The Tiger Brands Foundation’s journey in the Northern Cape started in September 2015 at Deben Primary School, located in Kathu in the Gamagara local municipality. This was made possible through a corporate partnership between the Tiger Brands Foundation, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and Sishen Solar Facility (SSF) –a solar photovoltaic power generating plant located east of Dibeng.
The company’s operations came into effect in November 2014, and as part of its socio-economic development plan, SSF joined forces with the Tiger Brands Foundation in one of the most significant corporate partnerships to date.
Deben Primary School was the first school to come on board the Foundation's programme in this province. The school has a rich and colourful history, it was established by mining companies in the area who responded to a call by the late Nelson Mandela, former President of the Republic of South Africa, to build a primary school in the area. This need was identified by Mr Mandela during a visit to Kathu in the late 90′s and he returned in 2002, after retirement, for the official opening of the school.
The population of Gamagara local municipality has almost doubled from 23 202 people in 2001 to 41 617 people in 2011. The single largest factor that has guided the socio-economic development of the Gamagara area is the iron ore mine at Sishen. The mine was the main reason for the establishment of the town of Kathu and provides jobs to thousands of people in the area.
Poor nutrition in young children is a critical challenge to quality education and health outcomes throughout our country. The situation is no different for the learners in the Gamagara area, where many of them get to school without having had a meal to start off their day. This has an adverse impact on their ability to learn and quite often, the only meal received for the day is the one provided as part of the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP).
SSF’s decision to fully sponsor four additional schools in the area (as from January 2017), specifically in the Kathu and Olifantshoek areas, positively impacts the lives of approximately 5 388 learners across the four schools in this area. Through this partnership these learners now receive a healthy nutritious breakfast in addition to the lunch provided by the NSNP.