On Mandela Day, Bridgestone continued its long-standing commitment to contribute to the communities close to where it operates, by planting trees and creating food gardens at various schools in the area.
Image supplied by Bridgestone South Africa
In previous years, the organisation has worked with schools in the Brits area where its manufacturing facility is located. This year they are extending this partnership to a school in the Midrand region where their head office is located.
Chantel Baxter, Operations Manager: Consumer Division at Bridgestone Southern Africa, says the company is excited to be working with the vibrant Tembisa community and alongside a greater range of NGOs to foster sustainable growth and kickstart lasting change.
To mark Madiba’s injunction to support the next generation, Bridgestone planted 20 fruit trees and 10 indigenous shade trees, as well as created a food garden at Peter Zongwane Primary School in Tembisa.
“Bridgestone aims to provide its clients with end-to-end mobility solutions, and we apply the same thinking to our initiatives to make a positive contribution to the communities with which we co-exist. The orchards and food gardens we are creating in partnership with Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) aims to provide a sustainable solution to the challenge of inadequate nutrition faced in many of our schools, which can in turn affect learning outcomes,”
“Orchards and food gardens provide nutritious food for the pupils and the surrounding community, and the training provided by FTFA also transfers valuable skills to help community members achieve food security by making their own food gardens at home.”
An added bonus is that the shade trees complement the orchards, further contributing to the overall upliftment of the community, and providing a pleasant environment for pupils.
Baxter says that last year’s projects at St Catherine Primary School and Segwetlhane Primary School in Brits delivered positive results. Following a successful tree-planting exercise, FTFA held a training workshop to assess the site and introduced volunteers to the concept of permaculture. Furthermore, subsequent workshop covered planting techniques, garden maintenance, pest control, soil health and water conservation. Theoretical training was complemented by practical demonstrations. In an effort to develop lasting change, Bridgestone encourages that similar initiatives be developed with accompanying workshops.
“We believe it’s very important to provide a complete solution that genuinely empowers the community centred on the school, so it’s vital we monitor each project to see what has worked and where improvements can be made,”
“These Mandela Day initiatives of ours are designed to initiate ongoing change that will affect successive generations of pupils and their families, an approach that is very much in line with Bridgestone’s E8 empowerment commitment, which aims to integrate sustainability into the way we do business."
“We are not interested in good deeds per say, but rather good deeds that change society for the better and create a brighter future.”