Samsung Works to Brighten South Africa’s Future
On 31st of last month, Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy, run by Samsung Electronics Africa, hosted its first graduation ceremony at the civic center of Alberton, one of the nation’s economic centers. The sound of applause and cheer from the 120 students reverberated in the hall whenever the name of each student was called. When each of the students marched to the stage and received their certificate, more than a few parents and teachers silently wiped off tears. Thundering applause came out when the name of the summa cum laude was finally announced. Top graduate Refiloe Machaba seemed like he could not believe he became the winner of a Samsung LED TV.
Preparing students for the future
A young student named Machaba was in Grade 10 of Katlehong Tech High School located at the outskirt town of Johannesburg when he joined the Samsung Electronics Engineering Academy on 6th of March 2011. Samsung Electronics Africa received recommendation from four public tech schools located in economically challenged regions and initiated its one-year program with 120 students (in Grade 10~12) who had shown excellent academic performance. Samsung brought the students to its education facility after regular school hours and taught theories about state-of-the-art electronic goods and provided hands-on training for free.
“The training equipment in my local high school was not so helpful because they were either out of order or too obsolete.” Machaba said. “Each day in the Engineering Academy was fresh and helpful as I had chance to disassemble and assemble cutting-edge electronic goods.” Machaba lives with eight family members including his mother, uncle, aunt, and sisters. “I want to work as an engineer for Samsung’s partners and play a role of major bread winner for my family.”
Among the 12th graders, all the students (24) who wanted to job were hired by Samsung Africa’s partners. “I have a lot of friends whose lives are destroyed because they do not have any hope for getting a job. I appreciate Samsung a lot for giving me a good future,” said Bernard, who is in Grade 12 in Katlehong Tech High.
Samsung Electronics Africa launched its second engineering academy in Nairobi, Kenya and is planning to establish another in Nigeria in March. Samsung Electronics plans to nurture 10,000 engineers in Africa by 2015 through its education programs like this academy.
Helping Nelson Mandela’s hometown
The CSR (corporate social responsibility) campaign of Samsung Electronics Africa is not confined only to the education sector. Samsung lends a hand wherever help is needed. For example, the presence of Samsung is definitely important in Qunu, Nelson Mandela’s hometown and current residence.
Qunu is a poor farm town where most of the residents barely get by from growing corn, pumpkins, or relying on government aid. A church/school established by Mandela’s mother in a state of disrepair, was one of the few centers for the community.
Samsung heard that the old building was at risk of collapse. So Samsung not only renovated the building but also built a much larger community center. In addition, 60 staff members from Samsung’s African headquarters, and Samsung Medical Center voluntarily provided various services along with the launching ceremony of the center. Graca Machel, an influential activist, participated in the opening ceremony of the center and delivered her words of appreciation. The media, including the public TV station, covered the opening ceremony as a major event.
The community center is now used for religious events, wedding, and funerals. Christina Mandela, head of the administration for the center, said, “We used to have weddings and funerals under a tent, but it was windy and the tent often fell down. Samsung freed us from this kind of worries.”
Samsung Electronics and KOICA have also provided support for the agricultural projects that are designed to help the farmers in Qunu. The projects are designed to educate farmers about more effective farming methods.
Read more about Samsung’s CSR activities in Africa
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