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Partners uplift Komani community with disaster relief and upgrade of school facilities

Home Manufacturing & Processing Automotive Partners uplift Komani community with disaster relief and upgrade of school facilities

COMMUNITY members and a school in Komani (formerly Queenstown) in the Eastern Cape are the latest beneficiaries of disaster relief support from Ford and Gift of the Givers Foundation, following torrential rain and extensive flooding experienced in the area during February 2023.

With large portions of the town submerged and informal settlements particularly hard hit, Ford South Africa and Ford Motor Company Fund responded to the appeal by Gift of the Givers for funding to roll out urgent humanitarian aid. Ford Fund provided a grant of more than R500 000 for the relief efforts, with half the funding earmarked for the distribution of much-needed food parcels, potable water, mattresses, clothing and hygiene packs to affected members of the community.

Once immediate needs were addressed, the focus shifted to assisting St Theresa Primary School in Aloevale, Komani. The school’s toilet facilities had been extensively damaged by the flooding, leaving learners in a dire situation. Recognising the importance of education and learner well-being, Ford and Gift of the Givers decided to use the remaining funds to repair and upgrade the school’s ablution facilities, ensuring the students’ dignity and hygiene were prioritised.

Transformation and government affairs executive director at Ford South Africa, Esther Buthelezi, praised Gift of the Givers Foundation for its unwavering support in community aid and disaster relief mobilisation. Buthelezi highlighted the significance of addressing the immediate needs of displaced families and residents affected by the floods, enabling them to start rebuilding their lives.

“We are delighted that half the funding went to fixing and upgrading the toilet facilities for St Theresa Primary School, as this will have a lasting impact on the wellbeing of learners at the school for many years to come,” says Buthelezi.

She emphasised Ford’s commitment to education as a key focus area, aiming to empower learners with the tools they need to create a brighter future. Improving learners’ overall health and creating a positive school environment remain essential components of Ford’s philanthropic efforts.

Director of strategic partnerships, corporate and government, at the Gift of the Givers, Badr Kazi, expressed gratitude to Ford South Africa for its continued support: “Investing in the leaders and thinkers of tomorrow – this is the core tenet upon which the relationship of the Gift of the Givers and Ford South Africa is based. A more conducive atmosphere for learners and educators is created by investing in a more dynamic society for tomorrow.”

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, principal of St Theresa’s Primary School, Mr M Bulu, expressed immense pride in the transformative impact of the project on the school community. He thanked Ford and Gift of the Givers for revitalising the school physically and instilling a sense of pride and appreciation within the staff and learners, and the broader community.

“Your invaluable contribution has created a safe learning environment, encouraging every student to thrive. Together, we celebrate this achievement and the positive impact it will continue to have on the lives of our learners,” concluded Bulu.

Gift of the Givers’ dedicated team completed extensive work, including installing three additional toilets and two extra basins and taps in the pre-primary section of the school. Moreover, the two primary school ablution blocks underwent significant upgrades, with 24 toilets, six urinals, and 11 basins replaced, along with the fitting of new taps. Additionally, the team painted the inside of the ablution blocks, replaced damaged doors, repaired broken window panes and stone guards, and inspected and replaced damaged water pipes.

The project also extended its benefits to a new classroom block, where ceilings were installed, floors were tiled, 20 windowsills were constructed, plastering was completed, and a veranda roof was built to protect learners from the elements.

This joint effort between Ford South Africa and Gift of the Givers has left a lasting impact on the school community, bringing about a safe and conducive learning environment that encourages learners to flourish.

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