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Ubuntu – South Africa’s 12th Official Language All Year Round

While the 2022 Mandela Day theme was “Do what you can, with what you have, wherever you are”, it is the same sentiment that accurately describes the culture of giving embraced and expressed by the team at MiWay, all year round. Over the past 7 years, the company has fostered a relationship with Harmony Primary School in Lenasia, with the aim of identifying short-term investment opportunities, for long-term impact.

This year, the fruits of these discussions took shape and blossomed in the form of major upgrades to the classrooms and sports facilities at the school, thanks to the generosity of a ‘community’ of givers.

“Our CSI projects are focused on education because we believe that it is the ‘equaliser’, and offers young children from diverse backgrounds, the same opportunity to build a solid future for themselves. Every time we make a donation, or offer our time or resources, we’re investing in tomorrow’s leaders,” says Burton Naicker, CEO at MiWay.

Naicker says this particular project was a “great demonstration of the power of collaboration” as a number of the company’s suppliers extended their services, products and expertise to the upgrade of the school’s soccer pitch, 2 netball courts and every single classroom at Harmony Primary School.

Giving comes in many forms – for some it’s a donation of their time. For others, it’s resources or relationships. In this instance, ’MiWay’s ‘Give Language’ included every form of giving, from the inside out, with employees, suppliers, giving partners such as Wallpaper Online, Modern Homes, OmniProtect and ORS, coming together to reignite the passions of young learners.

The school’s acting principal, Haseena Khan concurs: “For the last two years of lockdown, our young learners missed the opportunity to enjoy their social circles, on and off the field. We know that physical activity, and more so, team sports, offer children the mental and emotional stimulation they need, while teaching them invaluable principles and discipline at the same time.”

Khan says the parents, educators and learners are “overwhelmed because this may have been a seed sown by MiWay, but already it’s multiplied!”. Even while in disrepair, Harmony Primary School had extended the use of the school’s sports facilities to other schools from neighbouring communities – the recent upgrade will make these shared facilities “a far more pleasant activity for learners from our school and others”.

“Our country is home to so many stories of young achievers – athletes and learners alike – who were not necessarily educated in classrooms or sport environments that were adequate, never mind aesthetically pleasing or conducive to ‘excellence’. We want to make sure that our giving lends itself to inspiring a love of learning, a desire for excellence and a space in which children are challenged to dream and achieve big,” offers Nthabiseng Moloi, Head of People and Brand at MiWay.

From the refurbished chalkboards and classrooms, to the ‘happy spaces’ with outdoor motivational messages for learners, every part of the upgrade was a result of ubuntu-inspired giving.

“While we seek to serve the needs of our communities as an active corporate citizen, giving is aligned to our company values, as well as those who are part of our team, particularly those MiWay volunteers who came out to put their hands to the plough. For us, giving is South Africa’s 12th official language, called ubuntu,” summarises Naicker.

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