Nivea plays big part in early childhood development in KZN

Beiersdorf staff, Thanda staff, and Thanda Children celebrate Care Beyond Skin Day. | Matt Black Photography

Beiersdorf staff, Thanda staff, and Thanda Children celebrate Care Beyond Skin Day. | Matt Black Photography

Published Jun 14, 2024


Durban — Beiersdorf (Nivea) team visited the Thanda Community Centre in the Umthwalume, South Coast, as part of their Care Beyond Skin Day initiative on Thursday.

The journey of early childhood development (ECD) began in 2015, and Beiersdorf funded the building of the ECD classrooms, and then the inclusion programme for children with disabilities commenced in 2020.

Managing director of Beiersdorf Southern Africa, Godwin Harrison, said that the objective of the Care Beyond Skin initiative was for 10 000 Beiersdorf employees in 68 countries to create a positive impact by supporting more than 100 local and global charitable organisations.

Nokuthula Khumalo (NIVEA brand manager) and Thulisile Gumede (Thanda Gogo Arts and Crafts), left, bead a sensory doll for the children of the Inclusion Programme. | Matt Black Photography

He said that the centre was a beacon of hope for the community of Umthwalume.

“Within our company, we foster a culture of respect and universal values. In society, we extend our care to our fellow citizens and the planet and contribute to more cohesive communities. This is our purpose and calling to Care Beyond Skin,” Harrison said.

He said that Beiersdorf got involved with Thanda because the centre focused on key socio-economic crisis areas facing the community and early childhood development.

“We identified Thanda as an NPO (non-profit organisation) whose community work matched our Beiersdorf corporate value system through the implementation of empowering projects to uplift a community through education and long-term sustainable solutions in a diverse and inclusive manner,” he said.

Founding director at the Thanda Community Centre, Tyler Howard, said the support from Beiersdorf was welcome because it has allowed them to reach more learners and enable numerous programmes.

“Their support means a lot to us because it shows that they care about the community of the Umthwalume just as we do. With them (Beiersdorf) we have made a great impact in the community, with programmes such as the Gogo Arts programme, the mom and baby programme, the girls’ empowerment programme and boys’ workshop and organic farming,” he said.

Ntombikayise Radebe, 71, said she was from this community, KwaQwabe.

“I am happy to be a part of the programme because when I come here to do my beadwork on Mondays and Tuesdays, I feel free. It gives me an escape from loneliness at home, and I get to teach the younger ones about beadwork and life skills. I also make some money from selling my work to visitors,” Radebe said.

Teniel Nelson and Akhona Mnguni, also a Thanda Inclusion Programme co-ordinator, right, sew weighted jackets for busy and hyperactive learners who have difficulty maintaining concentration. | Matt Black Photography

Head of programmes at the Thanda Community Centre, Raah Msimango said the library at the centre was the only one in the municipality.

The ECD classrooms were built with sustainability in mind.

“We are off-grid. We have solar panels and a natural cooling system at Thanda. We also focus on green living and self-sustainable,” said Msimango.

“It started with 10 learners, and now we have three satellite classrooms and six Thanda ECDs that house over 100 learners. We have two glass doors on either side for natural light with the shatterproof glasses around the class to make learning fun and stay off the grid. Each class has a teacher and an assistant. We also have Inclusion programmes that include learners with special needs such as Down Syndrome,” he said.

He said they have an organic farming project that has 400 farmers.

“The project started in 2015, and grew over the years from seven farmers. A few older people had an interest in farming, now 400 farmers both young and old, produce vegetables – that made R6.6 million last year. After the Covid-19 pandemic, more people had an interest in the project.

“The food we will eat today comes from our farm – this gives us a sense of pride,” he said.

He said they sold mainly to local markets in rural communities, Hibberdene, Port Shepstone and sometimes Durban.

Carla Rowe, CSR manager of Beiersdorf, and Akhona Mnguni, an Inclusion co-ordinator at Thanda. | Matt Black Photography

Skhumbuzo Msimango, 28, said he joined the Thanda organic farming programme two years ago.

“I am happy to be part of the programme. I was raised by my grandmother, when we are in the field, we communicate, engage and earn from the work of our hands. I want to pursue a business in farming and study further. The skills I have learnt here and my driving licence will help me get future employment,” Msimango said.

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