Johannesburg — MORE than 128 500 people, including youth, entrepreneurs and artists in South Africa have this year benefitted from philanthropic and community upliftment initiatives by a leading telecommunications operator.
The MTN SA Foundation kick-started the initiatives by contributing multimedia centres, and school amenities like shoes, backpacks and stationary to various schools in the province of Gauteng.
This was before revving up in its nationwide drive to continue supporting South Africa in the areas of education, entrepreneurship development and the arts throughout 2019.
"Education through ICT has become a golden thread that runs through our social investment strategy," said Kusile Mtunzi-Hairwadzi, General Manager: MTN SA Foundation.
The official said in line with that, the MTN SA Foundation identified a gap in the rural and special needs learning environments, and the urgency with which education should become more inclusive.
"Working with like-minded partners and government, 2019 saw the Foundation continuing to drive interventions through which specialised equipment is provided to students who need it the most," she said.
MTN SA Foundation handed over purpose-built multimedia centres to two rural schools, reaching 1 967 learners, and six multimedia centers specifically designed for children living with disabilities, making a positive difference in the lives for more than 15 330 special needs students.
In addition, more than 2 000 backpacks and 3 000 pairs of school shoes were given to students in rural schools during MTN's Back to School campaign.
Mandela Month saw 1 500 backpacks and 461 bicycles, for children required to walk long distances to and from school, being handed over in July - reaching over 2 000 beneficiaries.
The year saw MTN's continued support of the Enactus programme, an initiative aimed at encouraging social entrepreneurs at university level globally to develop solutions designed to address some of the most significant socio-economic challenges facing humanity.
This year's winning team of the national leg of the competition, from the Durban University of Technology, took top honours amongst more than 2 700 university students in South Africa.
They then travelled to the prestigious Enactus World Cup held in the United States in September, where the team vied against 3 000 students from other parts of the globe.
A highlight on MTN's calendar every year is its annual MTN 21 Days of Y'ello Care employee volunteerism programme, which takes place during Youth Month.
More than 2 700 MTN SA employees volunteered their time and skills at fifteen beneficiary sites. In addition to personal donations, the staff also handed over 3 000 pairs of school shoes nationally.
On the final day of the 21 Days campaign, 300 learners attended a Career Day hosted at MTN's offices.