8 October 2020

The Southern Lodestar Foundation has donated 60 tons of instant porridge to support vulnerable children in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and eSwatini.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Tongaat Hulett partnered with the Southern Lodestar Foundation to donate high energy porridge to communities associated with Tongaat Hulett in South Africa and other countries. Research shows that with improved nutrition, children are able to develop mentally and physically, which boosts their ability to learn and absorb new information. 

Andre Redinger from the Foundation says that Tongaat Hulett in South Africa and the Foundation started working more closely together in early April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to further their reach.

“Our commitment to Tongaat Hulett is to extend beyond this period to ensure we deliver a sustainable breakfast programme in the countries we are operating in. We have benefitted from Tongaat’s significant support – from logistics; to human resources; to reaching those who need nutritional intervention as a matter of life and death.

“To many of the children in Africa, we pledge nourishment, education, and love so that we can help to uplift; to inspire and to be of service.”

Tongaat Hulett’s mission is to build its future by creating sustainable value for all its stakeholders by investing in those communities within which the company operates.  Tongaat supports a wide range of sustainable development initiatives aimed at improving the wellbeing of communities and families. The company uses its existing infrastructure, logistic network and stakeholder relationships to accelerate the distribution of the instant porridge in the three countries.  

Nkonzo Mhlongo, Corporate Affairs at Tongaat Hulett Sugar, says that the partnership between the company and the Foundation has highlighted the importance of collaboration.

“The donation has enabled both parties to share their specific competencies and capabilities to help achieve a common goal of improved nutrition in the three countries. The donated 60 tons will translate into 1,2 million meals and will therefore go a long way in supporting individuals and families that are at a breaking point.”

Sonia Matsinhe, Covid-19 Team Leader for Tongaat Hulett Mozambique says that Tongaat Hulett’s partnership with the Southern Lodestar Foundation presented a perfect opportunity for the company to intensify its corporate social responsibility interventions related to nutrition and food security. 

“This donation has ensured that children, senior citizens and recovering Covid-19 patients benefit from a nutritious and high energy meal in the morning.  The porridge has been allocated to the local hospitals of Xinavane, Magude, Manhiça, Moamba, Mafambisse, Dondo and Nhamatanda, local schools, student homes, nursing homes/old age homes, orphanages, vulnerable families in the surrounding communities, and employees affected by the pandemic. 

“As Tongaat Hulett-Mozambique we are also arming our employees with information and the tools that they need to operate safely,” says Matsinhe.

Gugu Mthimkhulu, head of Human Resources in Tongaat Hulett eSwatini, says that Tongaat Hulett has taken extraordinary steps to promote safe and healthy communities in the areas where the company operates. 

“The company has procured masks for its employees, provided sanitizers and put measures in place to minimise social contact. Through the partnership with the Southern Lodestar Foundation, we have also been able to assist children access the high energy instant porridge in the morning.  This assistance will contribute to increased school attendance and improved learning amongst children. 

“In addition to that, destitute elderly people from the nearby surrounding communities have been supported. The porridge was distributed to the following feeding kitchens/care points Vuvulane Farm, Mafucula, Maphiveni, Shewula, and Lomahasha communities,” says Mthimkhulu.

Adelaide Chikunguru Corporate Affairs and Communication Executive in Tongaat Hulett-Zimbabwe, says that Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe has made use of the company resources and the existing network of partners to have a meaningful response to the COVID-19 crisis.  

“Through the partnership with the Southern Lodestar Foundation, we will be able to make 400 000 meals available to children and individuals that have experienced undue hardship because of the pandemic.

“By supporting these communities and individuals, Tongaat Hulett is not only addressing the challenge of food insecurity and malnutrition, but also helping to ensure the sustainability of local institutions amid such a crisis.  The instant porridge will be distributed to 39 primary schools and 4 hospitals in Chiredzi.