Social commitment is another facet of doing business today. Since ADvTECH’s business is all about people development, education and imparting knowledge, CSI is an integral part of the company’s operations and outreach. Our approach is directed towards educational interventions with local disadvantaged communities. Education is important in promoting equality and is an enabling factor in transforming our society. ADvTECH spent R74 million in 2013 (2012: R64 million) on CSI activities.

A major portion of our CSI budget is allocated to bursaries and scholarships on a merit basis to previously disadvantaged students. In 2013, the Group invested more than R72 million (2012: R59 million) on bursaries which positively impacted the lives of 5 900 beneficiaries. We plan to grow the number of beneficiaries every year in order to increase the access to the quality education we offer.

The Resourcing division has its CSR Bursary Programme for staff and their families. Our teacher bursary scheme, aimed at addressing the need for high quality teachers in South Africa, 54 student teachers had in enrolled 2013 (2012: 46) enrolled. The first cohort of these students completed their BEd degree at the end of 2013. In addition to completing their tertiary studies, bursary recipients were given the opportunity to apply their acquired skills practically within the Group’s schools.

Vega created CSI Partnerships with Ogilvy, The Ntshulisa Foundation (TNF) and Trudon-Yellow Pages in 2013, to provide bursary support for creative students from disadvantaged backgrounds. 22 Applicants were selected for two new Vega bridging course programmes which offer credits towards a Vega degree. Vega has made a significant financial and mentoring contribution to each student.

The Design School Southern Africa (DSSA) awards bursaries annually to deserving applicants who demonstrate strong academic and artistic potential. In 2013, 65 bursaries were awarded to full-time students. Through the Design-an-Ad competition, DSSA has a decade long partnership with the Pretoria News and the Star newspapers. This competition is open to all schools in the Gauteng region and bursaries awarded for the 2014 academic year total R200 000. 

The bursary programme initiated by Varsity College, SAICA and Deloitte for the UNISA Bachelor of Accounting Sciences degree is now in its 3rdyear, with 27 full-time students registered at the Durban North campus. 

A number of brands require bursary holders, as part of the agreement in accepting a bursary, to participate in volunteering either on campus or in community projects.

Citizenship activities by all the Divisions and brands are many and varied but there was an acknowledged need to streamline their efforts. A Group CSI policy is now in place to empower the brands to focus on education, health and environment initiatives as a collective. The corporate affairs & communication department also developed and implemented a Sharepoint repository system which enables the brands to monitor trends and use this data to make informed decisions for future CSI expenditure.

 

“Adopt-a-School” programme

This programme is taking ADvTECH’s CSI activity to the next level of sustainable development. The programme is focused on fostering long-term relationships with schools in disadvantaged communities and including them as beneficiaries of the various citizenship projects initiated by our staff and students. Our Schools division is involved in the capacity building of teachers in areas such as lesson planning and management skills.

Supporting Pholosho Junior Secondary School, located in Alexandra Township, is ADvTECH’s chosen flagship project. This school has 29 teachers with degree or diploma qualifications and more than 900 students. The teachers requested help on a variety of matters such as subject content, computer skills and dealing with behavioural and societal issues. Crawford teachers played a significant role in assisting the school through teacher training and development. In addition, items such as learning materials and stationery have been donated.

“Thank you to everybody involved who has taken the time to come to Pholosho to equip and improve not only our school but us as individuals. These sessions really mean a great deal and will be with us forever.” A Pholosho teacher.

Crawford Pretoria this year began a similar initiative with Tshwane Secondary School. A number of interventions led to many Matric pupils significantly increasing their marks.  

Star Child Care Centre

The Star Child Care Centre (SCC) operates in Alexandra Township, an area faced with challenges such as poverty, crime, child abuse and unemployment. It cares for some 60 disadvantaged children through early childhood development and awareness campaigns.

A Head Office team first visited the Centre on Mandela Day 2013 to donate food parcels, clothing and stationery. The team then committed to continue building the relationship with the Centre and help it do more for the children and community at large. The Centre cited immediate needs as being learning resources, educational toys, outdoor equipment, staff training and equipping a newly built kitchen.

Our partnership with Star Child Care Centre demonstrates that we are committed to making a meaningful difference to our society. Our educational interventions with disadvantaged communities will help promote equality and be an enabling factor in transforming our society.

Through ADvTECH’s Corporate Affairs & Communications department, a list of planned interventions has been drawn up which includes:

  • Educational development and learner support in teacher development, literacy, mathematics and the like;

  • Leadership training, fundraising and strategic planning at S.C.C to support school management teams and the governing body;

  • Sports for the children and encouraging children to participate in active sports; and

  • Motivational talks to parents on pertinent topics such as child nutrition.

 

HIV/Aids

ADvTECH is compliant with workplace legislation relating to HIV/AIDS and is committed to protecting staff, students and candidates against unfair discrimination on the basis of their HIV status. Voluntary counselling and testing is in place and the HIV/AIDS risk has been assessed to be relatively low.

The Group used its learning environment to educate students and promote responsibility with regard to this disease. Events and speakers are arranged regularly and condoms, pamphlets and brochures are made available at our higher education institutions.

Our Divisions also have proactive HIV/AIDS awareness days. Resourcing raised funds for Nurturing Orphans for Aids Humanity (NOAH) through the sale of red ribbons. Head Office raised some R10 000 for Nkosi’s Haven.

  

 

Effective awareness programmes for young people

 

Our higher education institutions are playing a significant role in creating awareness among young people. They recognise that HIV and AIDS are serious health problems which have socio-economic, employment and human rights implications. The Student Relationship Managers play an important role in facilitating many effective awareness campaigns and it appears that the message of “Know Your Status” and destigmatisation of testing is certainly having an effect at each site.

It is standard practice at Rosebank College to create opportunities for education and information dissemination on HIV/AIDS and related issues to its students and staff. One such initiative is on-site Voluntary Counselling & Testing (VCT). This service is provided to the campuses nationally and is arranged through partners such as Ithemba Lanbantu Clinic, Tumelong Mission and New Start. The convenience and value of on campus VCT cannot be disputed as through the years students attend in numbers to learn their status.

Varsity College arranged two voluntary counselling and testing sessions over the year at all but one of its sites. Staff and students alike were encouraged to get tested and to know their status.

Because continuous education is needed to encourage and support voluntary testing and education to minimise the stigma around those living with HIV/AIDS, Vega organised a number of HIV testing and education activities during the year.

 

Citizenship: Outreach programmes

 

ADvTECH promotes participation in outreach projects that provide volunteer staff and students with a greater sense of community belonging. We put emphasis on using our time to make an impact. By collaborating with our students in CSI projects, we are creating future thinkers and pioneers in sustainability resulting in better equipped citizens.

While some 200 initiatives and projects were undertaken in 2013: highlights are below.

An outreach initiative with a difference

The Staff Intervention Day on Tolerance was the concept of Vega Durban. To create understanding and tolerance of others different to ourselves, all second-year students had to imagine what they didn’t want to be and then dress up and display this attitude for two weeks.

The students kept a journal of their experiences. The staff was also encouraged to interact with the students and live their experience for a period of one week. The participants agreed that this was a great learning curve on understanding and tolerance.

Mandela day and Heritage day saw Group-wide participation

On Mandela day, activities included a team from Head Office visiting the Star Child Care Centre in Alexandra. Abbotts Northcliff collected donations to provide sister school Kingsway Centre of Concern with stationery. The Rosebank College National Office focused on the environment, handing out fruit and vegetable seed packs to encourage the growing of sustainable vegetable gardens.

Vega staff visited an orphanage to spend time with the children. Students and staff also prepared a wholesome meal for the Usindiso Shelter for Women and Children and they were encouraged to donate towards the shelter. Vega had earlier supported the Shelter with a clothing and blanket drive.

  • DSSA Pretoria celebrated Mandela Day by collecting food and other items for the Tshwane District SPCA and designing educational posters;

 

  • Varsity College contributions included:  

    • Varsity College Pretoria staff and students planting a vegetable garden for Amadea, a place of safety for children;

    • Westville students treating 20 “grannies” to a high tea event on campus;

    • Durban North staff and students raised funds to purchase seedlings in order to transform the gardens of the TAFTA Amaoti Old Age Village and also held a fundraiser tea for LIV Village, a home for vulnerable, parentless children, for their educational facility and stationery needs. Westville also had a fundraising event for LIV;

    • other sites such as Sandton, Cape Town and Midrand made sandwiches to hand out to the needy; and

    • The Pietermaritzburg campus assisted with handing out soup to over 200 people waiting for medical assistance at Greys Hospital.

Crawford North Coast Prep has also been involved in the LIV Village and organised donations of books for their school library.

There were many Mandela day activities in the Schools division. Crawford College Pretoria Matrics, for example, set up a small coffee and vetkoek station to treat passers-by.

Heritage Day is celebrated by running diversity awareness campaigns.

Varsity College Sandton decided to highlight American culture, while Varsity College Westville encouraged staff to come to work in traditional dress.

 

 

Among the Resourcing division’s CSI initiatives were the sale of Casual Day stickers in support of People with Disabilities and the Winter Warmer project. The warm clothes and blankets collected were donated to the Paul Jungnickel Home for children and adults with disabilities.

 

 

In the Schools division, Junior Colleges Castillian held a food drive. A load of non-perishable foods was distributed to under privileged homes. Junior Colleges believes that children are never too young to be introduced to the world of caring.

Trinityhouse High School Little Falls joined forces with Rhino SA to raise money in support of the campaign against rhino poaching. Crawford College North Coast raised R23 160 towards the Rock ‘n Ride 4 Rhino Philanthropy Challenge. The School also had a stationery drive for Thembeni Primary School which has over 1 000 students from Grades 1 to 7. The hundreds of donated pencils, pens, coloured markers, erasers and the like were greatly appreciated by the pupils.

Crawford sites traditionally raise money for CANSA through a 'Shavathon' event with Crawford Pretoria raising an amazing R40 298 and then a further R10 000 through auctioning by staff.

Trinity Pre-primary pupils donated second-hand clothes and shoes to the children of Mashaeng School.

Trinityhouse High School students were asked to make as many squares of fabric as they could to be sewn together into blankets. This resulted in 20 blankets and 15 baby sleeping bags being made, which were given to The Cradle of Hope to help keep their young charges warm during the winter months.

The Design School Southern Africa (DSSA), apart from its bursary scheme hosted free portfolio workshops aimed predominantly at learners who have never had the opportunity to receive formal art tuition.

DSSA Durban and Varsity College Durban North teamed up to visit two homes for the elderly, TAFTA Amoati and Wentworth, and handed over donations. The DSSA Pretoria campus students had a blanket drive for the Sunnyside Orphanage.

 

Rosebank College staff and students participated in various outreach activities during the year including:

  • Earth Hour 2013: trees were purchased and staff encouraged to sign the Earth Hour Pledge and switch off electricity for the hour. The Durban Campus "Flash Mobbed" at a local mall to create awareness among the public on Earth Hour and Going Green.

  • International Coastal Clean-up Day: the Durban campus supported the International Coastal Clean-up initiative by cleaning up the Durban Harbour and beach with over 50 bags of trash collected by the volunteers.

  • Anti-Rhino Poaching Campaign: the Sunnyside campus raised funds through the sale of anti-Rhino Poaching T-Shirts. A donation was made to the Pretoria Zoo for the keep of ‘Ronnie the Rhino’. The anti-Rhino Poaching project is driven by the students who participate in the Enactus challenge.

  • The Special Olympics Sports day: the Braamfontein campus arranged for Alumni volunteers to assist with this fund raising event.

Staff from both Rosebank College Central and Sunnyside visited the Child Welfare Tshwane Home to offer reading services to the children. They used various activities as a learning tool to help the children improve their vocabulary.

Varsity College again supported the Tutudesk Campaign as its national outreach initiative. The Tutudesk is a light-weight, portable flat surface with a handle for carrying that can be balanced on a student’s lap. This year, Varsity College raised over R300 000 to purchase some 2 300 Tutudesks which were delivered to school children across the country.

The Varsity College Cares programme encourages all students to be actively involved and to make a difference.  Every Varsity College site reported on a range of CSI activities during 2013, a snapshot of some of them follows:

  • Durban North donated stationery to Just 4 Us Children for distribution, visited the Albert Luthuli Hospital CHOC ward and handed out chocolate hampers to all the children in the cancer ward, had an Easter Egg hunt for the kids of TAFTA and spoilt the care givers at Fair Haven Babies Home on Mother’s Day.

  • Varsity College Port Elizabeth campus staff supported the Reach for Your Slipper Day initiative in aid of the Reach for a Dream Foundation.

  • Many sites supported environmental projects. Varsity College Pietermaritzburg, for instance, arranged an outing for children from the SOS Children’s Village to educate them about the value of rivers in their lives. A beach walk organised by Varsity College Durban North raised funds for KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife and the Beachwood Mangroves.

Vega came up with a number of creative CSI initiatives. To create awareness for the Campaign against Child Abuse, students submitted powerful images and photographs, which were displayed at Constitution Hill during November 2013.

Brand Challenges are seen as an opportunity to involve staff and students in social welfare campaigns. This year Vega supported Bobbi Bear (this gives abused children a voice) and the Cipla Foundation which helps build a better environment for disadvantaged communities.

In a collaborative project with The Sharks and St Mary’s hospital, a donation by The Sharks to the paediatric ward of St Mary’s Hospital, with the funds being used by students to improve the ward.

Vega Durban partnered with the Cipla Foundation to help the development of fire resistant housing structures in informal settlements.

A clothing and toys drive was held in aid of Kids Haven, a home for abused and abandoned street children. Other charities supported were the SPCA and at Christmas, staff contributed towards a Christmas ‘Goodie Bag’ for several homes for the underprivileged and the elderly, in collaboration with Sabrina Pro-Appointments.

Vega Durban collaborates every year with East Coast Radio with the Toy Story Box, by placing a large box in the campus staff room to collect donations for needy children.

Breast Cancer Month was observed by staff and students who wore pink ribbons and made a donation to the likes of the Breast Awareness Campaign or Reach for Recovery.

Each campus also has blood donation drives to support the Blood Bank.