14 October, 2020
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
"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
"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.