The children and staff at Talhado Children’s Haven had good reason to celebrate recently when General Motors South Africa (GMSA), through its Childlife Foundation, assisted them with R170 000 to build a new classroom for their school.
Talhado Children’s Haven is a pre-primary school and aftercare facility situated in the township of Sea Vista in the greater St Francis Bay area in the Eastern Cape. The Haven meets the educational, nutritional and emotional needs of up to 400 children ranging from five to fifteen years old.
Keith Lester, Dealer Principal, Williams Hunt Humansdorp, said that they started this project when he heard about the Haven in a local newspaper. In 2013, the Haven took in 102 children, compared to only 80 children in the previous year. This meant that they were desperate for additional classroom space.
Lester said his interest was further sparked by the slogan of the school ‘Rather Build the Child than Repair the Adult’. Lester approached the GM Childlife Foundation for assistance and, after funding was approved, the building was started and the new classroom was completed.
“It is very rewarding to come to the school, to be warmly received and to see the children’s happy faces. It is also wonderful to see the love, passion and joy that the staff and teachers show for their work and for these children,” said Lester.
According to Lesley Moore, Coordinator of Talhado Children’s Haven, there is an enormous need in the Sea Vista community for quality education. With this in mind, the school introduced the Montessori education method, which is an educational approach characterised by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical and social development.
“A decent education is the only route away from poverty for the children of this community. Through the generosity of General Motors, we can now have a dedicated Montessori education facility, thanks to the addition of this new classroom. Thank you GM Childlife Foundation and Keith Lester for your concern for our precious children whose lives will be greatly blessed by your generosity,” said Moore.
The GM Childlife Foundation is a joint corporate social investment between GMSA, the Dealer Network and GMSA Financial Services, to touch the lives of underprivileged children in the areas in which they operate. Together they fund the Foundation through contributions for every vehicle sold.
“At General Motors it is very important for us to participate in the communities in which we operate and our Dealer Network serves as an extension of our involvement with the community,” said Ian Nicholls, Vice President, Operations, GM South Africa.
Colin Cowie, Chairman of the GM Childlife Foundation, said that one of the goals of the GM Childlife Foundation is to get to a point where the Dealers are recognised as businesses that care about the upliftment of children in the communities in which they operate. To date there has been 39 projects done through the foundation.
“We really want to make a difference in the lives of these children and having passionate, willing workers in the community strengthens the collaboration between Dealers and the community. Looking back to where we started four years ago, we have made significant progress and have touched the lives of almost 10 000 underprivileged children in South Africa,” said Cowie.