The learning environment is about to become a lot more comfortable for matric learners at the Bhekinthuthuko Secondary School in Emcitsheni Reserve, Doornkloof near Ladysmith. The donation of a brand new, fully equipped classroom to the rural school means that the matric class of 2019 will be able to work one-to-a-desk in a setting conducive to learning. Mandela Day 2019, the 18th of July, will see the 60m2 classroom officially opened.
“This classroom comes at an exceptionally important time for these students,” says Mr Madonsela, headmaster of Bhekinthuthuko Secondary School. “With less than 100 days to go until final exams, our matric learners need a quiet and comfortable space to complete the curriculum and revise before the examinations. In most of our classroom learners need to share desks, often up to three learners per desk. We are pleased that they now have this facility thanks to the generosity of Sumitomo Rubber South Africa,” he says.
Sumitomo Rubber South Africa (Pty) Ltd (SRSA), manufacturer of the Dunlop, Sumitomo and Falken tyre brands, undertook the project in partnership with Breadline Africa who focus on providing infrastructure in support of education in resource-poor communities around South Africa. The classroom has been supplied fully equipped with a teacher’s desk and chair, a wall-mounted chalkboard and 30 learner desk and chair sets. The building has also been secured with built-in burglar-proof gates to safeguard the teaching materials. SRSA’s Ladysmith Factory Director, Udaiyappan Ulagappan and Breadline Africa’s Melanie Jackson will celebrate the cutting of the ribbon with headmaster, Mr Madonsela.
“We are very pleased to be able to improve the learning conditions at Bhekinthutuko Secondary School. This classroom is part of an ongoing partnership SRSA has with the school, where in addition to supporting with learning materials, our team of staff volunteers mentor grade 11 and 12 learners twice a week, in mathematics and science. We also provide this assistance to another school in the Ladysmith surrounding area, the Steadville High School,” says Riaz Haffejee, Chief Executive Officer: Sumitomo Rubber South Africa.
“Our staff from across the country also conduct an annual career day at the schools to help learners understand the importance of education. Staff share their learning journeys, study choices, career experiences and goals with the learners to encourage them to make wise choices and stay focused in school and on their future,” Haffejee says.
With #ActionAgainstPoverty as the theme for the 2019 Mandela Day, employees from the tyre manufacturer’s regional offices will spend their 67 minutes undertaking community outreach initiatives that seek to address the issue of poverty:
• The Port Elizabeth office will support the Healing Hands project with a donation of blankets to the value of R5000. Healing Hands caters for the needs of the disadvantaged in the Port Elizabeth area;
• Both the Cape Town and Gauteng offices will be donating a play gym to a local disadvantaged school; and
• In Durban, the head office staff will be involved in a Mandela Day “Plog Squad”, walking distances of between one and five kilometres around the city while collecting litter to clean the environment and support an entrepreneurial recycler. Staff will also prepare and supply hot dogs and sandwiches to deliver to various organisation in and around Durban.
Recognising that although education is key, it cannot be a stand-alone support pillar, SRSA is involved in various other corporate social investment initiatives. These include the Ubumbano Gardens on site at the Ladysmith factory, providing fresh seasonal vegetables to local creches and preschools and a home for mentally challenged children. The garden is also part of a food sustainability training programme where community members are taught skills and assist in establishing home-based and community gardens.
Through the Tyres for Good programme new tyres are donated to registered non-profit organisations to enable them to safely and effectively carry out their valuable work. The Tyres Can Do More initiative trains community members to transform tyre waste into saleable goods and turns old tyres into play-gyms, donated to community pre-schools.