Mandela Day 2020: Inspiring a world of difference, virtually

In keeping with Barloworld’s ongoing commitment to making a meaningful contribution to the lives of people with disabilities through various CSI programmes, we have partnered again this year with the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa (NCPD) on a Mandela Month ‘book drive’ initiative for blind and visually impaired school children. With guidance from the NCPD and Blind SA, we have identified schools which cater to the needs of blind and visually impaired learners. We are mindful of the fact that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted Barloworld, its employees and its operations. With the health and safety of our employees in mind, our Mandela Day activities took a virtual form this year.

Why focus on the disabled community?

Diversity and inclusion are key focus areas for Barloworld. Our support for people with disabilities resonates with our core purpose as a company and our commitment to ‘inspiring a world of difference’. According to Blind SA CEO, Jace Nair, blind and visually impaired learners in South Africa do not have adequate access to electronic books or braille writing and reading devices for individual use. During Mandela Month 2020, Barloworld contributed towards electronic libraries, comprising electronic readers and earphones as well as micro SD cards with preloaded books for each of the identified schools.

How did our employees get involved?

COVID-19 lockdown restrictions meant we had to think slightly more creatively, but we were determined to make our contribution to the day as interactive as possible. In the words of the inimitable Nelson Mandela: "There can be no greater gift than that of giving one's time and energy to helping others without expecting anything in return." This year, every Barloworld employee has the opportunity to actively participate in our Mandela Month initiative from the safety of their homes, by sending a voice note to the blind and visually impaired children at the selected schools to be uploaded onto the electronic readers for the children to hear when we deliver the devices.

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