Charity begins at home

Telkom executives give to the needy

Kids at Itumeleng Primary School in Brits


On a typical school day, the learners at Itumeleng Primary School in Brits, North West province, used to start their day by fighting  for a chair to sit on for the day. Those who lost out would have to sit on the floor. And at six schools in inner city Pretoria, scores of youngsters would go to school without food and school uniforms.


But not anymore, thanks to the intervention of the Telkom Foundation Adopt a Project initiative. These heartwarming stories show that when executives of companies become truly invested in their CSI initiatives, the results are meaningful and sustainable.


This Telkom Foundation Adopt a Project, launched in 2011, provides Telkom’s 32 executives with R100 000 each to pick a community project which needs support. Not only do they donate money, but they also invest time and skills to show real commitment to the project and build sustainability.


Sarah Mthintso Head of Telkom Foundation says that Adopt a Project plays into employee volunteerism, one of the telecommunications company’s pillars. “We specifically decided to do this project with executives because we know that in the midst of their busyness, they also have a passion and would like to do something to give back to communities. They offer some time, some offer particular skills, and in some instances they also make financial contributions out of their own pockets.”


Itumeleng Primary School was in a desperate state. Students were working from broken chairs and tables and the morale was very low.  Telkom executive Charlotte Mokoena decided to adopt the school and injected R130 000 into refurbishing it with new tables and chairs. The upgrade is significant for Mokoena, who as a past learner there, knows first-hand the impact broken furniture can have on young children trying to learn. Now, with her assistance the school children have a newfound passion to learn.


Telkom executive Marina Jansen put her weight behind Lefika La Botshabelo, a care centre which cares for over 500 orphaned and vulnerable children in Pretoria’s inner city. In 2011 Jansen put her Telkom funding to work; buying school uniforms for 60 needy children and assisting with feeding schemes, plus paying for office space rental, transport and office stationery.


 Lefika now feeds needy children - many orphaned - three times a week at six primary schools, and the children under the centre’s care receive help with their homework and other support.

Earlier this year, Lefika established a pilot project, also sponsored by the Telkom Foundation, at Namo Primary School in Stinkwater, to improve literacy and numeracy during the foundation phase at the school. 


Jansen has invested in this project too. She remarks: “It is heart-warming to give these kids food and schooling and also the enthusiasm to be at school. When we first got involved there, we saw that the school energy was very low. Now with food and smart uniforms and better classrooms, you can feel the energy of happy children growing at the school.” 


Through partnerships with government and community organisations, Jansen’s vision is to help take Lefika’s educational project into more schools and she has the passion to make it happen!

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Issue 83


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