Big little steps to improve learners daily life in Africa

July 06 2018

At Saint-Gobain, we believe that small steps make great strides. 

Education is not only essential for economic growth, but also as a means to fight poverty. Many studies have shown that there is a correlation between the physical environment and the quality of education.

In 2015, to celebrate the 350 years of the Group, we adopted three disadvantaged South African schools. We provided expertise and materials for the construction of a kitchen (KwaZulu-Natal), ablution facilities (Gauteng) and classrooms (Western Cape).

This year, to celebrate what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday, we want to make a difference at 10 schools on the African continent with initiatives ranging from insulating ceilings to improving ablution facilities. Our employees will dedicate time to do maintenance work, as well as collect stationery, educational books and magazines.

“When we celebrated the company’s 350th anniversary in 2015, we decided to focus our efforts on leaving a legacy in the world of education. Rather than plan activities for only one day on 18 July, Mandela Day, we want to spread our efforts throughout the year and across sub-Saharan Africa,” explains Jean-Claude Lasserre, General Delegate for Saint-Gobain in sub-Saharan Africa. “Solidarity is one of our core values, and it is our shared responsibility to make a difference in the lives of learners by bringing comfort to their daily life.” 

Our initiatives in South africa

In South Africa, we will support 8 schools. We will work at 5 of them in collaboration with a non-profit organisation, Adopt-a-School. Adopt-a-School supports the creation and enhancement of a conducive learning and teaching environment in disadvantaged schools.          

In South Africa, the following schools have been chosen as beneficiaries:

  • In Gauteng, at the Mvelaphanda Primary School in Tembisa, the Saint-Gobain Academy will insulate ceilings to enhance learner comfort. Groups of employees will each adopt a classroom to paint, replace chalkboards or fix windows. Because caring for our planet starts with each individual, we are partnering with Eco-Culture to launch an awareness programme about waste reduction and water saving. 
  • At the Motshegofadiwa Primary School in Hammanskraal (also Gauteng), we will provide brand new chalk boards and insulate ceilings. 
  • In Soweto, at the Tshilidzi Primary School, we will renovate ceilings in an administrative office. 
  • In the Western Cape, the Sonwabo Primary School’s ablution facilities will be upgraded. 
  • At the Hlahlindlela High School in Kwazulu-Natal, we will renovate two classrooms by painting and installing ceiling insulation. 
  • Employees in Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape), Polokwane (Limpopo) and Vanrhynsdorp (Western Cape) will get involved at 3 local schools through activities such as replacing door locks and handles. 

Our initiatives in Ghana, Botswana and Kenya 

In Ghana, Saint-Gobain has supported the Kinbu Primary School in Accra for a few years already, and this year we will continue our maintenance activities. 

At the Mokolodi School in Gaborone, Botswana, we will install new fencing to protect learners in the play area.

In Kenya, we will support the Menstrual Health Management Programme. The programme provides sanitary towels and dignity packs to school girls and is spearheaded by the County First Ladies Association, in partnership with Kenya Red Cross and African Cotton Industries. According to UNICEF, one in ten girls in Africa miss school during their menstrual periods, staying at home on average six weeks a year. 

Learners at Isiphingo Secondary School (Kwazulu-Natal)

Learners at Mvelaphanda Primary School (Gauteng)