The donor and former 2003 matriculant, Sasria SOC Ltd employee Bonginkosi Dlamini, said he understood better than anyone, the needs of the community of Okhombe which falls under the Emazizini tribal authority.
“I pretty much understand the challenges faced by the school and socio-economic challenges in the community as a whole,” says Dlamini.
“Most of the students are being raised by grandparents through social grants. As a former learner myself, I know exactly how it feels to go to school without shoes or a jersey in the middle of winter. It is for that reason that I am passionate about giving back to the community. I do not want to see kids dropping out of school because their unemployed parents or grandparents cannot afford a pair of school shoes,” he says.
Dlamini said he could not give back to his community without Sasria. It was because of his employer that the initiative was a success.
He submitted a proposal to the company’s Corporate Social Investment (CSI) department with the school’s details, what was needed and the number of beneficiaries.
Earlier this year Sasria launched an internal campaign called Dare to Care, under which employees were challenged to submit any philanthropic initiatives on their hearts well beyond Mandela Day, and where Sasria could help make them a reality. Dlamini’s initiative was one of them.
“I am just privileged that I work for an organisation that encourages every employee to take part in changing the lives of the less privileged and that is why I took this opportunity.
“I matriculated 15 years ago, and 15 years later the same issues are still prevalent and more ravaging than ever. Addressing education and other socio-economic issues is not a once off event, therefore I will continue knocking on CSI doors to provide continuous support for my school,” Dlamini says.
Tshepiso Chocho, Acting Executive Manager, People Management at Sasria, says education is a focus for the company’s CSI.
“That’s where a bulk of our budget goes. We believe that the development of this country is highly dependent on education. Through the various projects that we are a part of, we try to ensure that our schools are conducive for learning,” she says.
Sasria is also part of initiatives such as EduCate maths and science revision classes that take place in cinemas across the country in partnership with Primestars. The company also sponsors extra English, maths and science lessons to grade 12 learners from different provinces.
“As Sasria, we support the National Development Plan and we want to see economic development in the country especially for the previously disadvantaged communities. We also want to increase skills in the insurance industry. Education helps us to do this,” Chocho says.
On Dlamini’s initiative Chocho said a child dressed in new school uniform Has 1 less thing to worry about.
“We are happy to be involved with such projects that impact our communities. It gives us joy to know that we can contribute, no matter how little, to the wellbeing of our children. We wish that they complete school and go through to university so they can also contribute to the country economically,” she says.
School principal Mr. Dube was honoured by Dlamini and Sasria’s gesture.
“It is a privilege for my school to be selected for this initiative and to see that our former students have not forgotten where they come from.
“Our school is dominated by students who come from very poor backgrounds, the new uniform will definitely change their lives and improve their confidence,” he said.
He said the village school has many other needs including a functioning library and computer lab. However, he was most enthralled by the heart of the past pupils that had sat in Maqoqa classrooms and seeing them succeed in life has been a joy to him.
“I always take pride every time I meet my former students and the amount of success they have reached, considering where they come from, however, in this case I take a special appreciation for Dlamini’s commitment to this school and the support he has been giving us over the years,” Dube said.