School Bags for Bright Futures15 April 2015

Following a year-long collection drive PANNAR SEED in conjunction with DuPont Pioneer and parent company, DuPont donated bags to Grade 1 learners at Khulekani Primary School in Greytown, South Africa on 30 March. The school neighbours the business’s Redgates Research Farm.     

This initiative has been running since 2009 when it was first observed that children had to carry their prized school books in plastic shopping bags. The children’s plight resonated strongly with employees and their families from as far afield as the United States and over 540 “school bags” have been collected this year.

Many of the bags, backpacks and leather briefcases were received by staff at conferences and meetings across the globe. Khulekani Primary School was the first to receive their school bags, but similar donations are planned for other schools in Africa, including Zambia in coming weeks.
Dr Rikus Kloppers, Toinette van Rooyen and Nothando Mafu from the Research department and Peet van der Walt and Christin Hunter from Marketing visited the school to present the Grade 1 learners with the donation. The bags were filled with special treats and stationary, including caps, sweets, writing pads and rulers, which brought delight to the little faces.

At the handover, Nothando, a biotechnologist in the Greytown Global Marker Technology (GMT) lab, described to the children the important agricultural research work being carried out on the farm next to their school and how it will impact food security in Africa in the future.  “We also encouraged them to attend school every day and study hard, continuing with maths and science so that one day they could consider careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) fields,” said Nothando.  The children were also warned to be safe when walking on the road.

“The initiative is closely aligned to our Core Values, especially those of environmental stewardship and respect for people. We recycle these ‘brand new second hand’ conference bags and put them to use in a way that is respectful of the children’s circumstances and responsive to their needs. We believe that education is the responsibility of the entire community and hope that these donations will enhance their learning experiences and ultimate achievement,” said Rikus, Crop Services Manager.

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