South Africa’s iconic leader, Nelson Mandela, fought tirelessly to improve the lives of people around the world, and this spirit has been captured during this year’s annual Mandela Day on 18 July.
The Ford Struandale Engine Plant used this initiative to transform the living conditions of a wheelchair-bound Port Elizabeth pensioner in the poor community of New Brighton.
“Madiba made enormous contributions to the lives of millions of people around the world, and the best way for us to pay tribute to his legacy is to give back to our communities,” says Satya Banda, Plant Manager of the Struandale Engine Plant.
“We are very proud of the way Ford employees and service providers united to change and improve the quality of life of someone in need. It’s a great achievement, and I would like to thank everyone involved from the church to our colleagues and suppliers for making a real difference.”
The project came to light during the final preparations for Ford’s Winter Drive campaign with the St Vincent De Paul Holy Name Church. The St Vincent Central Council identified the plight of a community member, Phindile Maneli, who is physically challenged and living on his own.
This set the ball rolling for this extremely urgent and important project, and the usual 67 minutes for Mandela Day turned into a far bigger two-week exercise.
Ford’s Wellness Team began with a collection amongst its employees to raise funds to purchase a new wheelchair for Maneli, while staff and suppliers where roped in to revamp his house and make it wheelchair-friendly.
A total of 30 Ford volunteers and contractors embarked on the comprehensive make-over of the New Brighton home, from painting to fixing plumbing, replacing facia boards, erecting fencing and gates, as well as repairing the roof, cupboards and fittings.
CEF Builders, currently involved in construction work at the Struandale plant, set about building an access ramp from the garden into the house, as well as levelling the kitchen floor.
The day culminated in Ford’s management and Wellness Team presenting an emotional and extremely grateful Maneli with a brand new wheelchair.
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