Corporate Social Investment

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Employee gives back

A pair of school shoes may be a small gesture, but it has big impact on the life of a child. Knowing this, Bernard Ndimande was moved to donate shoes to disadvantaged children at his old primary school.

May 28, 2013

CSIshoes insideBernard Ndimande from the IDC helps a youngster put on his new shoes

An employee of the Industrial Development Corporation has taken it upon himself to help disadvantaged pupils from the primary school he once attended.

Bernard Ndimande, who grew up in Mofolo, encouraged by the IDC’s policy for employees to have outreach programmes of their own, decided to donate school shoes to needy pupils from Uvuyo Lower Primary School.

Dispelling perceptions

“I wanted to dispel the perception that out of all townships, people from Soweto have money, which is wrong,” said Ndimande. He donated 77 pairs of shoes to the school on 25 May, at Dorothy Nyembe Park in Dobsonville in Soweto.

“I started buying a pair of shoes every month but then I had a meeting with the IDC’s chief executive and the head of [corporate social investment], who decided that this was a worthy cause to support and they helped with buying the remainder of the shoes.”

The beneficiaries were selected after the principal took an inventory of how many pupils did not have school shoes and whose parents could not afford to buy them. “Being able to go to school in the appropriate uniform not only distils a sense of pride in the pupils but also camouflages whatever financial constraints the pupil might have at home,” said Ndimande.

The IDC and education

CSIshoes insideNew shoes for 77 learners from Uvuyo Lower Primary School

This foray into education by the IDC is not a first. The corporation has been involved in various projects in the sector for several years, and this year it has heeded the government’s call for big business to support education and has adopted 20 schools throughout South Africa, which will be under its wing for the next five years.

“Working for a company like the IDC, one is pushed to give back in many ways as [it] will support whatever initiative you have that will impact the community in a positive way. That’s one of the reasons I am grateful to work for such an institution,” said Ndimande.

He added that coming from this community, he was aware of their plight and asked, what better way to start community upliftment that in your own backyard.

Appreciation from recipients

Daisy Mlotshwa, a grandmother of one of the children who received a pair of shoes, said: “We appreciate everything Ben is doing because I look after two grandchildren on my pension and this relieves my stress. May his soul be blessed as he continues the good work he is doing.”

CSIshoes insideParents dance with joy

Elizabeth Shange, from Mofolo North in Soweto, said she was very proud of Ben and the good he was doing for the community that made him the man he had become. “It’s very hard to look after these kids with grant money as it all goes to their nutrition. Looking after grandkids is so much of a burden in old age so he has just lifted a heavy weight off my shoulders,” she said.

Portia Dube, also from Mofolo North, said: “There are very few companies that are very hands on in helping the community so what Ben and the IDC are doing should be applauded.”

She added that as small as the gesture was, it went a long way for children who would no longer be going to school in tattered shoes.






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