by Gugu Maseko, Katlego Ledimo

Feed a child, feed the economy

Telkom Foundation Adopt-a-Project

Telkom Foundation is feeding school kids in the North West Province

When executives of companies become truly invested in their corporate social investment (CSI) initiatives, the results are meaningful and sustainable.

On a typical school day, the learners at Itumeleng Primary School in Brits, North West Province used to start their morning by fighting among themselves for a chair on which to sit. Those who lost out, would have to sit on the floor.

And at six schools in inner-city Pretoria, scores of youngsters would go to school without food and school uniforms. But not anymore, thanks to the intervention of the Telkom Foundation Adopt-a-Project initiative. 

This Telkom Foundation Adopt-a-Project, launched in 2011, provides Telkom’s 32 executives with R100 000 each to pick a community project that needs support. Not only do they donate money, but they also invest time and skills to show real commitment to the project and build sustainability.

Sarah Mthintso, head of the Telkom Foundation, explains that Adopt-a-Project plays into employee volunteerism, one of the pillars of the telecommunications company. “We specifically decided to do this project with executives because we know that in the midst of their busyness, they also have a passion and would like to do something to give back to communities. They offer some time, some offer particular skills, and in some instances they also make financial contributions out of their own pockets.”

Itumeleng Primary School was in a desperate state. Students were working from broken chairs and tables and the morale was very low. Telkom executive Charlotte Mokoena decided to adopt the school and injected R130 000 into refurbishing it with new tables and chairs. The upgrade is significant for Mokoena who, as a past learner there, knows firsthand the impact that broken furniture can have on young children trying to learn. Now, with her assistance, the schoolchildren have a newfound passion to learn.

Telkom executive Marina Jansen put her weight behind Lefika La Botshabelo, a care centre that looks after more than 500 orphaned and vulnerable children in Pretoria’s inner city. In 2011, Jansen put her Telkom funding to work, buying school uniforms for 60 needy children and assisting with feeding schemes, plus paying for office space rental, transport and office stationery. Lefika now feeds needy children – many orphaned – three times a week at six primary schools, and the children under the centre’s care receive help with their homework and other support.

Earlier this year, Lefika established a pilot project – also sponsored by the Telkom Foundation – at Namo Primary School in Stinkwater, to improve literacy and numeracy during the foundation phase at the school.

Jansen has invested in this project as well. She remarks, “It is heartwarming to give these kids food and schooling and also the enthusiasm to be at school. When we first got involved there, we saw that the school energy was very low. Now with food and smart uniforms and better classrooms, you can feel the energy of happy children growing at the school.”

Through partnerships with the government and community organisations, Jansen’s vision is to help take Lefika’s educational project into more schools – and she has the passion to make it happen! 

Katlego Ledimo

Cell: 076 062 5734


About Kaelo – Stories of Hope

The show was launched in 2005 in response to the need to provide corporate companies with a credible platform to publicise CSI projects – not only to share ideas and best practice around CSI, but to excite and involve the general public in CSI programmes. Kaelo – Stories of Hope was originally aired on SABC before moving to in 2011 where the viewership has increased to more than one million viewers per week. The project has since evolved to become a multimedia platform embracing television, print and digital communication. Since its inception, Kaelo – Stories of Hope has aired over 500 CSI projects from more than 100 companies around the country.


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