Cape Town - While there's no clear definition of corporate social responsibility (CSR), we can all agree that it’s no longer good enough as a side-line project, but rather a way of life.
Businesses become a social lever to what matters today – making a difference.
As Cape Town's biggest radio station, Heart FM is truly representative of the diverse, vibrant and colourful community that is the Cape, and believes it speaks to and understands its audience, intimately.
As a trusted member of the community, the station takes this responsibility very seriously.
With this comes the unique opportunity to be agents of change, creating a platform for listeners, partners and clients to be involved with and make a difference in our communities.
The 16 Days for Youth initiative was created to tell the stories of struggling communities throughout the Western Cape and to mobilise listeners to support them.
The initiative aids these communities by feeding, fixing, building and changing the environment for the better.
Heart FM believes these opportunities serve as a platform to connect with listeners, while bringing together Capetonians with diverse backgrounds to interact and be a part of the change.
Over the past 11 days, what has transpired has been nothing short of a miracle.
The support from the public and corporate sectors has been phenomenal.
The meaningful contributions have made such an impact on the lives of each organisation along the way, and its effects on the communities they serve, and the youth in particular.
On Tuesday, the team from Heart FM visited the Porterville Educare centre.
The community of Porterville are predominantly seasonal farm workers.
This impoverished community faces many challenges, however, the children are the ones that are affected the worst.
Now, in the winter months, attendance has decreased by almost 50% due to the fact that parents are unable to meet the R150 to R250 monthly school fees. Principal Milesian “Milly” Korasie explains her concern for the children, aged between 18 months and five years old.
“It’s so difficult to see the children's development disrupted when they are absent from school for a few months," she says.
"As teachers we are saddened by the fact that their positive progress is hampered and should they return, how far behind they are in comparison to their peers.
"These development years are crucial and should not be disrupted.”
Other challenges the educators face is the lack of technology. There are no computers on which to work or communicate with the outside world and once a week Milly makes her way to the community library to download emails and catch up with admin, placing additional strain on her and her team.
On Tuesday, listener Carol Geysman, from On the Ball College, got in her car and drove to Gouda when her director and colleagues heard the story live on air as Aden Thomas spoke to Milly.
Carol and her company gave the school three brand-new personal computers and, as a Seta accredited training provider, are able to up-skill the educators with basic Microsoft training. The stunned principal had no words. What this means to her and her team is what is easily taken for granted by so many.
They can now be connected to the rest of the world via internet, email correspondence can be immediate, salaries can be paid via EFTs and research can be conducted to further their own education.
The 16 Days for Youth initiative cannot be made possible without the generosity of corporate sponsors such as Barons Cape Town, McDonalds, Grand West CSI and Airborne.
To date, close to 20 000 people have been fed nutritious meals, many organisations have been given renewed hope due to improvements made to their facilities, children have been clothed, entertained and hundreds of thousands of rand have been sponsored for financial aid.