Air Products prides itself in the innovative work they do in the communities in which they operate through their corporate social investment (CSI) efforts. The projects are strategically focused on the youth and education and are all structured according to a specific framework. However, in times like these, as we face the global COVID-19 pandemic, Air Products did not hesitate to allocate funds for COVID-19 related projects.
According to Arthi Govender, Chairperson of the CSI Committee, they have already made annual financial donations to organisations such as Nazareth Care House, Community Chest in KZN and the Western Cape, Hospice in Rustenburg, Empilweni Drop In Centre and Cotlands in the wake of the pandemic. “The funds of most of these organisations are already thinly spread, and the added costs of acquiring PPE, sanitisers and other protective goods are really leaving most in a dire situation - we lare pleased that we have made these much needed donations early in the year to assist with preventing the spread of the coronavirus.”
Reaching Out and Creating Innovative Solutions at Schools, Preventing the Spread of COVID-19
Air Products strives to make a difference, not only when it comes to service delivery, but also in other instances, such as providing support to their surrounding communities.
The most recent examples of such projects are the hand wash stations built at primary and secondary schools. Govender comments on these bays: “The CSI Committee approved funds to install hand wash stations as we realised that we could play a role to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at these schools by providing proper facilities.
The stations consist of concrete basins and taps with refillable wall mounted soap dispensers. We have completed seven bays at the Kwabhekilanga Secondary School in Alexandra, six at the Seotloana Primary School in Tembisa, seven at the Lebohang Secondary School in Vanderbijlpark and three bays at different schools in Rustenburg.
This project is sustainable and will benefit the learners and the school during the current crisis and for many years to follow as it ensures that water is easily accessible and encourages hydration and proper hygiene.”
Air Products launched the WitnessHappiness project more than three years ago where they provide assistance to early childhood development (ECD) centres at a national level for a period of three years. Through this award-winning project, commitment is made and a relationship built with a centre which is selected by the employees from the different facilities. They are supported with different donations over time, from education to personal care items. As the centres could not be visited for Mandela Day, donations were made based on their needs. The majority were supplied with COVID-19 relief items that they can use to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the centres. They received items such as face shields and sanitisers and mattresses to ensure social distancing during nap time.
Govender further explains that they were overwhelmed with requests from non-profit organisations since the start of the pandemic in March. “In order to assist in stopping the spread of COVID-19, we have reallocated funds in an effort to help more organisations. One example of such a donation was to the Government’s national Solidarity Fund which was established by the President.”
Govender concludes: “When President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of national disaster in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and called for assistance to combat the spread, we reacted swiftly and found innovative ways in which we can provide assistance. At Air Products, we believe nothing is more important than safety at our facilities, and with this pandemic we are ensuring that we assist where we can to make this ethos a reality beyond our operations.”