Telecoms operator, MTN, brought joy to learners in Soshanguve outside Pretoria when a fully equipped kitchen, 50 bicycles and 430 shoes were handed over by employees of MTN, as part of the company's "21 Days of Y'ello Care", an annual staff volunteer community initiative. The programme ran from 1 to 21 June across MTN markets in Africa and the Middle East.
MTN Group's Rich Mkhondo (right) hands over bicycles to Dithabaneng Primary School learner Zwelakhe Shongwe (middle) and principal William Madidimallo.click to enlarge
In line with this year's theme of "Investing in education for all", MTN staff across the company's footprint in 21 countries embarked on various activities around education, including donating books to schools and libraries, cleaning up and packing libraries, collecting and donating clothes, desks, chairs and computers, and providing Internet access to educational facilities.
MTN's donation of a kitchen, 25 bicycles and shoes touched learners and teachers at Dithabaneng Primary School, after years of suffering and learners missing classes. The nearby Entokozweni Primary School also benefited from the donation, receiving 25 of the 50 bicycles.Improvement of lives will continue
"As MTN, we look back on the past 21 days with a great deal of pride. Our colleagues have done a lot of good, selfless work throughout our operations. We feel particularly privileged as MTN to have had the opportunity to touch the lives of so many learners across our markets in Africa and the Middle East. And as we wrap up this year's programme, we would like to reassure our communities that MTN's commitment to the improvement of their lives continues beyond 21 Days of Y'ello Care," says Rich Mkhondo, executive of corporate affairs at MTN.
The principal of Dithabaneng, William Madidimallo, says the donations come as a huge relief to the school. "Absenteeism and late coming are some of the biggest problems at our school. Due to their poor economic backgrounds, some of our learners cannot afford to pay for transport. As a result, they either stay away from school for long periods or walk long distances to get to school. Now, transport money will no longer be a factor, because the learners will simply ride their bicycles and arrive at school on time," he says.
Apart from walking long distances, some of the learners from poor communities arrive at the school on empty stomachs. As a result, they cannot concentrate and often fall asleep during lessons. "When I arrived at the school in 2006, I introduced a vegetable garden to supplement the feeding scheme started by the government," says Madidimallo.Construction of school completed
This year's 21 Days of Y'ello Care programme kicked off with the launch of the Alexandra Techno Hub, a state of the art computer facility in Alexandra township in Johannesburg. MTN provided internet access and donated a library, books, bicycles and clothing material to Bovet Primary School, also in Alexandra.
In Zambia, employees completed the construction of a school left abandoned due to shortage of funds, and built a classroom at another school. In Cameroon, the campaign took MTN employees to libraries, where they refurbished the facilities. They also collected and donated books to schools, universities and city councils.
In Cote d'Ivoire, MTN staff built classrooms, painted tables and benches, refurbished a school library and collected books, while MTN colleagues in Sudan engaged in a number of initiatives, including a computer literacy project at the Omdurman Islamic University in Omdurman City.