At Gerber Paper we have a responsibility to make a positive contribution to both the environment and society.
This is who we are, and this is where we believe business responsibility should be focused.
When iKhethelo Children's Village, based in Durban, expressed a dream to extend their crèche by building an outside play area, Gerber Paper was happy to step in and make their dream a reality.
iKhethelo Children's Village rescues orphaned and vulnerable children from situations of danger and neglect and provides them with a place of safety and love. The children are also provided with a quality education to give them the best start to life possible.
"At iKhethelo, the crèche children stay on site all day, while the older children go to school. If the weather is bad, the little ones are forced to stay indoors, which can become frustrating for them," said Connor Birkett, Managing Director of Gerber Paper. "We wanted better for them."
What the crèche needed was a covered, outdoor area where the children could play and learn no matter what the weather.
Gerber Paper was extremely happy to assist. They sourced three contractors and also all the materials required to build the extension: slabs, roofing and concrete. Once the extension was built, Gerber Paper staff visited the site and hand-painted the walls to make it look as beautiful as possible.
By February 2019, the outdoor play area of the crèche was finally complete and the Village extremely happy with the outcome. "Gerber Paper has made a huge difference in the lives of all our children, said Graeme Wright, iKhethelo Children's Village CEO. The facilities in the crèche now provide more of an opportunity for outside play and learning, giving our little ones a strong foundation in learning and setting them up for a better education."
Gerber Paper is thrilled to be involved in such a good cause. "There is no better feeling than the feeling of positively impacting the lives of others," said Connor Birkett, Managing Director of Gerber Paper. "We are incredibly proud to support the children at iKhethelo Children's Village, and look forward to many more years of collaboration."
iKhethelo Children's Village is dependent on the support of the private sector to succeed in their goals of providing children from previously disadvantaged backgrounds with a real chance for the future.
The Village rescues orphaned and vulnerable children from situations of danger and neglect and provides them with a place of safety and love. The children are also provided with a quality education to give them the best start to life possible.
However, running a crèche and sending children to school is an expensive exercise. Which is why Gerber Paper was thrilled to donate R42 000 to the home to sponsor the school fees of two of the children.
"These children have had a tough start to life," said Connor Birkett, Managing Director of Geber Paper. "It seems unfair that proper education is denied to them purely because of the circumstances in which they were born. We want to help them as much as possible, by providing them with the education they need to move forward in life."
Graeme Wright, iKhethelo Children's Village CEO was overjoyed with the donation. "There are no words to adequately express our gratitude. Both the children supported by Gerber Paper are doing extremely well. One is in Grade 7 at Forest View Primary School. He is working hard and has been very successful on the athletics field, finishing top in the Grade last year. He'll be heading off to Hillcrest High School next year. The other little girl is now just over two years old, and is also doing very well. Thank you so much for making this possible, said Wright.
Gerber Paper is thrilled to be involved in such a good cause. "We can't think of a better cause to support, and we are so happy to hear of the progress of the two children," said Birkett.
In January 2019 Gerber Paper was proud to donate groceries, stationary and a range of personal products to Steinthal Children's Home, based in Cape Town.
Steinthal Children’s Home houses 150 children from previously disadvantaged communities and offers the children education, therapeutic, development and relaxation programmes. The Home aims to guide children on an emotional, physical and spiritual path of recovery – to prepare them for a better future.
"We are extremely proud to be involved with such a good cause," said Connor Birkett, Managing Director of Gerber Paper. "We believe it is the responsibility of the private sector to contribute to the upliftment of society, and we take this responsibility seriously."
Gerber Paper was initially introduced to the amazing work done at Steinthal Children’s Home by one of their clients, Colourtone Aries. The owner, John Bywater, has been supporting Steinthal since his son, Ryan Bywater, passed away. Ryan was an ardent supporter of the Home, and John has continued this support in remembrance of his son.
Every so often Gerber Paper recognises remarkable achievers. Individuals who have stood up in the face of extreme adversity, and have triumphed against all odds. We support these heroes. Heroes like Joey Evans, who had been paralysed from the chest down as a result of a horrific accident in 2007. With his unbelievable determination and Gerber Paper's support, he achieved his life-long dream of competing in the Dakar Rally, the toughest off-road race in the world. Joey epitomises the Gerber Paper Group's values: willpower, determination, the courage to succeed, and the ability to continue to better ourselves. For more on Joey Evans and his journey go to www.joeyevans.co.za.
On Tuesday the 18th of July 2017, we had the most humbling experience of giving some of our time to The Ray of Hope Babies Home. Based in Glenhills, and run by house mother Rachel Uys, this little haven does what a lot of people could never really imagine doing. It takes a special person to be able to deal with the sadness that this job comes with.
The Durban office was given a shopping list and asked to go and buy a few items to assist with the daily needs of both the babies and the carers who reside in this home. Upon arrival, we met Rachel. She showed us around and introduced us to the carers and the 6 little babies that they have in the home. As much as we enjoyed the hour that we spent with them, I think I speak for the team when I say we left the home feeling very sombre. The love and warmth of a family and safe home environment, is something that the majority of us take for granted.
In my heart, I kept thinking that these little ones should be at “home” with their parents and siblings. They should still be relying on mom for milk and her unquantifiable love… but here they are, in cribs that many other babies have occupied, and there will sadly be many more to come. Each baby came into the home with a tragic story, but at least here they are safe, they are loved, looked after and fed.
It truly is a blessing to our community to have selfless people like these ladies who open their hearts and home to the unknown, who nurture these little souls. Ray of Hope Baby Home relies heavily on donations, funding, and people from the community to take time out of their days to just come and play with the babies, feed them or even chat to the carers. At the end of the day, they are providing a service that is so high in demand, and most of the public don’t even realise how dire the situation is.
It was a pleasure to have met Rachel and her team on Tuesday. And it was even more special to spend time with the 6 little souls who desperately need a second chance in life!