15 June 2012, Middelburg:- Columbus Stainless (Pty) Ltd’s corporate ethos states that a business is not only measured on its ability to satisfy customers and reward stakeholders, or on safety and environmental sensitivities, but also on how it adds value to the community in which it operates.
As part of its own commitment to corporate social investment (CSI) as well as its Youth Day celebrations, Columbus Stainless today handed over 75 DeskBags, school uniforms, and school shoes to HIV/AIDS orphans cared for by the Vukanethemba Home Base Care (Vukanethemba) in Mhluzi, Mpumalanga. The PVC billboards used to make these DeskBags was donated by leading outdoor advertising company, ADreach.
“As a responsible corporate citizen and an active participant of the Middelburg Chamber of Commerce, Columbus Stainless realises that Middelburg has a relatively small community but that there are many needs,” says Jo Mabhena, General Manager of Human Resources for Columbus Stainless. “We identified Vukanethemba Home Base Care as a non-profit organisation that needed our assistance.”
Vukanethemba purely survives on donations but makes a remarkable difference in the community by helping to provide quality life to those living with HIV/AIDS. As part of their daily responsibilities, the 17 employees at Vukanethemba see to the needs of 80 AIDS patients and their families, which include daily home visits, feeding, washing, and dressing patients that cannot help themselves. Further, they also help with counselling and ARV treatment, as well as providing breakfast and lunch for 56 HIV/AIDS orphans daily.
“Our decision to support Vukanethemba’s AIDS orphans was driven by our shared commitment to making a difference among the local community. Not only will their supported children benefit from the new school uniforms but we are particularly excited about the advantages associated with the DeskBags.
“DeskBags are durable and fully functional school bags made from recycled PVC billboard materials, that when folded open, allows for portable desk support too. As many of the children stay in informal settlements, and do not have access to a desk or table at home, the DeskBags will provide them a work surface to do their homework or studies on.”
Madelain Roscher, Managing Director of DeskBags adds that recent studies by UNESCO revealed that there are as many as 4 million children in South Africa who do not have access to school desks.
“Education is one of the most important elements in a child’s life and while many children are eager to learn, their lack of facilities can considerably hamper their educational development and they could subsequently struggle to become positive contributing members of society,” says Roscher.
“Many children do not have access to formal classrooms, and are forced to either kneel on the ground or work on make-shift desks during their school day, which as you can imagine is extremely uncomfortable. In addition, a number of these children walk considerable distances to and from school carrying books and other supplies, and we didn’t want to add to their load, so we created the all in one solution, the DeskBag.”
DeskBags are also eco-friendly, waterproof, and light enough for even pre-primary scholars to use. Each DeskBag also comes standard with reflective binding that allows children to be easily spotted when walking in the rain or dark.
“Over and above supporting needy children in our immediate community, we are also supporting a wonderful enterprise development initiative as DeskBags are produced by disadvantaged women who were previously unemployed,” concludes Mabhena.
For more information on how you can get involved with DeskBags, join their Facebook page on: www.facebook.com/DeskBags.