Examples of the warm heart and valuable contribution various companies in the trucking industry make to society are plentiful – and FleetWatch will never tire of highlighting this.
In this case, it relates to employees of Tata International in Africa who, in partnership with Valued Citizens Initiative (VCI), donated mathematic guides, dictionaries, encyclopedias and motivational books to Grade 12 learners from Alexander High School in Alexandra, Gauteng earlier this month.
The donation of books forms part of a two-year Bridging for Life programme supported by TATA and managed through VCI. The aim of the programme is to impart essential life skills to the learners which range from emotional intelligence, effective communication, self-leadership and management, career development and citizenship education to ensure academic resilience.
The day included a workshop by South African artist, Daniel Selibe, who introduced the learners to visual art and discussed with them the meaning of art and expression, the symbolism of colours, signs and symbols, including focal points and perspectives. Learners were encouraged to share and interpret, visually with their classmates and visitors, what the theme ‘opening your mind’ means to them.
CEO of TATA Africa Holdings, Len Brand, attended the handover and shared with the learners some of his life lessons and encouraged them to become avid readers. “You determine your own future in life and we must not allow our brains to limit our ability to reach our full potential,” was his message.
Commenting on the initiative, Brand said: “It is important as an organisation to touch base with communities. Our philosophy to promote social and economic development of local communities through education, entrepreneurship and health initiatives is a key component of the TATA business values and belief system.”
Alexandra High School is one of the largest schools in Alexandra and is led by principal, Mrs Zoleka Lebelo who seeks to serve the Alexandra community by providing a consistently high standard of education. Under her leadership, the school has achieved a matric pass rate of 89% – up from 83% in 2014.
“We are grateful to TATA for the valuable donation. The Bridging for Life programme has made a significant difference in the lives of our learners. It has helped them to achieve better results and has increased their self-esteem. We hope for a sustained partnership with TATA going forward because an investment in education and a learner is an investment in the country,” she said.
The Bridging for Life Programme is managed by Valued Citizens Initiative, an NGO founded by Carole Podetti Ngono in 2001 with the aim of developing citizenship education in public schools.
It is accredited by the Gauteng department of higher education and has been supported by TATA at Alex High School since its inception in 2017. The programme has proven its effectiveness over the years in assisting learners through the transition from high school to institutions of higher education and training.
FleetWatch lifts its hat to TATA on this great initiative. I think of two quotes from that great man Nelson Mandela. The first is: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” And the second is: “The power of education extends beyond the development of skills we need for economic success. It can contribute to nation-building and reconciliation.” Well done TATA. Madiba would have applauded you.