CENTURION – 16 August, 2022 – Global cybersecurity specialist Exclusive Networks Africa believes the empowerment of women is a critical objective today, in both business and communities. Accordingly, the company was proud to play its part recently in support of women and children in the Thembisa area in Midrand, Gauteng, in partnership with The Love Trust and Literacy for Life.
At the same time, the company ensures that the empowerment of women within its business operations remains an ongoing priority, with the company countrywide operating according to an approximately even gender split in all its branches, and being able to record a figure of almost 20 percent black women-ownership (19.08 percent).
With regards to community support, Exclusive Networks Africa handed over child development tools and supplies to five Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres of The Love Trust. The teachers of each ECD centre gathered at Nokuphila School in Thembisa, where The Love Trust runs both the school itself, as well as an ECD training centre to upskill pre-primary schoolteachers on the same grounds.
Silas Pillay, Director of Academics at The Love Trust, explains: “The Love Trust, which was founded in 2009 by CEO Martin Morrison, is deeply concerned that more than 60 percent of South African children are poor, and that women and children are extremely affected by unemployment, low levels of education, and poverty.
“This ECD teacher training facility in Thembisa is one of six around the country that is run by The Love Trust. Local women in the six areas come through once a week for training that gives them accreditation as early childhood development teachers, qualified to teach pre-primary children in their care.
“They then take this training back to the children they are looking after. Learning at this level – even before primary school – is critically important for a child’s development into adulthood. The donated items will be used to help pre-primary school children with their literacy and numeracy skills.”
Tools for reading and writing
The supplies handed over included items from Dala Art and the WriteRight® range, which offers high quality educational products that focus on developing handwriting skills, and improving literacy and numeracy by enabling children to practise writing. The items were supplied by non-profit organisation Literacy for Life.
The products were donated with proceeds from the recent Golf Day hosted by Exclusive Networks Africa, which is a value-creating cybersecurity specialist based in Centurion, and which supports The Love Trust and Literacy for Life.
The five women who received the supplies all operate their ECD centres in Thembisa, and together look after around 185 pre-primary children, ranging in age from around six months to six years old. The Love Trust supports them with teacher training – which is available to them weekly at Nokuphila School – as well as with access to necessary supplies and equipment.
Pillars of the community
Speaking on behalf of the five teachers who received the items, Lavani Baloyi, who has 31 youngsters in her ECD centre, said: “We really appreciate this donation as we have been lacking resources. These items will be so helpful for the children’s learning – and also fun!”
The oldest teacher, Eva Kekana, is 75 years old, and still working hard to play her role in helping her community. She explained: “I achieved my NQF Level 4 training with The Love Trust in 2013 and am now busy with my NQF Level 5. I started out looking after six children, and they kept coming! I now have 40 children in my care, and I study at night.”
All the teachers were extremely grateful – and they all had heart-warming stories to share about their day-to-day activities.
Josephine Ngoasheng, who has 58 children in her care, ranging from six months old to five and six years old, clarified: “I have help from three teachers and I have been working on my NQF training with The Love Trust since 2015, although I have been looking after children informally for longer than that.”
Duduzile Hlalaleni added: “I look after 30 children and have been doing this for four years. I would like to get help from another teacher who will be able to assist me,” while Alile Mphahlele explained: “I began looking after one child in January this year, and in the second week I had five children in my care. I now have 25 children who I look after every day.”
The five teachers all agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic had affected the operations of their ECD centres harshly during 2020 and 2021: “Children and parents were stranded, and we had to close our creches for almost four months. The parents are struggling financially anyway, and COVID made it worse,” they said, adding that they were glad to be back at work again and seeing the numbers of the children in their care growing once more.
The teachers were unanimous that the assistance and training they received from The Love Trust was invaluable in helping them and the children in their care.
“These real-life stories show why Exclusive Networks Africa has chosen to partner with The Love Trust,” says Exclusive Networks Africa Managing Director Anton Jacobsz. “We are proud to be playing our part, through our partnership with The Love Trust and our support of its endeavours, in uplifting some of South Africa’s most vulnerable members of society, both children and adults. At the same time, we ensure that we have applied these principles within our own daily operations, and we implement our thinking within the business by ‘practising what we preach’.”
Equity partnerships for business organisations
The Love Trust is also in a position to assist organisations with their B-BBEE ratings. In this regard, the organisation has been the equity partner of Exclusive Networks Africa, which is the local arm of the global Paris-based Exclusive Networks Group, since 2018.
Jacobsz explains: “Our company has long been a supporter of education as part of the economic transformation of the country, to which we are deeply committed. One of our key concerns is giving back to communities. The critical role of education in moving our country forward led, in part, to our partnership with The Love Trust, our B-BBEE partner for the past four years.
“We have the assurance and peace of mind that our partnership with The Love Trust is bringing quality education to children at pre-primary and primary level at Nokuphila school, as well as providing vocational tertiary education and training, and support with necessary supplies, of early childhood education practitioners and primary school teachers,” he concludes.