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21 June, 2017

Husqvarna helps give 250 needy kids schoolbags

Kids school bags
  Ondini Primary School's learners who received the colourful schoolbags thanks to the Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge & Trail Run pledges from corporates and participants.


Pupils thrilled with novel schoolbags after Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge & Trail Run

Nearly 250 needy children from the Mid-Illovo area were delighted last week to receive unique schoolbags complete with built-in ponchos.

The handover took place at Ondini Primary School, which, with almost 100 pupils, was one of the recipients. Others included Ondini High School and Arden Primary.

The welcome donations were a result of a challenge issued by the Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo MTB Challenge & Trail Run on 30 April. Organiser Shanon MacKenzie had challenged corporates and participants to pledge schoolbags to children in the region. Profits from the race have always been used to help the community - previously, for instance, JoJo tanks were installed at local schools.

Taking up MacKenzie's challenge, 250 bags were pledged by corporate sponsors, who included Husqvarna, Safire Insurance, Illovo Sugar, PMB Petroleum, Coastal Farmers' Co-operative Gwahumbe Game Lodge & Spa, Mid-Illovo Bottle Store and Uzwelo Bags (an Expand a Sign initiative).

One of Uzwelo's products is the novel schoolbag that was donated to the children: made from Expand A Sign's waste textile fabric that would otherwise be destined for landfill sites, the bag has a built-in poncho above the zip, which opens out to cover the pupil's head and the bag itself, in wet weather.

Uzwelo COO Tanya Bailey said: "Our goal is to provide 50 000 schoolbags to underprivileged schoolchildren this year."

Ondini Primary School principal Siboniso Makhanya was thrilled with the donation, saying most of the children previously used plastic shopping bags for their books. Almost all of them walk to school, some having to hike for two hours to get to class.

Jacqui Cochran, marketing manager of Husqvarna SA, said the company was delighted to be on board with the donation. "Giving back to the community is part and parcel of the annual race, and the team is building a great relationship with schools in the Mid-Illovo area, including planting trees at Ondini Primary recently for International Forest Day - and now giving out schoolbags."

Marketing manager of Illovo Sugar SA Darrel de Wet said: "Illovo Sugar is always proud to be associated with initiatives like this, which give back to the communities in which we operate. This is a huge cane farming area, and for us, developing and cementing relationships with the local people, and giving support where we can, is imperative."

Anton Rohrs, marketing manager for Safire Insurance, which sponsored the 40km leg of the Husqvarna Classic Mid-Illovo Challenge, was equally proud to be associated with the donation. "We really appreciate the level of community involvement in this event, from the landowners helping to prepare the routes to the emphasis on assisting people in the region, like the pupils receiving these wonderful schoolbags. Safire is glad to have been part of this project. Supporting children from disadvantaged backgrounds is a major part of our overall social responsibility programme."

Source: Husqvarna