As part of its commitment to putting people First, Microsoft Gold Partner Mint Management Technologies has partnered with non-profit organization (NPO) Ekukhanyeni to further its focus on community upliftment in the poverty-stricken informal settlements surrounding Johannesburg, South Africa.
This partnership was announced at the annual Microsoft Partner Golf Day which took place at the Bryanston Country Club on October 20, 2017 and hosted 120 attendees from the Microsoft Partner Network. Through this initiative, Ekukhanyeni gained exposure to the Microsoft Partner Network to further broaden its reach.
Early Childhood Development
Under its community outreach arm, DotUnity, Mint will help Ekukhanyeni fund Early Childhood Development (ECD) centers in Lawley, south of Johannesburg, and support food security establishment initiatives. In addition, Mint staff will also be taking part in hands-on mornings, providing attention love, and mentorship to the kids at the ECD centers.
Ekukhanyeni founder Liza Rossi explains that while corporate involvement initiatives help organizations to meet their CSI targets, the value it provides to staff from personal growth and team-building perspective is intangible as it enables employees to make a difference, feel proud and be part of a growing initiative that changes lives, shapes perceptions and enables change. Therefore, Ekukhanyeni is perfectly aligned with Mint’s vision of People First.
Growing a Mintie
Reflecting her excitement for the new initiative the organization has undertaken, Mint HR Executive Lauren Clark notes that Mint has been looking at how we can foster future entrants into our organization through education initiatives and technology and found a perfect partner in Ekukhanyeni. “Not only does the program speak to education and children, but it also fits into our long-term plan to “Grow a Mintie” from crèche age all the way through to our Internship Program with a hands-on approach and partnership with an established program in place already.”
Clark adds that Mint’s DotUnity program will be donating time through the company’s quarterly hands-on mornings where staff will engage with the children, as well as fundraising events to assist the Ekukhanyeni crèches with individual requirements for child care and education.
Giving back to the community
“The impact that Mint makes through these hands-on initiatives does not only benefit the children at the crèches but also our own employees who get to give back to the community and are always eager and excited for the hands-on community days. Minties love getting out of the office to spend the morning with the kids. Being part of a company with a Higher Purpose resonates significantly with each of them, and it is a life-changing experience knowing your time and love is making a difference to these kids,” Clark explains, adding that Mint will also be playing a crucial role in the long-term goals and initiatives Ekukhanyeni has to partner with more crèches and assist the current ones in growing further.
Lastly, Mint Chief Financial Officer, Yvonne Dias, adds that Mint has partnered with Ekukhanyeni as part of its BEE strategy to ensure that future generations benefit from the organization’s initiatives. “Not only does this partnership meet Mint’s higher purpose goals of enhancing children’s education, but it also ensures that the beneficiaries for this initiative are the children themselves. Ekukhanyeni provides Mint with the opportunity to realize our higher purpose as a company in South Africa.”
The Ekukhanyeni Relief Project was established by Liza Rossi 12years ago. Liza started her career as a diplomat working for the South African government and after leaving this field, she continued her life changing journey by volunteering in various impoverished communities in Johannesburg, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Limpopo, helping children with HIV, and establishing the first Early Childhood Development center program in Johannesburg. From there this initiative has grown to 16 centers and branched out into additional upliftment projects such as the establishment of food gardens as well as accredited training initiatives. This is Liza’s calling which is immediately obviously upon meeting her, and Ekukhanyeni has grown from strength to strength under her guidance and passion.
Ekukhanyeni is continuously evolving its community upliftment projects and ensuring that the impact of the program reaches far and wide into impoverished communities across South Africa. Its location right in the shadows of one of Africa’s biggest and busiest cities highlights the stark differences in the lives and livelihoods of the residents. Lawley has one of the highest rates of unemployment (well over 80%) and more than two thirds of the children are not in any kind of formal schooling. Liza’s goal is to change those demographics by creating jobs and livelihoods for parents and members of the communities in the crèches and food security programs, as well as getting more kids into the crèches and then into the local schools. This speaks to Mint’s goals as well and so highlights the success of our partnership with Ekukhanyeni.