Roundup of SGS South Africa's Community Activities in 2017
Tekkie Tax Day
Tekkie Tax Day is an annual campaign aimed at raising awareness of and funds for hundreds of NGOs across South Africa. Under the auspices of the Legacy Through Charity trust, the initiative ensures that all funds raised benefit the organizations directly and are not diverted to administration. Supporting Tekkie Tax Day was SGS South Africa’s first community activity in 2017. This involved our employees wearing sneakers, known as ”tekkies”, and each donating 10 ZAR. In total, we contributed 394 volunteer hours.
July 18 is Mandela Day, one of South Africa’s most popular charity campaigns. The day is designed to encourage South Africans to contribute at least 67 minutes – one minute for every year spent by Nelson Mandela fighting for social justice – supporting their community. While 67 minutes is not a significant amount of time for one person to give, when this is multiplied thousands of times, exceptional contributions can be made to people in our local communities. Here are some of the ways in which SGS South Africa employees donated their time:
Leratong Joy for One – Leratong Joy for One is a home and day care center, founded by Peggy Chauke, that serves and empowers children living in the township of Alexandra, near our Woodmead head office. Seven SGS employees visited the orphanage there, providing lunch and drinks, which the children at the home appreciated. The employees also spent time volunteering at the local Marlboro Gardens.
Hope After the Fire – This blanket drive involved gathering donations of old clothes and blankets for families devastated by fires in Knysna, Western Cape. We learned about this initiative through colleagues working at our Maitland office. Twelve employees packed three boxes full of blankets and clothes and delivered them to a center in Port Elizabeth. These goods were then distributed to people in Knysna.
East Bank High School – At the start of the year, SGS South Africa received a proposal from Qualibooks, a company specializing in attracting corporate funding for library resources for underprivileged schools. In response to this proposal, we chose to support East Bank High School, which is situated in the East Bank area of Alexandra and is one of a handful of schools in the township achieving high Matric pass rates.
While visiting the school and meeting with its principal, Mr. Isaac Thloloe, we learned that it had more fundamental needs linked to the renovation and maintenance of its facilities, including its library and science lab. We immediately realized that the school would benefit from support that extended beyond the few hours we were initially planning to donate on Mandela Day. We therefore revised our initial proposal to fund a mobile library.
Desiring to make a positive, long term difference, we have now established a partnership with the school, focusing on three areas of work: renovation of the library, renovation of the science lab, and the funding of general repairs of the toilet facilities and windows. We are replacing the chemicals and equipment in the science lab with those specified in the Department of Education’s current curriculum. We plan to host a workshop for the science teachers, which will include technical skills training and mentorship, after the science lab is renovated. We are also contributing to enterprise development by appointing the company Mainboyz to provide maintenance services.
The Serving Barberton project was brought to our attention by colleagues Juan Smit and Wimpie Geldenhuys, who work at our facilities in Barberton, within the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa. Coordinated by Jonathan Irons, the project, part of Barberton’s municipal services, focuses on employing local community members to provide cleaning and support services. SGS South Africa has sponsored some gardening equipment used in landscaping services around the town. While the project was designed to initially focus on street cleanups and garden landscaping, there are plans to extend its services to include painting and other maintenance work.
Manger Care Center
Manger Care Center (MCC) is a non-profit organization formed to rehabilitate victims of substance abuse. Over time, the organization has extended its support to other people in need, including people with disabilities, the elderly, abused women, vulnerable children and ex-offenders. The organization’s ethos is based on promoting skills and economic development through sustainable agriculture. MCC specializes in providing accredited agricultural training to rural communities, using eco-friendly and sustainable measures across its various projects.
SGS South Africa’s involvement with MCC began with the funding of irrigation tunnels for use in the organization’s onsite farming. The tunnels are intended to support self-sustainability through the growing of healthy crops that can be sold to MCC’s care home for elderly residents. In addition, the construction of the tunnels will be completed with the help of individuals trained through MCC’s academy, SD&ED Projects, who will also plant and maintain the crops.