Unite for our future

Developing sustainable communities

Pragma staff doing work at the Phomolong High School in Tembisa

The journey toward social, economic and environmental communal liberation is a global responsibility and one in which everyone can play a role. It can only be truly successful if both the public and private sectors get involved and do their bit.

A prime example of such a project is the "unite for our future" initiative recently launched in Ekurhuleni by Pragma in partnership with the East Rand Water Care Company (ERWAT) and other social partners.

The mission of this project is to focus on contributing in the development of sustainable communities in order to make a real difference, says Billy Wilson, divisional academy manager at the company.

Wilson says Pragma, together with its social partners, have decided to deepen its commitment to the community and environment.

“We believe that economic prosperity relies on an inclusive, vital, educated and healthy communal population. We want to be involved in an initiative which is part of the strategic environment, creating more sustainable development which contributes to real social development and economic growth,” Wilson said.

The first beneficiary of the project is the Phomolong High School in Tembisa. Wilson says they have researched several potential beneficiaries within the Ekurhuleni region and have selected the high school after they met with Principal Thoka and were humbled by the fact that the school (with 1 972 learners) has 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,” says Wilson.

Many of the learners attend classes in disused shipping containers, which have been converted in to small classrooms.The school does not deny a single student access to education, not even kids who cannot read or write.

Instead they have gone above and beyond the call of duty and enlisted the help of a retired teacher who offers his services to teach those who can’t read or write, basic literacy for free.

According to Wilson, challenges faced by the school include inadequate sustainable water supply, inadequate sanitary and lavatory facilities, no energy saving initiatives, no fire fighting equipment, inadequate kitchen facilities, inadequate assembly facilities, inadequate sports fields, inadequate irrigation for grounds, inadequate classrooms as well as inadequate heating.

“We’ve decided to assist with these challenges and do as much as we can with the help of our partners and suppliers. We’ll be engaging in some very necessary maintenance on the day but one of our first key projects will be to install a grey water filtration system as well as a bore hole with the essential assistance and expertise of ERWAT.

“This is a shout-out to all corporates to pool resources, experience, time and wallets and join Pragma’s efforts to ensure a stronger impact and lend a helping hand to this school that is playing a huge part in ensuring the future of our country is a generation, equipped and prepared,” says Wilson.

The school has even constructed a veggie garden that grows spinach, cabbage, onions and herbs. The garden supplies much needed vegetables to the learners during lunch times.

It’s also a source of nutrition for the kids over weekends as for many of them this is the only food they will get!

An environmental committee, driven by the students who have taken it upon themselves to teach the rest of the students as well as the community about growing their own food, has been set up.

“Phomolong Secondary School has taken the responsibility on their own shoulders with an extremely low budget, to better the school’s facilities, and to continue their fight against poverty through education by building a breakaway building where the grade 12 students are able to write exams without any disturbance from the rest of the school,” according to Wilson.





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This edition

Issue 68