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Pragma staff exchange a fancy wine and dine for community service

As part of Pragma’s dedication to embrace Corporate Social Investment, a companywide initiative, Pragma Cares, was launched at the beginning of 2012. During the year, we were involved with several projects where various communities benefited from the initiative.

To involve all staff members, CEO, Adriaan Scheeres proposed that employees consider exchanging their annual year end functions for community projects where they could make a difference. Says Scheeres, “Giving monetary support is always great, but getting personally involved in a community and actually doing the physical work is where the most benefit lies, for both yourself as the giver of your time and expertise, as well as for the receiver who experiences the care and dedication from the person giving.”

The Jo’burg region participated in a project called Unite for our Future in the Ekurhuleni region, where they committed to the refurbishment at the Phomolong High School in Tembisa. Their major tasks for the day included the fitting of ceilings, fixing windows, toilets, and electrical switches and sorting out the library area. The school’s vegetable garden was also cleaned and complimented with more plants. The Johannesburg project committee focused on finding a project which would deliver sustainable results. Says Billy Wilson from Pragma: “We met with Principal Thoka in July this year. We were humbled by the fact that with 1 972 learners they were able to produce a 83% pass rate and are ranked amongst the Top 10 best performing schools in their district. Thoka and his staff have dedicated themselves to doing their bit and then some for future generations, in spite of numerous challenges such as a lack of functional and/or appropriate facilities, a lack of funds, a lack of resources and so on. They’ve accomplished so much which any school would be proud of.” This was a perfect match.

Chris Nissen Park in Somerset West was the centre of attention on the 30th of November when the wind blew the Cape Town Pragma teams with their tools, spades, forks, rakes and good spirits into the community grounds. The mission was to establish 17 vegetable gardens (each with its own wormery)as part of an initiative that was started 18 months prior by Gerrie van Niekerk and Paul Wantza, one of the local residents. The members of this very poor community were encouraged to start gardening on the basis of getting help from someone and then paying it forward by helping a next person to establish a garden. Community members’ gratefulness was evident in their tear filled eyes at the end of the day. To ensure that these gardens will be maintained sustainably, gardening equipment was donated to each of the new garden owners.

In Port Elizabeth, our staff visited the Adolph Schauder Primary school and spent the day fixing and repainting all the black boards in the class rooms. During their initial visit to the school, the project team discovered the terrible condition of the stationery or lack of stationery and decided to compile stationery packs for all the learners. After completing the work in the classrooms, the stationery packs were handed over.

The Durban staff committed to the “Adopt a Room” project at the Durban Children’s Home where they adopted one of the dining halls. The team spent their day painting walls, fitting curtain rails and new curtains, repairing broken door handles, mounting new ‘kids murals’ and fixing everything that needed repairs. They also donated new carpets, which will be fitted early next year. “It was a very humbling moment for all of us when the kids came back from school and we gave them wors rolls, cool drink and sweets before showing them there new dining hall. They really appreciated everything that we had done for them and never stopped thanking us”, says Steve Leech, Pragma regional manager in Durban.
Pragma’s challenge to other corporates is to pool resources, experience, time and wallets and join our efforts to ensure a stronger impact and lend a helping hand to make a lasting difference in their local communities. Together we can all make our communities, our country and our world a better place to live in.

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