Everyone has a fundamental right to education. Education is able to arrest and reverse cycles of generational poverty and has proven to be a successful tool to uproot poverty.
One of South Africa’s leading black empowered and diversified mining and energy solutions company, Exxaro Resources, has always recognised the importance of education and ensuring tangible change happens in improvised communities.
Exxaro has undertaken a comprehensive assistance programme over the past 12 months to support our education system. From renovating school buildings; and supplying equipment, to hosting academic camps and sponsoring school shoes to children in need.
“The right to quality education is fundamental if we are to reduce poverty and inequality. Unfortunately, most of our learners don’t have access to quality education and infrastructure. We have committed to work hand in hand with our hosting communities, local municipalities and the Department of Education to make sustainable changes and break the cycle of generational poverty,” explains Tebogo Leepile, Community Development Manager at Exxaro.
The company’s edu-support highlight in 2021 was hosting a career expo for Grade 12 learners from Lephalale in collaboration with Lephalale Municipality. About 1000 learners from Lephalale schools participated in the career expo. The company further collaborated with three education circuits in Lephalale and identified 70 learners who undertook a psychometric assessment (aptitude test). The intention was for the leaners to be able to identify their strength so that they can choose careers aligned to their strength and interest. To supplement issues of good career choices, Exxaro further distributed 1000 books about post school to selected schools across our host communities.
Another great success is the company’s flagship programmes in its digital transformation initiative which aims to connect schools to Wi-Fi. Two of the seven selected schools in Lephalale, Nelsonskop Primary School and Phegelelo High School have been connected to a high-speed wireless connection.
Seventy-two schools in Lephalale were selected and twenty-five schools with high reception points will be connected in Q2 to Q3 of 2022, followed by the remaining schools. The total budget for all the 72 schools is R22 266 547,51. For Nkangala, 16 schools were identified for connection with a budget of R5 898 570. Connection to all the schools will be completed by Q4 2022. The project, which is being implemented in partnership with the Impact Catalyst, has an allocated budget of R28 165 117,51 for the entire project benefitting 88 schools.
“It’s these kinds of interventions that we believe will help us to contribute to an environment in which we can develop the next generation of South Africans who will move our country in a new era of hope and prosperity,” said Leepile. “We believe that as a responsible company we must make a positive impact and through our focus on education we know that we are giving these young people a chance at a better future.”
Among some of the other successes recorded by Exxaro are the following:
- At all its business units, namely Grootegeluk, outside Lephalale Limpopo; Matla; Belfast and the Coal Central Complex all inMpumalanga, collected and donated more than 600 pairs of shoes to needy learners;
- Undertaking to build four classrooms, two toilets each for girls and boys, and a hall in Nelsonskop Primary School, Lephalale;
- The completion of two classroom blocks containing three classrooms and four storerooms at the Arnot School in Mpumalanga;
- Project support programmes for the Sedibeng special school in Lephalale;
- Supporting 15 technical and vocational education and training (TVET) female students from second year of study in the engineering field.
- Food gardens were established at three schools in Mpumalanga in collaboration with World Vision (Cosmo Haven, Bonginhlanhla and Bonani schools)
- 10 learners from across Exxaro’s areas of operation were selected to improve their Mathematics and Science performance through the EduMap bridging programme.
- Numerous donations to historically disadvantaged schools to assist improving the standard of education in their communities.