In commemoration of Mandela Day and Madiba’s vision to help create a world that is equal and just, Engen has pledged R2.5 million to help government fight the eradication of pit latrines in schools across South Africa.
As a company that cares deeply about the communities in which it operates, Engen is collaborating with Sanitation Appropriate for Education (SAFE) to ensure that more schools have access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation.
This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa urged the private sector “to be part of a bold social initiative” to help government save lives and restore the dignity of tens of thousands of our nation’s children.
“SAFE reaches beyond the bricks and mortar of water and sanitation; it seeks to contribute to building a cohesive society in which schools are the heartbeat of wholesome communities,” said President Ramaphosa on launch of the initiative.
Engen Managing Director and CEO, Yusa’ Hassan says the health and safety of learners, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, has high-lighted the urgent need for access to clean water and dignified sanitation at South Africa’s under-resourced schools.
“Clean water and sanitation are a basic human right and not a privilege, which is why heeding governments call to help fight the blight of pit latrines at schools and supporting the SAFE school sanitation initiative is so important to Engen,” adds Hassan.
As part of government’s private-public sector partnership programme – and in collaboration with the Department of Education – Engen identified rural and township primary schools in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and North West provinces for modern sanitation upgrades.
Langalakhe High School in Nzondweni near Pietermaritzburg is the second school to receive brand new facilities, thanks to a partnership between Engen, the Department of Health and the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
Builders drawn from the community constructed the school’s new ablution facilities, which now include brand-new bathroom facilities, including seven toilets and four wash basins for the girl’s bathroom, as well as four toilets, four urinals and four wash basins for the boy’s bathroom.
Engen’s head of Transformation and Stakeholder Engagement, Unathi Magida says the company is humbled to step up and heed government’s call to help provide safe and appropriate sanitation and wanted to do its part and help spare young South African’s the indignity associated with using pit latrines, as well as eradicate the danger they present.
“The installation of these age-appropriate sanitation facilities at Langalakhe High School will not only improve learner’s health and safety but will also enable them to focus on their studies and attend school with dignity,” she adds.
The principal of Langalakhe High School expressed sincere gratitude to Engen, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Department of Education on behalf of all the school’s learners and teachers.
“We are extremely excited; these new facilities are going to make the world of difference to our school,” says Principal Colvelle.
Earlier this year, Engen partnered with SAFE at Madima Primary School, Saulspoort (Rampipi Section), Modderkuil in the North-West province.
Builders drawn from the local Modderkuil community helped transform the school’s ablution facilities, which now include brand-new bathroom facilities, including ten toilets and six basins for the girl’s bathroom, as well as four toilets, six urinals and three basins for the boy’s bathroom.