This commitment to sustainability in a variety of areas is intended to contribute actively to realizing the global development targets laid down in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2030.
Volkswagen presents its key projects. Part 2: South Africa.
Volkswagen South Africa has launched the program "Volkswagen for good" which aims at sustainably improving living conditions for individuals and in society as a whole. The program is especially designed to benefit people who are neither employees nor customers. Thomas Schäfer, CEO Volkswagen Group South Africa, says: "For us, social responsibility and equal opportunities are not just words. We want to play our part in shaping the future of South Africa and having an impact where it is needed most." He said that special emphasis was being paid to the focus areas of education, youth work, health, community well-being, entrepreneurship, volunteering and the environment.
For example, about €2 million have been invested in the loveLife youth centre near to the Uitenhage plant, Africa's largest car factory. The area is characterized by unemployment and drugs. Up to 300 children and young people take advantage of the sport, culture and education program of the centre every day and operate their own radio station. Medical personnel provide advice especially for teenagers on general health risks, pregnancies and HIV.
Around half a million South African school-goers walk up to 6km to and from school, daily. Long walks ensure that a child is tired when they reach school and makes them vulnerable to other dangers. Because riding a bike is fast and safe, Volkswagen South Africa has financed a total of 3,100 "Blue Bikes". The robust, high-quality bicycles have been issued to 20 schools in the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, to ensure that students have more time and energy for learning. In addition, mechanics have been recruited and bicycle maintenance and repair courses are offered.
Volkswagen is also making a contribution to increased literacy through the support of the national reading campaign Nal'iBali (isiXhosa for "here's the story"). The organization trains volunteers to establish reading clubs in schools and communities so that as many children as possible learn to read and write before the age of 10.
Under the Edupeg project, teachers receive support and mentoring so they can provide the best possible education for school-goers. Volkswagen has introduced a comprehensive, learner-oriented program together with Edupeg at 20 schools in Uitenhage and Despatch, the communities directly adjacent to the main factory in South Africa. The aim is to improve the arithmetic, reading and writing skills of schoolchildren in the first few years at school, with an emphasis on perceptual development.
Since 2011, Volkswagen has been a partner of the startup incubator Raizcorp. At the joint Volkswagen Business Support Centre in Uitenhage, enthusiastic, ambitious entrepreneurs receive support for their projects. To date, the Business Support Centre has incubated 30 businesses, creating a total of 510 new jobs – important in a country with 25 percent unemployment where most young entrepreneurs fail within three years of founding their business.
The "Dealer Principal Apprentice Program" is a training program that aims to increase the number of black dealer principals in the Volkswagen brand dealer network. During the 24-month program, trainees continue to work in their dealerships. DPAP includes theoretical and on-the-job training as well as e-learning and personalized coaching and mentoring.
Masifunde is a German-South African NGO that trains around 200 young people in Port Elizabeth annually in life skills, sport, art, music, drama and school-related subjects. The recipients then become role models and mentors for younger children in their communities. Volkswagen of South Africa provides the organization with a Crafter to transport the youngsters to and from school and to various after-school activities.