Reports show that Mpumalanga was one of the hardest hit provinces,by the Covid-19 pandemic, in South Africa. According to Old Mutual, the crises added many stresses to rural communities already in economically disadvantaged circumstances.
The company has launched several programmes to reduce the impact of the virus on the region’s inhabitants. The allocation of additional budget for the hardest-hit areas of the province was considered a priority, said Bongi Radebe, Chairperson of Old Mutual’s Mpumalanga Provincial Management Board (PMB).
“Many people here face daily struggles caused by unemployment, lack of nourishment, sparse resources and poor infrastructure. The virus has worsened their plight by increasing job losses. Economic activity has declined, many businesses have closed, and sales of locally made crafts to tourists have been badly affected,” said Radebe.
To ensure that the donations were allocated to the neediest areas, Old Mutual consulted the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and four municipalities were identified and provided with personal protective equipment (PPE). Together with the Department of Social Development, Old Mutual also donated much-needed blankets to shelters and delivered food parcels to some of the most impoverished people in the province.
“We are excited about the heightened focus education is receiving through the recent launch of Old Mutual’s ‘Digital Classroom’. The Group has pledged to set up Africa’s largest classroom using digital platforms that are set to revolutionize the way learning is delivered across the continent. Education is the key to lifting people out of poverty and giving them a chance to compete in an open marketplace,” said Radebe.
The Digital Classroom was Launched during Old Mutual’s 175th anniversary, this classroom extends the education-based work already undertaken across the group. The initiative is designed to address the widespread problems of education exclusion and low financial literacy rates on the continent. It will provide connectivity and give learners and other stakeholders a pathway to technology, information and skills.
“As it enables online access, the classroom will help overcome the limitations caused by vastly uneven teacher-to-learner ratios and a lack of physical and financial resources. Learners in Mpumalanga will benefit from our vision of a connected Africa with user-friendly, value-adding experiences that facilitate people along their educational journeys,” said Ms Radebe.