By Rod Amner, Journalism Lecturer at Rhodes University
A R200 000 fund, raised by staff and clients of Standard Bank. will ensure that approximately 1 200 local children up to the age of five will have ready access to water in their early childhood development centres (ECDs).
Local ECD Forum chairperson, Pamella Sandi, said the donation to the ECD Forum’s Amanzi Yimpilo Project would fund water tanks and gutters for all pre-primaries in Makhanda: “We will have our own clean rainwater and can continue educating our children,” she said.
“Earlier this year, the water was constantly being switched off – sometimes for two weeks – affecting our children’s education.
Speaking at a handover event at the Monument on Monday, Sandi said 2019 had been “a difficult year”.
“If you look at our leaders, they are only looking after themselves. You start to wonder, ‘Where did ubuntu go?’. Standard Bank is a business that was not only thinking about themselves but heard our call when we called them,” Sandi said.
Sandi said that the fact that the money came from Standard Bank staff, made the donation “even more special”.
“Thank you Standard Bank for caring enough to act.”
Head of Sponsorship at Standard Bank, Desiree Pooe, said Standard Bank had encouraged its staff, clients and the broader arts community to pledge towards making a difference through the #SnapforWater programme, which successfully generated funds.
“For years we have been a part of this community through our partnership with the National Arts Festival and so it was important for us to enhance the role we see ourselves playing in the greater scheme of things in Makhanda.
Speaking at Monday’s hand-over, Standard Bank’s head of retail and business in the Sarah Baartman district, Leigh-Anne De Witt, said her bank saw itself as an “active corporate citizen of Makhanda”.
“We are certainly here to stay,” she said.
The purpose of the funding is to provide a sustainable provision of clean water for drinking, basic hygiene (washing hands and brushing teeth) and cooking in Day Care Centres throughout the town. The Amanzi Yimpilo Project will use the funding for Jojo Tanks and the skills development of the Amanzi Yimpilo Project members.
Pooe said that water was a resource that “should not be denied the most to vulnerable groups in our society”.
“We sincerely hope that we have contributed in our small way to come up with sustainable solutions to their social and developmental challenge,” Pooe added.