Once again demonstrating its commitment to education and development of the youth in this country, Air Products South Africa has chosen to support a school for blind and disabled children in Cape Town.

Athlone School for the Blind, in Bellville South, was recently selected as a beneficiary by Air Products’ Cape Town branch.

As part of its overall corporate social investment (CSI) drive, Air Products distributes funds to each of its nine facilities around the country every year, to be spent on community projects within the regions in which the company operates.  Believing strongly that the future of the country is dependent on the healthy development of our children, Air Products places a special emphasis on youth-focused educational and developmental initiatives.

“Education is the foundation of a healthy future, and we are proud to assist where possible with projects which empower young people to operate more effectively in their world,” says Sugene Vickernand, Regional Sales Manager at Air Products.

Vickernand, along with colleague Nita Muller, Facility Supervisor at Air Products Cape Town, presented a cheque at an assembly at the school, with students, teachers and community members present.

“The school was elated, but for us it was a very humbling experience. Witnessing a typical morning in the life of the school confirmed for us the amazing work Athlone School does in educating disabled and mentally challenged children.  The school teaches children from pre-school all the way to Grade 12, and is also very involved in local, national and international sporting events.  The fact that the school also provides free adult learning to the local community is another reason why we chose to offer our support,” says Vickernand.

As an institution which is only partially subsidised by government, Athlone School relies on the involvement of the community and the support of the local business sector to a large extent.  Air Products’ donation will be channelled into buying new tutorial and sporting equipment, and the maintenance of the school’s vehicles.  A portion will also go towards the school kitchen, where meals are provided daily for hostel students.

For Athlone School, which is both a day and boarding school, each donation received goes a long way in ensuring a quality educational environment for the children.

“We are very grateful to Air Products for this financial boost, and we will allocate the funds in ways in which the company will be able to see the direct benefit in terms of learning and teaching tools,” says Theodore Klink, Deputy Principal of Athlone School for the Blind.

She adds that a large portion of the money received will be used to purchase scanning and PDF transforming software.

“The purpose of the software is to convert PDF documents into MS Word documents which can be edited for Braille production; as well as the preparation of audio documents for our blind learners. The children do not have their own Braille and large print books, and our school has to prepare our own Braille print resources.  Air Products’ donation will be instrumental in helping us to do this,” Klink says.