Saturday 24 March saw Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) employees giving the Siyaphambili Pre-Primary School in Tamboville, Uitenhage an extreme make-over. Over 53 children aged 2 to 6 years attend this school which struggles to provide sufficient resources on the low income it generates monthly from school fees. VWSA’s ‘Great Show of Hands’ Volunteer Programme renovated and repainted the schoolhouse, installing play structures, a soccer pitch and food garden, as well as installing rain water tanks to irrigate the grounds. The Siyaphambili Pre-Primary School was nominated by 21 Volkswagen employees as a potential volunteer action project for 2011. All the Volkswagen Show of Hands volunteer projects are selected from nominations received by employees.
Following a feasibility study that takes VWSA’s Corporate Social Investment key focus areas into account, the project management team visits the shortlisted beneficiaries to conduct detailed needs analysis in order to ensure that the proposed ‘makeover’ is indeed needed and welcomed by the NGO’s governing body.
2011 saw the launch of the Volkswagen ‘Great Show of Hands’ Volunteer Programme – an employee volunteerism campaign that was established in response to VWSA employees asking for the opportunity to play a hands-on role in Volkswagen’s annual multimillion rand investment into development of local communities. A thorough survey was conducted and yielded results showing that over 70% of the employees wanted to ‘get their hands dirty’ in projects that would see renovation and maintenance, beautification and resources invested into struggling community NGO’s and institutions.
Over 300 VWSA employees participated in the volunteer programme in 2011, impacting on three local NGO’s in the Nelson Mandela Bay area:
A greening and beautification programme was undertaken at Nonkqubela Pre-Primary School in KwaNobuhle in April last year. Volunteers renovated the schoolhouse and installed interactive edu-play resources. Major emphasis was placed on providing a stimulating outdoor recreational and education environment, and to this end volunteers planted 65 trees, laid over 1000m2 of lawn, planted an indigenous nature study garden and provided the start-up seedlings for a food garden at the school. Sustainability of the one-day extreme makeover was ensured through initiatives including a rainwater tank irrigation system.
The Volkswagen Great Show of Hands programme celebrated Mandela Day 2011 by volunteering a thorough renovation of the Orsmond TB Hospital Children’s Ward in Langa, Uitenhage. This project resulted in creating a safe and stimulating environment for up to 100 children who over the course of a year spend between three to nine months in the TB Hospital’s extreme care ward. New beds and medicine cabinets, renovation of bathrooms and kitchen, as well as over 600 individual items of furniture, bedding, linens and edu-play resources saw the children’s ward transformed into a welcoming ‘home away from home’.
In celebration of World Environment Month, the Show of Hands Volunteers tackled an alien vegetation eradication programme in October 2011. Staged at the Lake Farm Centre in Port Elizabeth, the volunteers removed alien vegetation that was choking the watercourse feeding Port Elizabeth’s largest lake. Under the expert supervision of CEN Environmental, the volunteers assisted in rehabilitating the cleared area by donating over 400 indigenous trees.
Now, the 2012 Programme sees more events on the volunteer calendar as Volkswagen employees line up to register as volunteers on their Saturdays. Three volunteer action days will be implemented in Nelson Mandela Bay this year, whilst a national rollout is scheduled for September when Volkswagen employees and dealer staff around the country will participate in a Think Blue environmental volunteer day simultaneously in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and Western Cape.
Participation in the Volkswagen Great Show of Hands Volunteer Programme is open to employees of Volkswagen Group South Africa and their families.