The Ford Struandale Engine Plant and freight partner, WE Deane SA, delivered half a ton of Christmas cheer to a community arts school in Port Elizabeth, comprising seven crates with 71 donated musical instruments, valued at approximately 40 000 Euros (over R650 000).
Although the consignment didn’t quite originate from Santa’s frosty North Pole, it was pretty close as it had been shipped all the way from Norway.
Prof Arne Bjorhei from the University of Tromso collected the dazzling array of second-hand instruments from various cultural schools across the country, as part of the ‘Art is Life’ initiative. These were all donated to the Mandela Metro School of Arts located at the Astra Primary School in Bethelsdorp, Port Elizabeth.
“Alton September, the founder and rector of the arts school, came to see me in August about these instruments that had been collected in Norway, but needed to find a way of getting them to Port Elizabeth,” said Faizal de Doncker, Material Planning and Logistics Manager at the Struandale Engine Plant.
“So I contacted our friends at WE Deane SA, and they made it possible by handling all of the shipping and storage. I have to thank Annemarie Viljoen, the Operations Manager at WE Deane in Port Elizabeth, who worked miracles to get the consignment here, and then eventually cleared through customs without incurring additional costs or duties.”
Alton September was delighted to finally receive the instruments, as well as a laptop computer donated by the team from the Struandale Engine Plant. “Our Christmas arrived early,” he said at the official hand-over.
“My sincere thanks and gratitude to everyone from Ford and WE Deane SA that made this possible, as we can now do so much more with developing the musical skills of our children and the community.
“We started out in 2009 with just six of my own musical instruments, and now with these crates arriving we have over 100 instruments to use and teach people with,” September said.
“This will enable us to have around 500 children on board by next year, as it’s our priority to get them off the streets and teach them the art of music and playing various instruments.”
The shipping of the instruments extends the relationship formed between the Ford Struandale Engine Plant and the community-based Mandela Metro School of Arts.
During September, the school received two converted shipping containers from the Struandale Engine Plant as part of Ford’s Global Month of Caring. The containers are used as a much-needed classroom, kitchen and storage facility for the school.
Aside from the classes run three times a week, the project also feeds the children from the kitchen, as many of them come from poor homes and are often malnourished.
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