Taxi firm comes to schoolgirl's aid

AMANDA PARKINSON
Last updated 05:00 03/09/2013
Shakala Horn
NICOLE GOURLEY/ Fairfax NZ

SCHOOL TRIP: Thanks to the generosity of Invercargill Taxis, Shakala Horn, 5, will now be taken to and from school at no charge.

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Invercargill Taxis has offered its services to a struggling family after their 5-year-old daughter could no longer get to and from school.

The company has agreed to take Shakala Horn to and from New River Primary School at no charge until other arrangements can be made.

Invercargill Taxis owner Safinah Mohammed said it was no financial strain for the company and they were happy to help.

"It is not fair on her that her education is compromised because she is unable to go to school because of transporting issues," she said.

The company made the offer to help Shakala after a story in Saturday's Southland Times highlighted the girl's plight.

Shakala's mother, Shelley Horn, suffers from rickets and does not own a car.

Ms Horn, who receives a weekly benefit, said she was unable to take her daughter to school each day and could not afford taxis for the daily trip.

New River Primary School principal Elaine McCambridge said she had tried unsuccessfully in recent weeks to find an agency to help Shakala get to school, but was unsuccessful.

Frustrated, Ms McCambridge had resorted to taking the girl to school and dropping her home herself, to ensure she received an education.

Ms Safinah said Invercargill Taxis used to take Shakala to kindergarten before she started school and would assign her the same driver, Bev Saunders.

Those taxi rides were funded by Barnardos, Ms Saunders said.

Ms Safinah said: "We used to take her to kindy, so she is known amongst our drivers. When we read the article I really felt bad for her. Some of our drivers even asked if there was anything they could do."

Ms McCambridge could not be contacted for comment yesterday.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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