Few would argue that 2020 has been a bleak year for most South Africans, and that we could all do with some cheer. That’s why Steyn City is prouder than ever to have hosted Delivering Happiness to Diepsloot, an initiative aiming to brighten the festive season for the many children of the development’s neighbouring community.
Steyn City Properties CEO Giuseppe Plumari notes that this is the ninth consecutive year that the Steyn City Foundation has loaded its trucks with school bags packed with goodies to be distributed amongst Diepsloot’s primary school learners. “Although we undertake a number of charitable initiatives – including, most recently, food drops during lockdown – this is our flagship project and one that is very special to all of us. So many of our workers come from Diepsloot, so it is a pleasure to be able to treat their children to some happiness at Christmas time.”
Plumari adds that the festivities are always given a little extra sparkle thanks to the support of celebrities. For example, this year’s event was attended by soccer legends Brian Baloyi, Shaun and Tyrique Bartlett, and Matthew Booth, young golf star, Sim Tiger and Thabo Molete, who MC’d the event. Of course, no festive season event would be complete without an appearance from Santa and his helpers, who brought gifts for 12 500 primary school children.
Of course, Covid-19 regulations mean that we have to be cautious this year. With this in mind, and to accommodate social distancing, the Foundation will space its delivery to seven primary schools in Diepsloot over three days, starting at Paradise Bend Primary School yesterday.
This year’s packages include school bags crammed with balls, colouring books and crayons, and sweets. And, because the year has been difficult for so many, the Steyn City Foundation is supporting not only Diepsloot’s children, but their entire families, with packages of essential toiletries.
This year’s Delivering Happiness to Diepsloot is more than a feel-good campaign, however. With the schoolbags manufactured by Just Bags, a company based in Roodepoort, it has contributed to job creation and boosted the local economy, too. Plumari explains that it was important to the Steyn City Foundation that the benefits of Delivering Happiness to Diepsloot be as widespread as possible: “Given that our economy has taken a beating this year, we wanted to do what we could to create opportunities. Justin Kasongo of Just Bags was perfectly placed to help us achieve our goal. Justin usually employs 65 people at his manufacturing site, but he hired an additional 13 employees for a six-week period to make sure his factory could meet our deadline.”
Plumari adds that Delivering Happiness to Diepsloot is always made more memorable thanks to input from organisations which choose to partner with the initiative. This year, the project was once more supported by Auto & General Insurance, which has made a significant cash donation. Says Auto & General Insurance’s Susan Steward, “This is the ninth year that we have supported the Delivering Happiness to Diepsloot initiative. We are thrilled to once again bring some festive cheer to the kids of Diepsloot. Auto & General’s Corporate Social Investment funding has been dedicated to our neighbouring community of Diepsloot and we hope to make a considerable difference in the community.”
Further support comes from Bidvest which has generously donated 12 500 shoes made from recycled medical drip bags. “We got involved with this project for the first time last year, when we donated stationery. We were blown away by its impact. That’s what encouraged us to partner with Delivering Happiness to Diepsloot once more; this time on a larger scale,” says Bidvest Holdings CEO Mpumi Madisa. She adds that the success of Delivering Happiness to Diepsloot’s 2018 campaign, which focused on providing school shoes to the learners, inspired Bidvest to approach its subsidiary, Adcock Ingram Critical Care, to do the same this year. Madisa notes that Adcock’s My Walk programme, a partnership with Netcare which recycles non-hazardous healthcare waste into footwear, is a perfect fit for Delivering Happiness to Diepsloot.
The support from Bidvest is remarkable for several reasons. Not only is the donation of school shoes important because many children have to forego classroom attendance if they don’t own shoes (a common problem in South Africa), but the recycling project is significant from an environmental perspective, too, ensuring that hundreds of tons of PVC is recycled. This means less waste going into landfills and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, it is bolstering South Africa’s circular economy.
“Sponsorships like these enable the Foundation to put more goods into our bags,” Plumari enthuses. He gave further mention to security services company, Fidelity which, together with the SAPS and JMPD are yet again playing an intrinsic role by providing escorts and enforcing road closures to ensure seamless deliveries.
“This year hasn’t given us much to smile about. That’s why Delivering Happiness to Diepsloot means more to us than ever before. It’s not just about giving children a present; it’s about seeing the joy on their faces. And in a year when joy has been a scarce commodity, that’s a gift in itself,” Plumari concludes.