Chevrolet has helped Lulama Primary School in Pimville, Soweto to help itself by establishing a vegetable garden for its nutrition programme, fixing damaged classroom floors, and performing light plumbing maintenance.
Central to the project, the third by Chevrolet’s Ute Force team of skilled professionals, are Chevrolet’s Utility vehicles, several of which were used in a versatile array of activities including ferrying supplies, labour, equipment, and providing transport for meetings.
“This project, like the two before, is not about charity,” says Tim Hendon, Chevrolet brand manager at GM South Africa. “We are helping the people and children at Lulama Primary School to help themselves. With the establishment of the vegetable garden they will be able to enrich their school’s nutrition programme long after our Utilities have delivered their final bag of seeds and plumbing supplies. This programme, and the many projects of which it consists, ensure that the benefit is not fleeting, that it involves the local communities, that it heeds the necessary, and generally gets its sleeves up and elbows exposed. That’s what our vehicles are designed for, getting involved and making a lasting difference.”
“We’re extremely pleased with the project by Chevrolet’s Ute Force and the use of several of the vehicles in fulfilling the requirements of this project,” says Lucas Khumalo, principal of Lulama Primary School. “We face several challenges since we service the poorest of the poor and we understand that nothing can be achieved without ongoing commitment, as exemplified by our motto: perseverance prevails. Budgetary constraints have really left us hard pressed to give our students the basic necessities of a rounded education but we work consistently to elicit aid from other schools, businesses like Chevrolet, and individuals. Projects like this one, which deliver ongoing benefits and involve our children at the same time, are the best kind.”
Lulama Primary School is a pillar in the lives of 286 children and can accommodate up to 320. Seven teachers including principal Lucas Khumalo lead children through the national curriculum but also seek to offer them the best possible nourishment and every opportunity of a successful education. The school feeds children twice a day, department of education-sponsored mielie meal at mid-morning and a meal including vegetables, fruits, starches and proteins at midday. Sponsorship for those meals has been intermittent and even supported by donations from some parents.
The more than 300m2 vegetable garden, developed on behalf of Chevrolet’s Ute Force by Food Gardens, will consist of seeds and seedlings of no less than nine seasonal vegetables. Food Gardens will return on behalf of Chevrolet Utilities’ Ute Force eight times over the course of a year to ensure seed supply and ongoing knowledge transfer to learners.
Seeds and seedlings will be planted in a combination of reused tyres and soil beds and covered with shade netting to protect crops from the sun, frost and hail. A fence will be erected around the garden. Water for the garden will be supplied primarily from catchment from the school roof, fed through 42 metres of gutters into a 5 000 litre JoJo tank, kindly supplied at a discounted rate by JoJo Tanks South Africa.
Plumbing services are being provided by Artisans Development Corporation at a discounted rate. Artisans Development Corporation is an artisan academy owned and operated by Soweto resident Brutus Nelukula. He has rerouted a water pipe from the vegetable garden site and provided a convenient tap to fill the JoJo tank from the municipal water supply in the case of low rainfall. He has also re-established a tap in the school’s central square and will fit running water into the school’s kitchen. Toilet seats will be replaced, a leaking urinal repaired and mirrors hung on walls. The necessary plumbing supplies have been discounted by landscaping service provider, WETEC.
In addition to the vegetable garden and plumbing considerations, Chevrolet’s Ute Force team has also arranged for the floors of five classrooms to be repaired where only tattered linoleum remains and the concrete beneath is chipped, cracked and broken. Classroom walls will also be painted and interlocking rubber mats laid on the floors.
Most of the labour for the project, besides the Food Garden employees, was provided at a discounted rate by Redlex, another business prominent in the local community. Builders Warehouse has also provided sundry materials at discounted rates. Build-It Green provided on-site management and bill of materials for the project.