Despite a number of difficult factors, such as strict Lockdown Alert Level 4 regulations and civil unrest, Sappi’s employees soldiered on by collecting and donating generously for Nelson Mandela Day, with the company matching these contributions.
Sappi Southern Africa normally rallies the call to #ServeLikeMadiba every year by encouraging its staff to give generously of their time in the week around Mandela’s birthday.
Most fittingly, one of Sappi’s biggest beneficiaries this year was the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) – the first dedicated children’s hospital in Gauteng in operation since 2017 – which received a donation of branded blankets, Typek A4 paper and hand sanitiser.
Staying in Gauteng, Sappi’s head office staff partnered with the Helen Joseph Hospital – a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Witwatersrand’s Medical School and established in 1967 – which received a much-needed specialised fridge for storing Covid-19 vaccines and other medication at the optimum temperature.
In KwaZulu-Natal, the Sappi Forests personnel heeded the call of the very young, when they donated 90 packs of baby nappies to the Salvation Army’s Joseph Baynes Children’s Home in Pietermaritzburg. The staff who received these were delighted.
Elsewhere in KwaZulu-Natal, several of the company’s neighbouring forestry communities in the Midlands were supplied with essential nutritional porridge packs. Firstly, Sappi Forests joined forces with Savithi Trading Company, one of its contractor partners, and 1500kg of porridge was distributed. A further 3000kg of the porridge has been procured by Sappi to be distributed by their teams of foresters and community relations personnel, who will work closely with the Department of Social Development to identify and distribute the porridge to child-headed households in their operational areas near KwaMbonambi, inland near Ixopo and Bulwer and in the vicinity of Greytown and surrounds.
In the communities of Umkomaas, Mandeni and Stanger, surrounding their three mills in KwaZulu-Natal, their employees contributed towards securing foodstuff to be distributed in food parcels via local NGOs to people who had been affected with food shortage, exacerbated by the recent disruption of supply chains.
In Mandeni, House of Hope, Ikhwezi Welfare and Mandeni Welfare received food parcels to feed 60 families for a month. In addition, the skilled handymen at Sappi’s Tugela Mill will repair the roof of the House of Hope, later this month. In Umkomaas, the Place of Safety, Faith and Hope, Khanya Hospice, the South Coast Community Care Centre and Ukhamba Drop-off Centre will receive donations of at least a hundred food parcels, while seven ECD centres will receive sanitiser, masks and soap. Similarly, their Stanger team will work with the KwaDukuza Child Welfare, Inqolobane Children’s Home, Gledhow Cultural and Heritage Association, Nkukhwini Feeding Scheme and Dolphin Coast Hospice in distributing much-needed food parcels
At the Mpumalanga operations, Sappi teamed up with members of the Ngodwana Integrated Community Forum and arranged an Early Childhood Development Outreach programme, donating blankets and goodie bags to the children of Empilweni Day Care and Woodhouse Day Care centres. In Barberton, the children at the St John’s Care Centre each received a care parcel containing toiletries and a soft toy, whilst the Centre received Typek office paper, along with the nine Penreach Early Childhood Centres that Sappi supports in the Emjindini Township.
Commenting on the initiatives by employees, supported by the company, Sappi Southern Africa Communications General Manager Mpho Lethoko said, ‘We have long encouraged our employees to take action and serve their communities and to inspire change. We are always immensely proud of the way in which they stand together and embody the spirit of Madiba; and that they have done so again despite the challenges there were this year.’