Mercedes-Benz of South Africa (MBSA) has been the longest and most substantial donor to the African Angels Independent School since the school first opened its doors.
Over the past ten years, the MBSA staff have built a relationship with the school, its staff, and its learners, that goes beyond the traditional donor, non-profit relationship. African Angels and MBSA have joined forces to change the future for the children of Chintsa.
Donated funds are used for teacher salaries, development of the school buildings and the addition of educational and emotional development programmes for the teachers and learners. The sustained and substantial support from MBSA, has enabled the school to grow from its opening in 2012 with just a grade R, a combined grade 1 and 2 class and a grade 3 class with a total of 28 learners, into a full primary school providing a quality primary school education, daily nutritious meals, transport and support services to 153 children, in Grade R – Grade 7, from the Chintsa East area. African Angels also provides safe and family style boarding for all its grade 5 – 7 children, which gives each child just that little bit of extra academic and psychosocial support.
Our learners and MBSA staff have shared many significant events over the years. Mandela Day celebrations have often been shared either at the MBSA plant, or at the school. On each occasion, MBSA staff have interacted with African Angels learners and teachers, and built personal relationships. The children will never forget the giant burgers which seem to accompany every gathering with MBSA.
In August 2015, with MBSA’s support, we were able to purchase a beautiful Mercedes-Benz Sprinter bus to safely transport our learners from their homes to and from school each day. Our “Ingelosi (Angels) Express”, a quality Mercedes-Benz made vehicle, gives our parents peace of mind as their children go off to school, carefully driven by our driver, Nkosinathi.
In 2019 MBSA brought a team of their Independent Directors, senior management and dignitaries to the school to celebrate Women’s Day with our Grade R learners. This gave Lou Billett, our Chairman and founder an opportunity to present the objectives and success of the school to a broad audience and gave our little grade R’s an opportunity to show off their skills.
Each year African Angels and the MBSA team create a detailed Scope of Work against which African Angels’ performance is monitored. The scope includes regular internal meetings, presentations to MBSA, monthly reporting requirements, the creation of an annual calendar of events at which MBSA staff can volunteer, audited financial reports, formal academic targets for mathematics and reading, a programme of extra-curricular activities including sports, educational excursions and a mentoring programme, and community upliftment projects. The scope of work outlines the tangible impact of Mercedes-Benz’s support.
MBSA encourages its staff to get involved with its community projects. A group of MBSA employees sold Gluwein to raise funds for African Angels at the annual Hogsback Christmas in July celebrations.
Together, MBSA and African Angels have managed to offer a quality education that has led learners to high school scholarships at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in Johannesburg, scholarships for high school through the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, and Student Scholarship Programme to attend the Diocesan School for Girls, Grahamstown. MBSA, has contributed to these successes and we thank them most sincerely for all their support in changing the lives of these young people.
Lou Billett says, “Our long-term partnership with Mercedes-Benz has given an entire community hope. This is no ordinary donor-charity relationship. By having such an engaged and supportive partner with the African Angels Independent School, our parents see, every day, that their children’s future lives will be fundamentally different from their own. African Angels learners have dreams for their futures, because of their experience at the school.
Engagement with the MBSA staff over the years has presented the children with positive role models, both male and female, who they can aspire to be when they are older.
“It is largely because of MBSA’s sustained support over the past ten years that we are able to fully focus on providing the very best quality education for each and every child, so they reach their full potential and grow into fine South African citizens. We are privileged to have such an incredible partnership with MBSA and their team.”