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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  21 Jun 2013

CSI: Fruitful Partnership Reason for New Computer Lab Opening

 





Recent Gauteng Business News

A fruitful partnership between South African fruit exporter Dole South Africa and shipping line Safmarine has culminated in the opening of a colourful new computer laboratory and classroom facility at the Khensani Primary School in Soshanguve, Gauteng.

According to Khensani’s Headmaster, Dr Fannie Sebolela, the new computer lab and classrooms funded by Dole and Safmarine will be used to grow the skills base of learners, teachers and Soshanguve community members.

Speaking at the opening of the new facility on May 30, 2013, Dr Sebolela said:

“This new computer lab and classrooms will be more than a facility for teaching our young learners computer skills. Rather, they will be used as an ‘information hub’ for the community of Soshanguve because these facilities have the potential to change the lives and shape the future of our community by enhancing the quality of their education and their access to information.

“Information Technology is all around us. It is changing fast and impacting our society in so many ways and it is essential that children in township schools are given an equal opportunity to acquire IT skills and knowledge and access to information.

“This facility will be used to inspire our youth and encourage them to achieve more. In short, it will equip our children for the future and give them the opportunities many of their parents could only dream of.”

Dole South Africa’s CSR Manager, Theda Doman, said investment in education was a priority for Dole South Africa.

“Our CSR focus is on education and our preference is to keep our projects focused and relevant so that we are able to commit personal time to each project. “

Dole South Africa was first introduced to Khensani Primary School eight years ago when the school was a beneficiary of a Dole-sponsored nutrition programme conducted at schools in the Gauteng region.

The relationship between Dole South Africa and Khensani has since grown in leaps and bounds and when Khensani needed additional infrastructure for a computer lab and classrooms, Dole in turn approached Safmarine for assistance.

Dirk Hoffmann, Safmarine’s Southern Africa Cluster Manager, said Safmarine welcomed the opportunity to extend its partnership with Dole South Africa beyond their day-to-day business relationship.

“Partnerships have been central to the Safmarine Containers-in-the-Community project since the very start of the programme 21 years ago and we are committed to supporting community development into the future by continuing to partner with socially-minded companies who, like Safmarine, believe in ‘making the difference’.”

Hoffmann said the sustainability and success of many of Safmarine’s Containers-in-the-Community projects could be directly attributed to employee involvement and commitment.

“It’s the hands-on, passionate and active involvement of Safmariners over the years which has enabled our Containers-in-the-Community projects to make a real, visible and practical difference to those who need it most.”

Hoffmann said it was appropriate that the new Computer Lab and classrooms – which incorporate two shipping containers in their design - had been dedicated to the memory of the late Alida Riddell, who had spent almost 25 years at Safmarine where she spearheaded numerous IT and related projects.

“Alida was widely known and respected for her IT knowledge and skills, her integrity, her generosity of spirit and her willingness to assist and mentor others.

“It is therefore most fitting that this new facility will be used to nurture and stimulate the young and eager minds of learners at Khensani Primary School, a school which has, under the leadership of Dr Sebolela, become a role model and positive example to many schools in South Africa.”

Dr Sebolela has, for the past 14 years, used his passion for partnerships, hard work and his love for the environment to transform the school from ‘dilapidated’ to ‘dynamic’.

The school is today widely recognized for providing a high quality education to its 1264 learners, all thanks to Dr Sebolela’s leadership and the partnerships he has formed with businesses and educational and other institutions, including a link and skills exchange programme with two schools in the United Kingdom.

Among those present at the opening of the new computer lab last week – where young learners promised to “keep the new computer lab and classrooms clean and beautiful” - were representatives from the school’s governing body, officials from the Gauteng department of Education, representatives from Safmarine, Dole South Africa and Pick n Pay as well as educators from neighbouring schools. Also present was the head of Tithebarn School in Stockport, UK, one of Khensani’s ‘link schools’.

Dole South Africa, Safmarine and IBM have donated computers to equip the new laboratory. A further 20 computers are still required and anyone interested in donating additional computers should kindly contact Dr Fannie Sebolela on emailfanniesebolela@gmail.com or on mobile number +27 82 561 6878 or 012 7974217 to make their donation.

ABOUT KHENSANI PRIMARY SCHOOL AND DR FANNIE SEBOLELA

  • Khensani Primary School is the latest beneficiary of Safmarine’s Containers-in-the-Community programme, which has, for the past 21 years, used decommissioned shipping containers to provide infrastructure for community development.
  • The school opened in 1974. When Dr Sebolela became its principal in 1999, there were 252 learners and eight teachers - today there are 1264 learners and 28 teachers.
  • Dr Fannie Sebolela was honoured by the South African teaching fraternity with a lifetime achievement award in 2004, the highest honour in the National Teachers Awards, and voted South Africa’s top headmaster in 2007.

ABOUT SAFMARINE'S CONTAINERS-IN-THE-COMMUNITY PROGRAMME

  • Safmarine, which pioneered the use of shipping containers for social upliftment purposes 21 years ago, has a proud heritage of using its award-winning Containers-in-the-Community programme to support education and community development in South Africa.
  • In 1992, Safmarine pioneered the 'Containers-in-the-Community' corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme involving the re-use of seafreight containers, 'retired' from ocean-going service, into permanent, land-based structures. More than 8000 containers have been converted since the project began two decades ago. The majority of projects have focused on education and skills development.
  • For this initiative Safmarine has received a number of awards, among them the Lloyd's List Award 'for creativity of using containers' and Education Africa's 'Presidential and Premier Education Award’. The most recent award is for ‘Commitment to CSI’ Award which was presented to the company in April 2013.
  • Tsai Design Studio – who designed the Alida Riddell Computer Lab for Khensani Primary - last year won a Silver Loerie Award for the multi-functional Grade R classroom facility at Vissershok Primary School near Durbanville, South Africa

 
 
 
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