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Mutual & Federal CSI Week: staff partner with local charities to do good

25 November 2013 Mutual & Federal

“We can do our work only because of the ongoing support we receive from companies like yours. Offering a simple "Thank You" for your gifts never quite feels like it's enough to us, because what you're doing is helping us to bring about change in the lives of our children.”

These words of gratitude from NGO, Kids Haven in Benoni, capture the essence of the Mutual & Federal CSI Week staff volunteerism programme. The aim of the programme – formally called the Nakelela CSI Week to reflect the company’s broader Nakelela staff volunteerism programme – is to encourage staff to partner with their local charities to do good and transform communities. Nakelela means to care or to nurture something or someone in isiXhoza.

"During this year’s CSI Week, the spirit of Nakekela was very evident with 14 branches participating nationally – each participating branch was supported with funds and resources (including a special leave provision) from a central pool to support their chosen charities,” explains Laurien Comyn, Head of Business Responsibility at Mutual & Federal. "More important to stress is the fact that the qualifying criteria for these resources is the direct and hands-on participation of volunteers rather than just handing over the funds or amenities,” Comyn adds.

For example, Mutual & Federal Head Office staff visited Kids Haven in Benoni as part of their CSI Week drive. Besides handing over two washing machines, stationery, groceries and medical supplies, some 30 Mutual & Federal volunteers spent the day with the children playing games and preparing lunch.

Branches from various regions including Newcastle, Durban, Benoni, Port Elizabeth, Bethlehem and Welkom also rolled up their sleeves to deliver food parcels and volunteer at projects taking care of orphaned and vulnerable children, people with disabilities, the homeless and senior citizens. Among others, these included Peter Pan Crèche in Newcastle, the Jikeleza Centre in Kwazulu-Natal, the Sedibeng Children's Haven in Vereeniging, the D J Sobey Old Age Home in the Eastern Cape and the Emmanuel Feeding Scheme in Benoni.

Comyn was impressed with the response from staff, which was overwhelmingly positive. "It just shows that providing people with avenues to make a difference can truly put the heart back into a large corporate,” she said. "As one finds with many staff volunteering initiatives, people are very generous with their time and donations, particularly when structures and vehicles are created for them to participate. We are humbled by the impact on the communities and internal morale. We are more than a large corporate, we’re a company that cares - made up of people who care,” she adds.

Kefilwe Maseko, Administrator in the Business Responsibility department at Mutual & Federal, who was part of a group of volunteers who visited Kids Haven, comments on her experience: "Going to Kids Haven reminded me how precious kids are.”

"I’m happy that the impact of our small gestures brought smiles to the little ones. I am glad I could be part of this initiative, it really touched my heart. Thank you Mutual & Federal for helping me to make a difference,” Maseko concluded.
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