The Sandown Washbay Project turns one!

Amid much applause and ‘lumps-in-throats’, the Sandown Washbay Project celebrated its first anniversary in December 2011.

The project – part of  The Sandown Way – saw 12 young learners from seriously disadvantaged backgrounds  receiving training in all aspects of successfully running a washbay by the staff of Cleaning Africa Services.

These learners are from Nokuthula School in Alexandra. Not only are they from some of the poorest communities in Gauteng, they have the added burden of learning disabilities. Without knowing what to expect, these dozen enthusiastic learners started off their new lives at Sandown in December 2010: nine were employed at Mercedes-Benz, Sandton. The other three were employed at CJD Sandton.

The group has grown from strength to strength. At least four of the initial 12 have moved onwards and upwards to tackle other, exciting challenges in Sandown, while two more groups of learners have been successfully trained and employed at various Sandown dealerships in Gauteng.

Joyce Mahakoe, stalwart Principal at Nokuthula School & Centre, bubbles over with praise for the project, and says it’s like a dream come true for her and her team. “It just goes to show that, given the chance, everyone can prove themselves.

“The project has made a very positive impact on the learners and on the greater community in Alexandra. It proves that there is hope for everyone.”

Group MD at Sandown, Roy McAllister, says the project has become an integral part of their business – and it shows how The Sandown Way really does work in practice. “It’s all about the transformation journey and The Sandown Way is about creating opportunities for people to improve themselves and their lot in life. It’s living proof that there is ample space under the sun for everyone.”

Colin Richardson of Mercedes-Benz, Sandton told how his team had created a supportive environment for the learners – but had also learned so much from the Nokuthula students in return.

Pat Nndwamato of Cleaning Africa who oversees the learners’ training said: “We were all a bit nervous at first, but it has been a wonderful, rewarding journey for everyone involved.”

Spokesman for the learners, Piet Maake ended the speeches by thanking everyone – from teachers and parents through to the company and the workshop manager – “for creating this wonderful opportunity and making it work!”

To celebrate this occasion, The Sandown Group made a donation of R100 000 to the Nokuthula School & Centre in Alexandra.

Cleaning Africa salutes the Sandown Group and The Sandown Way initiative, and is proud and pleased to be involved with the training of these bright, young, future stars. The sky’s the limit!

Cleaning Africa sponsors 2011 Ama Wheelies Golf Day

Saturday 14 May 2011 saw the first locally hosted golf day for the Ama Wheelies, held at Lydenburg Golf Course.

The day was a huge success and Cleaning Africa Services was in good company, with sponsors, donors and doers both local and from around the country stepping up to the plate.

The golf day was specifically in aid of raising funds to purchase a quad-friendly vehicle, without which the Ama Wheelies have been experiencing serious transport limitations.

Unfortunately, the vehicle didn’t become an immediate reality, but huge awareness and support for the Ama Wheelies were created by the golf day as well as the parade through the town of Lydenburg.

Overall, more than R120 000,00 was raised on the day which was without doubt the most successful fund raiser these wheelchair farmers ever hosted. Most of the donations were in the form of much-needed farming equipment and computers for their training center which will both go a long way to helping these plucky wheelchair farmers of Thaba Chweu, who were exceptionally thankful.

The golf day and the lead up to it featured strongly on Twitter with well-wishes from as far afield as Spain sending in messages of support.

With their inspiring spirit, determination and gathering support base (of whom Cleaning Africa is super proud to be considered a part of), we’re certain that the Ama Wheelies farming community will continue to grow and shine as a beacon of hope for wheelchair – and able-bodied – people all over the world.

Ama Wheelies - the wheelchair farmers extraordinaire
Ama Wheelies – the wheelchair farmers extraordinaire

Ama Wheelies is a registered NPO in terms of the Non-profit Organizations Act as a section 21 company registration no 2008/021003/08. NPO number 083-504. Find out more about their incredible achievements on their blog at Ama Wheelies: The Wheelchair Farmers of Thaba Chweu – where you may also donate if you wish to support this worthy cause.

How does an Eagle change its feathers?

When needs must, it seems.  Because what began as just another golf fundraising day, has developed into a soaring relationship – and a chameleon eagle, of sorts.

It was at their Golf Day at Southdown’s Golf Course in Johannesburg on 11 November 2010 where Midge and some of the Cleaning Africa partners were first introduced to and became a champion of the Ama Wheelies.

Perhaps three is a lucky number: Midge loves golf, is a bird lover and has high regard for those who beat the odds.

And this day provided all three … in spades.

The golf was great with excellent company.  There was an auction with an amazing black eagle artwork that caught his eye.  Especially as it was created by Henry Blighnaut, a foot-and-mouth artist using a profile cutter operated by a stick that he held in his mouth.  Midge was sold. He won the bid and proudly took the eagle back to his offices of Cleaning Africa Thuŝanang to hang in pride of place.

What he wasn’t prepared for was the complaints and strong feelings from some of the staff – saying that the black eagle symbolised bad witchcraft and made them very uncomfortable.

There was no other way around it.  The eagle had to undergo an identity change and so it did; re-emerging as a fine specimen of a fish eagle.

Coincidence or not?  Since the eagle changed its feathers, Cleaning Africa’s fortunes seem to soar once again.  New contracts were signed, making it possible to renew Cleaning Africa’s commitments to BEE and the community, allowing more donations and support for the Ama Wheelies.

Cleaning Africa gets 12 youths off to a new start …

Cleaning Africa Services recently helped the  Sandown Motor Group with their community program of giving people less fortunate a ‘helping hand’.

Mercedes-Benz Sandton and Chrysler Jeep Dodge Sandton – make up the Sandown group and Cleaning Africa runs its washbays.

Cleaning Africa was only too pleased to get involved with Sandown’s latest project:  to train 12 youngsters from the Nokuthula Special School for Children in Alexandra,  to become an integral part of the group’s washbay team.

These 12 young hopefuls were chosen and signed up in early December 2010.  Their enthusiasm and hard work were infectious and a pleasure to witness.  By month’s end, they were fully qualified and certified too.

Sandown’s HR Director, Nandi Manentsa was proud of the difference this project has made in their lives: “It has proved to be a great success and has had a much wider impact than just improving the lives of the 12 staff members,” she enthused.

She went on to say how these youths had had it tough growing up, often being the brunt of taunts and jeers.  But now they are respected in their communities.  They are employed full time with all the benefits that go with that.  Now they can  play an active part in helping to support their families and  have  a real purpose in life.

Cleaning Africa and it’s staff are happy to have been a part of getting these deserving and willing youngsters off to a flying start.