Saint-Gobain partnered with the Adopt-a-School Foundation to identify schools in South-African local communities that need additional facilities to enhance education. One such school is the Mvelaphanda Primary School in Tembisa, an informal settlement in the greater Johannesburg area whose 850 pupils made do with limited ablution facilities. Building an ablution facility Adopt-A-School Foundation is an NGO that connects the private sector, organisations and individuals with disadvantaged schools in order to improve learning environments. Saint-Gobain funded the building of a modern, safe and hygienic ablution facility consisting of eight girls toilets and eight boys toilets, a handicapped toilet and five wash basins in each bathroom. “The facilities are clean and safe, and the children are proud to keep them that way. One never considers ablutions as an important part of a school, but the dignity of our children is so important to their development and growth,” said Mister Mathava, the principal of Mvelaphanda Primary School. In the company’s pledge to assist the school by building an ablution facility that will adequately service the school and needs of the young pupils, Saint-Gobain made a significant financial contribution to the construction, supplying building products and training labourers to install Saint-Gobain products correctly, to ensure the facility was of a high standard. Improving acoustic comfort The majority of the children in this school are what we call sensitive listeners. They come from many different South African cultures, as well as immigrant families that have moved from neighbouring countries to look for work in South Africa. The language of instruction is English, though most, if not all of the children, are not native English language speakers. They are expected to learn in a second or third language. The chosen classroom houses 40-50 kids at a time. Combine that with hard surfaces everywhere: brick walls, concrete floors and flush plaster ceilings; and you have practically got a noise factory as opposed to a knowledge temple. That is why Saint-Gobain Ecophon joined in an effort to improve the learning environment and provided a high performance Class A ceilings to lower sound levels and wall panels to improve speech clarity. Saint-Gobain's employees personal contributions In addition, Saint-Gobain employees made a difference on a personal level by contributing school uniforms, shoes, toys, stationery and food that they collected to the school. Saint-Gobain arranged a ceremonial groundbreaking event hosted at the school on 13 May 2015. It was attended by senior Saint-Gobain executives and directors, not only from the local office, but also from abroad. Representatives from the Department of Education and the school governing body were also in attendance to witness the official start of the building. Did you know ? Saint-Gobain also offered to donate 2 of the cast iron ports manufactured by Saint-Gobain PAM to the school's recently built kitchen.