The volunteer programme, which was launched in 2011, is an employee volunteer campaign that was established in response to Volkswagen’s employees’ request for the opportunity to play a hands-on role in the company’s annual multi-million rand investment into development of local communities. Since inception, there have been six volunteer projects in the Nelson Mandela Bay area which have focused on areas of education, youth development, health and community well-being.
The sixth project in the Eastern Cape, saw volunteers help the Limekhaya High School in KwaLanga, Uitenhage take things to the next level by donating their time and resources towards the creation of the school and community resource centre. “After more than a year of working closely with this school through the Volkswagen Community Trust, we have been able to assess the school’s capacity and needs in terms of mathematics, science and computer studies,” said Nonkqubela Maliza, director of corporate and government affairs at Volkswagen.
The research resulted in a funding solution to upgrade the school’s science laboratory facilities and equipment, as well as the creation of a multi-purpose resource centre. In five hours, 70 volunteers achieved the task of renovating and outfitting a 240m² centre with study stations, computer hub, library infrastructure, adult reading corner, children’s edu-play area, as well as a 40-seater theatre for audio-visual content and films.
The second volunteer project in Gauteng had the volunteers donate their time to The Thabile Boys and Girls Guide Centre in Emndeni, Soweto which is home to displaced people. This self-reliant centre has not received any funding for over 13 years.
The volunteers got to work by turning an arid piece of land into a fully functional garden which has enabled the centre to grow their own food. Volunteers also assisted with giving the building a much need coat of paint as well assisting in the soup kitchen, which served more than 600 cups of soup to the community in and around the centre.
Food and Trees for Africa will continue supporting the staff at the centre by teaching them sustainable ways of caring for their garden and using natural resources wisely. These two volunteer projects were based on the concept of International Mandela Day which seeks to inspire individuals to take action and help change the world for the better.
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