve more in the future,” said Li WU.
Pictured: Durban University of Technology staff excited after receiving a donation of 50 000 masks