On 14 October this year, over +/-2000 disadvantaged and underprivileged children across southern Africa will be entertained by Afrox volunteer staff and treated to fun, games, outings and goodie bags as part of the gases and welding company’s annual Bambanani Day nation-wide celebrations.
Bumbanani Day, meaning ‘let’s build together’ in Zulu, marks the culmination of fundraising activities and physical support provided by Afrox employees to various orphanages and childcare organisations throughout the year.
Nemenita Mohabir, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at Afrox, explains that the Bumbanani Day initiative is part of Afrox’s Corporate Volunteering Programme (CVP). At the beginning of each year, employees at all Afrox branches are empowered by the company to consult with community leaders in selecting projects and, once chosen, work directly with the organisation on an ongoing basis. This year, Afrox staff members have identified 44 projects, 39 in South Africa and five in emerging Africa that will have a huge impact on more than 2000 underprivileged children.
Throughout the year, individual volunteer committees oversee fundraising events such as cake and hotdog sales, collection drives and visits to the selected homes and shelters to provide nurturing and support.
“In addition to the funds raised by employees throughout the year, Afrox donates a set amount for each project which can then be used either towards a celebratory day in the form of Bumbanani Day or for the organisation’s needs,” explains Mohabir. “However, it is the time and effort liberally given by Afrox employees in raising money, painting facilities and involvement in sustainable projects that cater to the needs of their chosen institutions that makes the project successful,” she adds.
Initially launched in 1994, Bumbanani Day has been acknowledged by the United Nations in 1995 as an excellent example of a social development initiative. Mohabir says that it allows Afrox employees to positively influence their external environment, stakeholders and surrounding communities by not just donating money, but also their personal time.
To date, Afrox employees have spent over 15 000 hours interacting with disadvantaged children throughout the country. In addition to the monetary donations, Afrox also supplies free LPG gas for the preparation and heating of food to a number of feeding schemes.
Corporate social investment has always been part of Afrox’s business ethos and Bumbanani Day is one of a number of Afrox’s corporate social investment (CSI) projects. In 2016, Afrox spent R3.4-million on CSI activities and maintains a target of donating at least 1% of their previous year’s net profit after tax to social investment initiatives.
Besides Bumbanani Day, Afrox’s CSI initiatives extend to three other main areas:
- Donations, support and sponsorship towards the growth of welding schools and skills development
- Enterprise supplier development to help and develop stakeholders that the company does business with, particularly those from previously disadvantaged backgrounds
- Tertiary education sponsorship by directly sponsoring children of Afrox employees to obtain a tertiary education in a wide range of fields.