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October : Socially Distanced – But Still Touching Lives

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14 October, 2020

Socially Distanced - But Still Touching Lives

Socially Distanced – But Still Touching Lives

Vulinqondo students at their graduation ceremony before the COVID-19
lockdown and closure of the school.

The closure of schools during the COVID-19 lockdown meant that more than 100 children at Vulingqondo Créche could no longer receive their daily school meal, sponsored by Lonza Wood Protection South Africa. While the pandemic and the lockdown have brought about very real challenges, none could be as real for these children living in the rural area of Bethania near Port Shepstone in KwaZulu-Natal. Their families, who were battling to put food on the table before the global pandemic, now found themselves in an impossible position.

"No child should go hungry in this crisis for want of school meals.  It is difficult to accept, and yet it is happening. It damages their growth, causes anxiety and stress and creates an unshakeable sense of hopelessness," says Ross Skorpen, Finance Manager at Lonza Wood Protection South Africa.

While adhering to strict health and safety protocols, Lonza stepped in and delivered food parcels to Vulingqondo Créche to distribute to the families that relied on the school meals to feed their children.

"We wanted to ensure that these families were fed and to let them know that they were not forgotten and still close to our hearts.  So many families have been negatively impacted through the economic changes because of coronavirus. It is up to organisations as donors and volunteers, to reach out and fill the gap. ‘Hats off' to all those who have shown their support to vulnerable families in their community," said Skorpen.

Under the wing of Lonza, Vulingqondo Créche has, over the past 14 years, developed from a basic rural establishment into a flourishing school. Along with the children's daily meal, Lonza has donated computers, stationery, a vegetable garden, sponsored Christmas parties and graduation ceremonies as well as making  a substantial contribution towards the extension of the building to build classrooms and toilets to accommodate more learners.

"Once again, we have been privileged to be able to make a difference in the lives of these children and their community, which is all thanks to the support of our customers. Lonza believes that caring for its community is an important part of being an industry leader and as such we look forward to many more years of creating sustainable value through not only an education facility, but by also being present in unprecedented times," concludes JJ du Plessis, Senior Business Manager of Lonza South Africa.

Source: Lonza