On 19 May 2017, a donation drive led by Nestlé South Africa employees and endorsed by Nestlé Professional, a business unit of Nestlé South Africa, presented 20 mountain bikes and safety gear to Mpumelelo High School in KwaZulu-Natal, in an effort to assist learners who walk long distances to and from school on a daily basis.
When the school’s management raised concerns over an increase in late coming, absenteeism and drop-out rates due to longer traveling distances by learners, Nestlé employees started the bicycle donation drive, through the Employee Volunteerism Programme.
The Nestlé Employee Volunteerism Programme provides employees with opportunities to engage and assist local communities. The programme primarily support the needs of local communities based on Nestlé’s Creating Shared Value pillars of Nutrition, Water and Rural Development, with a recommended focus on Nutrition, Health and Wellness
The donated bicycles will remain the property for the school and will not only assist learners to get to school but will also promote a healthy lifestyle for them. Known health benefits of riding a bicycle include, increased muscle strength and flexibility; improved joint mobility; decreased stress levels; improved posture and coordination; strengthened bones; decreased body fat levels; prevention or management of disease and others.
In 2011, Mpumelelo High School became the first school to be adopted by Nestlé South Africa due to its impressive matric pass rate and a determined work ethic demonstrated by its educators, under the Nestlé Adopt A School Initiative. This adoption came as result of Brand South Africa’s Accord on Basic Education and Partnership with Schools campaign, which sought to encourage businesses to adopt schools and donate educational facilities.
In 2013, the school became part of a video series called Schools That Work. The series was conceived by former University of the Free State vice chancellor Jonathan Jansen and focused on disadvantaged schools that continuously achieve exceptional results.
“We are very happy with this generous gift from Nestle employees. We hope that these bicycles will help us in addressing our current absenteeism, late coming and drop-outs due to lack of proper transport. We also hope that the bicycles will encourage the learners to work harder and not focus their attention on their strenuous daily commute on foot,”
says Mpumelelo High School Principal, Bonginkosi Maphanga.
Nestlé South Africa spokesperson, Motshidisi Mokwena says this bicycle donation drive is one of the many programmes where employees are encouraged to put aside time to take part in community projects. “We are encouraged by the support we have received and we hope that these bicycles will have a positive and meaningful impact in the lives of the learners of Mpumelelo High School.”
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