Train manufacturer Gibela launched its Make a Difference campaign, which recognises the importance of educational support at all levels in the communities neighbouring its Dunnottar factory, in Gauteng, in May.
The company launched the campaign at an event at M.O.M Sebone Secondary School in Duduza, in Gauteng. Guests including senior managers from the Gauteng Department of Education, the Ekurhuleni metropolitan municipality and community leaders, heard about the number of socioeconomic development initiatives that Gibela has contributed towards as well as its plans for the future.
The Make a Difference campaign brings together a number of projects – each with a focus on education and skills development and which are critical in Gibela’s contract with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) to produce 580 passenger trains into the South African rail network over ten years. Gibela was established as a consortium and, in a seminal contract signed in 2013, PRASA assigned the company the task of replacing its ageing metro fleet with a modern service.
“Education is a great enabler in shaping young people as active global citizens who will put South Africa on the map – this can only be achieved when they are given tools to solve problems, innovate and develop new products, and to make new discoveries,” Gibela economic development director Dr Buyiswa Mncono Liwani explained.
He added that the company is creating awareness about careers in science, technology, engineering and maths and preparing learners to acquire skills relevant in the modern workplace.
Gibela’s socioeconomic development projects include educational support and encouraging young learners to learn a trade and become artisans. As a company operating in the manufacturing sector, Gibela believes young people need to develop commercially viable skills.
Its projects also include a partnership between itself and nonprofit organisation Asha Trust to deliver early childhood development and money management skills to practitioners in Ekurhuleni and Mamelodi.
Gibela CEO Thierry Darthout, speaking at the event, said the company is extremely proud to support these important initiatives in the area of education to promote the development and marketability of South Africa’s youth.
“Ours is a young company driven by the belief that economic development, a key area in our operations, is a strategic business imperative. We want our communities to thrive and to grow, so that our business can, too,” he stated.