- Ford Credit donated R250 000 and Ford SA a further R100 000 to the Gift of the Givers Foundation to promote education and early childhood development in rural KwaZulu-Natal community
- Funding used to construct new Grade R classroom and ECD centre at Weenen Primary School, 35km from Estcourt, which can now accommodate 45 learners from surrounding areas
- Supports Ford’s commitment to caring for each other and using education to empower and uplift people, assists Gift of the Givers Foundation with far-reaching community projects
Located 35km from Estcourt, the rural school accommodates a total of 356 learners from Grades R to 7, with the new classroom and ECD facility caring for the youngest learners at the school. Ford Credit donated R250 000 to the project, with Ford South Africa contributing a further R100 000. Construction started at the end of 2021 and was recently completed, ready for the start of the 2022 school year.
“Education is the key to unlocking the economic potential of South Africa, and is an important tool for empowering and uplifting communities,” says Neale Hill, President of Ford Motor Company Africa. “Funding the new Grade R classroom at Weenen Primary School is vital in giving children from this rural area a solid educational foundation.
“It is a privilege to partner with Gift of the Givers Foundation again on another crucial project, which reaffirms Ford’s commitment to the country and caring for the people of South Africa,” Hill says. “The team from Gift of the Givers, under the guidance of Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, does exceptional community work across the country, and we commend the foundation for making a meaningful and long-lasting impact on peoples’ lives.”
The Grade R learners were previously taught in a physical education changing room with poor ventilation and lighting, which served as a less than ideal space for the children to truly learn and grow. With the newly constructed classroom, Weenen Primary School can now accommodate 45 Grade R learners in a suitable learning environment.
Navindren Naidoo, principal of Weenen Primary School, expressed immense gratitude to Ford SA, Ford Credit and Gift of the Givers for the new Grade R classroom: “The school has been trying since 2008 to obtain sponsorships to build the much-needed ECD centre and Grade R classroom, but to no avail until 2021 when Ford and Gift of the Givers came to our rescue.
“The building of this classroom comes at a time where the number of learners has increased drastically,” Naidoo says. “Previously many learners were turned away due to lack of floor space, so the school staff, learners and the Grade R educator are overjoyed at the completion of this much-needed classroom that will ensure effective teaching and learning takes place.”
The recently completed classroom has allowed more learners to be enrolled for the start of the 2022 school year, and has also made it possible for Weenen Primary School to accommodate children with disabilities. “The school is very proud to announce that this year we have enrolled a physically challenged Grade R learner. This ensures we are able to give learners with physical disabilities equal opportunities for education, which wasn’t previously possible due to the limitations of the facilities,” Naidoo says.
The impact of the donations from Ford SA and Ford Credit, along with the selfless generosity of the Gift of the Givers Foundation goes beyond just a new building erected at Weenen Primary School. It is a long-term investment in creating an enabling learning environment for the children and families of Weenen, and allows Ford to be a part of a legacy programme that will contribute to future generations.
“Gift of the Givers values the expanding partnership with Ford South Africa. The funding of the ECD and Grade R classroom at Weenen Primary School is indicative yet again of the importance Ford attaches to education and the development of our children at the very grassroots,” says Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of the Gift of the Givers.
“These vulnerable children in rural and smaller communities need all the assistance, love and support they can receive. A brand-new building and new furniture, along with greater opportunities for learning and hope, motivates learners, educators and the community. At a time when South Africa is in crisis, such as during the civil unrest experienced in KwaZulu-Natal last year, companies like Ford are a beacon to our nation,” Sooliman says.
“Ford has already supported us with tackling the impact of the COVID-19, installing boreholes at schools in Nelson Mandela Bay to address the devastating drought, helping to deliver winter warmth, and providing vehicles for logistics and multiple other initiatives, for which we are extremely grateful.”