Mandela Day was celebrated in style in Bhekintuthuko Secondary School, on the outskirts of Ladysmith, in rural KwaZulu Natal, when Sumitomo Rubber (SRI) SA and Dunlop SA handed over a 60m2 prefabricated classroom to the class of 2019, amid earnest promises of a 100% Grade 12 pass rate!

Proceedings began with the handover of well-stocked backpacks to each of the Grade 12 students, and an official ribbon-cutting ceremony, led by Udaiyappan Ulagappan, Director: Production at SRI and Mr Samuel Madonsela, the principal of the school.

The children, their teachers and the invited guests, which included representatives of the community and the Department of Basic Education, were invited to join the SRI team in a nearby hall, for the formal portion of the handover and light refreshments.

Melanie Jackson, the Marketing Manager of Breadline Africa congratulated the children on their beautiful new classroom, and thanked SRI for their generosity in funding and equipping the facility, along with providing necessities for the upcoming examinations. She encouraged the class to reiterate their promise of a 100% pass rate and wished them luck.

Mr Ulagappan from SRI expressed similar sentiments and encouraged the students to take good care of their new classroom. The factory has recently forged a relationship with the school and has committed to working with Breadline Africa to provide more classrooms. Mr Madonsela explained that if the school were to receive five more similar structures, there would be enough space for all 967 children to have desks of their own.

As Nelson Mandela pointed out: “There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time and energy to help others without expecting anything in return.” On the 10th anniversary of Nelson Mandela International Day, we ‘walked the talk’ at Bhekintuthuko Secondary School!

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