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FAW donates R200 000 to Nelson Mandela Bay’s Impoverished Schools

GROWING POTENTIAL:  High-ranking officials from FAW handed over a R200 000 cheque to six schools in Nelson Mandela Bay, this week. Donating the R200 000 on Monday, 28 July 2014 were FAW CEO Zhang Yusheng (far left), Liu Shijie FAW Port Elizabeth Plant Manager (third from left) and FAW Deputy CEO Hao Jianyu (far right). The headmasters who accepted the cheque were, from left, Empumalanga Primary Primary School principal Nomfusi Maqanda, Mdengentonga Primary School principal Mveleli Mbewu, Imbasa Primary School principal Mluleki Mayekiso, Coega Primary School deputy principal Jerome Maquena and Melisizwe Primary School deputy principal Nomathamsanqa George.

MUCH needed school uniforms will be bought for 300 children from six primary schools in Nelson Mandela Bay after Chinese automotive company, First Automotive Works (FAW) donated R200 000 as part of its social upliftment project, earlier this week.

The five Motherwell based schools who are benefitting from the donation are Fumisikoma  Primary, Melisizwe Primary, Imbasa Primary, Empumalanga Primary, and Mdengentonga Primary.

Coega Primary School in Wells Estate is the sixth school which will benefit from the donation.

The six primary schools identified are located in impoverished areas. At each school staff members were tasked to identify 50 of deserving learners who are in dire need of uniforms.

FAW CEO Zhang Yusheng said: “We get a lot of support from our clients and partners and in order to give back to the community, we decided to establish the FAW Social Responsibility Fund”.

“We will buy the school uniforms then deliver to these schools,” Yusheng said.

FAW, which launched its Port Elizabeth plant, on July 10, in Zone 2 of the Coega Development Corporation (CDC), donated the R200 000 cheque on Monday, 28 July.

The FAW SA group, which has been in South Africa for the past 20 years, already has a total of 285 employees.  Over the next three years, with the plant fully on stream, and the commissioning of further facility expansions in Johannesburg, this number is set to grow to approximately 750 employees by 2016.

FAW recognises the importance of gaining the trust and goodwill of its local communities. The company has introduced the FAW SA Social Responsibility Foundation, instituted together with the opening of the plant at Coega.

Coega Primary School principal Xolile Mpati said “Some of the children come to school without shoes, torn uniforms or no jerseys”.

Mpati added while the uniforms will benefit the learners their parents will also be relieved.

Coega Primary is located in Wells Estate and has 1 132 learners.

“The children who were identified are those who are desperately in need of school uniforms. Most of the learners have to walk 20km to school and most people from the area are unemployed.

“We are very excited about the donation and are grateful to FAW,” Mpati said.

Imbasa Primary School principal Mluleki Mayekiso said there are 1 722 learners at the Motherwell located school and more than 80% of the parents are unemployed.

“An opportunity like this only comes along once in a while and when it does you grab it with open arms.

“Some of the children wear torn jerseys to school, or have one shirt or a pair of trousers which they wear for the week. The children were identified by the class teachers as those who are in desperate need of uniforms,” Mayekiso said.

Fumisikoma Primary School principal Ntsikelelo Vena said the school highly appreciated the donation. There are 1 512 children at the school.

“The poorest of the poor were identified for the donation. Some of the children do not have school uniforms, others wear torn uniforms,” Vena said.

Vena also believes the new school uniforms will boost the learners’ morale.

“Now that they will look like their fellow classmates it could have a positive effect to their school work,” Vena said.

Melisizwe Primary School deputy principal Nomathamsanqa George said the donation will do wonders for the children. The school has 1 169 children.

“This donation means so much to us. Our children are from very poor communities. The area is in dire need of assistance and the school further needs help with renovating the building as well,” George said.

The donation by FAW is in alignment with Coega’s Corporate Social Investment (CSI) objective to contribute to improving the social and economic environment in South Africa, according to Dr Ayanda Vilakazi, CDC Head of Marketing and Communications.

“During the last financial year, 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.

“There is also broad alignment with organisational practice and CSI programmes – and as a result a seamless knit of sustainable relationships exists that ensure CSI is high impact and long-lasting rather than fleeting and simply charitable, ”he said.

Dr Vilakazi said that the CDC’s CSI is in line with its good business practices and illustrates the organisation’s commitment to broad sustainability and integration, not only within the organisation but in the wider Nelson Mandela Bay area, and in communities and around the province.  

“We especially strive 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.

“The net effect is the upliftment and improvement of the lives of individuals in historically disadvantaged South African communities.  The CDC is appreciative when our foreign investors commit to good principles of corporate citizenship to affect positive socio-economic change.  We therefore welcome the example of FAW senior leadership.  

“At the CDC, our focus areas address community upliftment in disadvantaged areas.   The programmes especially support the empowerment and development of youth and women in these communities,” Dr Vilakazi said.