Joy was palpable at six different schools in Nelson Mandela Bay this week as 300 children received much needed school uniforms from leading Chinese automotive manufacturer and Fortune 500 Company, First Automotive Works (FAW), as part of a major corporate social investment (CSI) drive.
FAW donated the school uniforms, valued at R200 000, to children at six different schools, located in the impoverished Wells Estate and Motherwell communities, close to where it has established a truck assembly plant in Zone 2 of the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ).
At each school staff members were tasked to identify 50 learners who are in dire need of uniforms.
The uniform packs made up for both boys and girls – consisted of a pair of school shoes, a shirt, trousers, skirt, school tracksuit, school jersey, a tie, and a pair of socks.
The five Motherwell-based schools who benefitted from the donation were Fumisikoma Primary, Melisizwe Primary, Imbasa Primary, Empumalanga Primary, and Mdengentonga Primary.
Coega Primary School in Wells Estate is the sixth beneficiary.
Richard Leiter, FAW executive director encouraged the children to continue with their education and to study hard.
Leiter said: “We hope to continue our work with the schools and extend our social upliftment programme to other schools in the Eastern Cape”.
“We are privileged to be here. We are your new neighbours and will look after you and assist you,” Leiter said.
He told the children that they should aim to someday “become engineers, like in China, where everyone is an engineer”.
“You must work in the automotive industry and, one day, own your own business,” Leiter said.
FAW, which launched its Port Elizabeth plant, on July 10, in the Coega IDZ, is fully committed to community upliftment and introduced the FAW South Africa (SA) Social Responsibility Foundation with the opening of its plant.
Over the next three years, with FAW’s Coega IDZ plant fully online, and the commissioning of further facility expansions in Johannesburg, this number is set to grow, and approximately 750 work opportunities will be created for the South African economy by 2016.
The donation by FAW is aligned with the Coega Development Corporation’s (CDC) CSI mandate to improve the lives of those affected by socio-economic inequalities, according to Thandi Rayi, CDC CSI manager.
“We encourage our investors and tenants to invest in communities. This donation will make a big difference to the learners and it will encourage them to fully participate in the learning process,” Rayi said.
Coega Primary School principal Xolile Mpati said the contribution meant a lot to the school, families and children.
“Some of these children are from very needy homes and don’t have the basic necessary items for a uniform such as school shoes. This donation will close the gap between those who have a uniform and those who do not,” Mpati said.
Mdengentonga Public Primary School principal Mveleli Mbewu was very happy with the donation and said the children and their families will appreciate the uniforms.
“This will boost the children’s moral. The majority of the children’s parents are unemployed. At the school we are a family and we want all to look the same,” Mbewu said.
During the last financial year (2013/14), the CDC invested in excess of R17-million in the local and regional communities, contributing more than the 1% of its total budget required to CSI initiatives.
Rayi, said that the CDC’s CSI is in line with its good business practices and exemplifies the organisation’s commitment to broad sustainability and integration.
“We work towards making meaningful contributions to job creation, environmental protection, heritage and culture alignment, training and skills development, business partnerships, enterprise development and engagement with communities,” Rayi said.
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