LANXESS contributes to the quality of education in South Africa through Rally to Read

Over 8000 learners will benefit from this year’s Rally to Read

Johannesburg – German specialty chemicals company, LANXESS, participated at the KZN two Rally to Read this year for the fourth time since 2011, while hosting the 2014 North West Rally for the first time. The weekend events held on Saturday, 20 and 27 September 2014, was organised by Bidvest in association with the READ Educational Trust.

Rally to Read is an educational campaign or road show which delivers hope to rural learners, their teachers and their parents for a better future.  During this event, sponsors, organisers and participants of the Rally visits the most remote and needy schools in rural areas to deliver books, teaching aids, science kits, sports equipment, educational toys and other material – all of which are taken for granted at urban schools.

The initiative is a South African success story that shows how much could be achieved when the private sector, the public sector and non-governmental organisations partner towards delivering hope to rural learners, their teachers and their parents for a better future.

The total contribution of both the KZN two and North West Rally to Read sponsorship by all sponsors is valued at R1 500 000 (€150 000) for 24 selected schools.

Convoys of off-road vehicles departed from the dealership after all participants assembled very early on Saturday morning to load  educational material and resources earmarked for some of schools in remote rural areas. These included teacher training guides, box libraries, stationery, sports equipment, educational toys and school shoes.

2014 served as a beginning of the three year cycle of the Rally in the Drakensberg area. Employees from LANXESS personally delivered the educational materials to Bhekuzulu and New Canaan Primary schools.

The visit to Monato Intermediate and Boons Laerskool schools in Rustenburg was both an experience and an opportunity for the host, LANXESS to have a better understanding and insight into, the developmental needs of rural, traditional and cultural life, over and above delivered reading material designed for foundation phase grades.

In both areas, schools principals, the Read Foundation representatives and LANXESS signed a declaration of a three-year partnership, which will help the sponsor assess its return on investment and evaluate the progress of literacy levels among the learners as well as the success of the literacy programme over a three-year period.

Speaking at the Rally, Zakhele Mlambo, Principal of Bhekuzulu primary school, commended the Read Educational Trust and sponsors for choosing his school as one of the beneficiaries.

“This initiative is phenomenal for our school and it addresses government’s call of private, public partnership that aims to close gabs on education challenges within our communities. As a school, we will do our part to ensure that we use the material effectively and also to keep them safe,” said Mlambo.

After signing a certificate of declaration, Karl Gassen, LANXESS South Africa Managing Director said, “LANXESS sees a commitment to education as one of the key aspects of a sustainable corporate policy and the Rally to Read is an initiative that falls well within LANXESS’ Global Corporate Social Responsibility strategy.

“As LANXESS, we support sustainable projects and through the three year partnership with the schools, this initiative is a practical method of ensuring sustainability and an enhancement to the quality of education,” said Gassen.

Speaking during the Rally to Read Gala Dinner, Carsten Gerdes, Chief Executive Officer at the LANXESS Newcastle, said the company is proud to the part of the life changing experience in KZN.

“LANXESS has been participating in the Rally to Read  for the past four years and is committed to educational development of children within the community. Education remains one of the company’s four key focus areas of corporate responsibility and it is the most powerful weapon to fight poverty. At LANXESS we believe that a key to a successful life is through education. When you teach a child to read, he will be able to educate himself and that is a gift no one can take away,” said Gerdes.

In its 16 year of existence, the objective of the Rally to Read is to improve the quality of education at rural schools as a lot of them lack educational material for both teachers and learners. The Rally is also aimed at enhancing learners’ communication skills and literacy levels. The campaign is run on a three year annual cycle for participating schools.

Read Foundation, the NGO partner in this project, operates as an educator development agency in the field of language, literacy and communication and is a leader in the fields of educational assessment, and materials development and resource provision. They provide frequent guidance, monitoring and evaluation of the programme at the benefiting schools to ensure the material is being fully utilized.

LANXESS (PTY) Ltd. is the only South African company to handle the entire value chain from the chrome ore to the leather tanning materials. The chrome chain starts with the mining of the raw material, chrome ore, at the mine in Rustenburg. At the Newcastle plant, the most modern chrome chemicals production facility in the world, the ore is processed into sodium dichromate and chromic acid. Sodium dichromate is shipped to LANXESS’ plant in Merebank, near Durban, and used in the production of chrome tanning salts for the global leather tanning industry.

LANXESS (Pty) Ltd is headquartered in Johannesburg. The company has over 1,000 employees in South Africa, with 155 of them based at the Newcastle site.

LANXESS is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 8.3 billion in 2013 and about 16,900 employees in 31 countries. The company is currently represented at 52 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals. LANXESS is a member of the leading sustainability indices Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI World and DJSI Europe) and FTSE4Good as well as CDP’s Climate Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI).

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