With nine facilities around the country, Air Products South Africa is familiar of the significance of being a positive influence in the many communities in which it operates.

The company’s corporate social investment (CSI) focus is therefore on children and education-based initiatives. Projects which Air Products South Africa has embraced range from ballet to agricultural training, educational toys to building schools.

Further to its main CSI drive, Air Products South Africa makes some discretionary funds available to each of its branches annually, to be spent on community-based projects. The overarching aim is for the company to give back to the communities in which it operates. This has become an important part of the company’s strategy to help ensure a sustainable future.

“As a company, we believe that giving back to the communities in which we have a presence is essential in order to ensure that future generations of South Africans flourish socially and economically,” says Josua Le Roux, General Manager – Central Services at Air Products South Africa.

An area which is the most recent recipient of support from Air Products is Witbank, thanks to non-profit organisation Roepingsbond. This is dedicated to helping people who cannot help themselves in and around the eMalahleni district.

Air Products’ Witbank Facility has made a donation of 11,700 Rand to Roepingsbond, as part of its 2014 socio-economic development drive.

“Roepingsbond does wonderful work in a variety of ways, and is currently providing assistance to 3,500 people who would otherwise have nowhere else to turn,” says Le Roux.

The organisation has its own shelter, ‘Uitkoms’, and looks after about 40 ‘street children’ daily. From food and monetary donations they receive, the organisation also helps an old-age home and a children’s home. In addition, Roepingsbond delivers a variety of supplies (clothing and food) to the local informal settlements, reaching 5,000 people on a weekly basis.

The organisation is also working towards its own increased self-sufficiency and is currently developing a pig farming initiative, as well as a water project.

“For Air Products, sustainability is the watchword when it comes to providing financial assistance. What appeals to us about the work that Roepingsbond does, is that the organisation is also working towards its own future sustainability,” comments Le Roux.

“Moreover, Roepingsbond believes in helping people to help themselves. They teach people to become more self-sufficient by assisting them in practical ways: such as helping them find employment, or better employment, assisting them with finding cheaper housing or in financial planning.”

“This is an organisation which helps people to get back on their feet in ways that are both effective and sustainable, and we at Air Products South Africa are very glad to be able to lend our support,” Le Roux concludes.