In the spirit of Tata Madiba and his vision to give children quality education and a better life, this Mandela Month, Vodacom Eastern Cape region employees became part of a continuous global movement for good by handing over a nutritional garden of 100m2 that will feed over 1200 preschoolers from the ages 0-5 years, belonging in 38 Early Childhood Development centers in the Nelson Mandela Municipality.
Latest research studies show that school health and nutrition has the potential to improve equity in education by helping children from low-income families to attain good education.
The latter are likely to benefit more than their peers and so this will contribute to closing the knowledge gap between children from high and low socioeconomic groups, leading to more equitable job opportunities in later life.
Launched 10 years ago, Nelson Mandela International Day has gained popular global support and solidarity since it was launched in 2009.
This year the Nelson Mandela Foundation aims to mobilise people, governments, civil society and corporates to focus on these 5 areas: education and literacy, food and nutrition, shelter, sanitation and active citizenship.
Mpumelelo Khumalo, Managing Executive for Vodacom Eastern region commented: “Madiba’s utmost love for children and education touched all of us. It taught many of us that we all have a higher purpose. In this sense, we do recognise that as a company we have both a particular responsibility and a profound opportunity to provide societal value using our resources, hence our focus in education and nutrition in this year’s instalment of the Nelson Mandela Month.
“Children from impoverished families miss school or struggle at school because they don’t have the benefits offered by a balanced diet. In a developing country like South Africa this is the everyday reality and tends to stifle children’s progress in their studies and we had to do something about this societal scourge.
“Our main objective with this garden is to bolster the efforts of the Department of Basic Education, local government and other partners that are playing a significant role in providing meals to school going kids, helping to assist with their development and academic success.
“We know all too well that these efforts will go a long way in helping children from poor background and will help to improve children’s health and bring substantial benefit for education.”
Corporate Social Investment to Vodacom means that the organisation invests and empowers disadvantaged communities, so that they improve their quality of life and play a meaningful role in society and the mainstream economy.
Corporates exist in the contexts that have many developmental needs, giving back to the communities contribute to the eradication of socio development challenges. At Vodacom, we believe in making use of our resources to address societal challenges, concluded Khumalo.
Image: From L-R (centre back): DR Mali (Deputy Principal for Walmer High School), Travis Goate (Executive Head of Department Consumer Business Unit for Vodacom Eastern Cape), Willie Oosthuizen (Trust Manager of The Co-op Community Trust), ) joined by Walmer ECD representatives, kids and Vodacom volunteer staff