Lafarge Education Trust supports communities

by Darren
Lafarge 1

Lafarge South Africa has a burning passion to make a difference to the quality of education received by pupils in South Africa. They turned this passion into action in December 2006 when Lafarge South Africa Holdings (Pty) Ltd, the local subsidiary of the world-leader in building materials, announced the conclusion of a groundbreaking R1,1-billion broad-based socio-economic empowerment transaction, which ultimately led to the formation of the Lafarge Education and Community Trusts.

Making transformation a reality
Through corporate social investment, the Lafarge Trust plays a pivotal role in bringing about meaningful transformation to the benefit of all. The Lafarge Education Trust aims to improve the quality of education nationally and for individuals in communities where Lafarge operates. The focus is on addressing skills shortages by improving results in mathematics, science, technology and English.

The trust provides a spectrum of education interventions ranging from infrastructural development, social and academic skills development, student sponsorships and exposure to post-study opportunities. In addition, it also empowers administrators, teachers and parents, enabling them to take ownership of their schools and create a better future for pupils and the community.

The Community Trust promotes community empowerment through supporting upliftment initiatives. In 2012, the trust introduced the Lafarge Community Trust Awards for Excellence in both the Bodibe and Mzimela communities, situated in North West and KwaZulu-Natal provinces respectively. Upliftment initiatives include, amongst others, support for people with visual impairment, early childhood support, infrastructural development and leadership training.

The Lafarge Education Trust programmes focus on education by introducing whole-school development and bursaries for tertiary studies as well as community development in its entirety by entrepreneurship and up-skilling of community members.

Whole-school development  
The Bodibe community has a long-standing association with the Lafarge Lichtenburg Cement Plant, which prompted the Lafarge Education Trust to implement the Bodibe Schools Project in partnership with the Adopt-a-School Foundation.

This project was a culmination of consultations with the government, business, local non-profit organisations and other community structures. It embraces infrastructural development, educator and learner developments to complement infrastructure, plus contributions and achievements for community members.

The trust has funded and supported well over 100 students in their tertiary studies – with a large number of these pupils coming from the Bodibe community. Apart from providing bursaries, Lafarge also affords some of the students from the community experiential learning and income during their vacation periods.

Supporting entrepreneurship in the community
The Lafarge Education Trust is seeing excellent results for its efforts in assisting entrepreneurs in the Lichtenburg region. One success story is that of Petrus Tshabadira, whose company is active in the building of school classrooms, libraries, science labs, computer centres and toilets for schools. Tshabadira set up his business in June 2009.

By using income generated from his involvement with the trust, he was able to obtain capital finance and building materials. He now employs four builders and eight general labourers – that’s 12 new jobs in less than two years. It is this type of success that the Lafarge Trust hopes to continue with as sustainable job creation is vital to economic growth and community upliftment.

Artisan training
As part of entrepreneurship, many unskilled or semi-skilled workers have learned various skills that have assisted them in finding jobs within the construction industry.

The Lafarge Education and Community Trusts hope to continue their good work in various communities where the people and their success are vital to the trusts in their role of transforming communities, therefore providing sustainable solutions for Lafarge and South Africa as a whole.

Lafarge Industries
Tel: 011 257 3100    
Fax: 011 257 3021
E-mail: enquiries@lafarge.com
Website: www.lafarge.co.za

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