Corporate Social Investment Opportunity: Upcycling Project at Ningizimu Special Needs School

June 30, 2015

USE-IT would like to appeal to businesses and the public to lend their support to the up-cycling project at Ningizimu Special Needs School. The school caters for learners aged five to eighteen who have been diagnosed with intellectual impairments such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and down’s syndrome. The up-cycling project involves equipping learners with the skills to produce a range of goods using waste materials with the hope of empowering them to access opportunities in the green economy. “The project aims to impart the basic knowledge and skills required to create up-cycled products to enable those entering the real world to support themselves by generating an income this way,” said project manager, Colleen Deetlefs.


Earlier this year, USE-IT sponsored Ningizimu School with the training services of Colleen Deetlefs, a businesswoman who specializes in manufacturing up-cycled products. Deetlefs taught the learners to cut, sew and design pencil cases, wallets, sling bags, book covers, tablet covers, cooler bags, backpacks and laptop bags using discarded PVC banners. These goods are now available for sale from the school, proceeds will go towards the funding of the project. “The up-cycling project has been fantastic, not only has it taught our learners useful skills, it has also generated an income for the school. One of our major challenges is trying to find employment opportunities for our learners once they turn 18 and are required to leave the school.  Most of our learners are not productive in normal working environments because they take longer to process information, battle with complex tasks and experience motor difficulties. With limited opportunities for employment, up-cycling skills are extremely valuable as it enables learners to earn a living,” explained Fernell Pillay, an educational therapist at Ningizimu School.


Unfortunately, due to budget restraints, USE-IT is unable to cover the costs of the project going forward. As such, USE-IT is hoping to help Ningizimu School to secure funding from businesses who believe in the cause. “We believe in the potential of the green economy to create opportunities for those who aren’t fortunate enough to receive a formal education. This project is changing lives by building the capacity of vulnerable youth, whilst diverting waste from landfill. It is an excellent corporate social investment initiative and we would like to encourage businesses to get on board and show their support,” said Michael Jooste, Project Manager at USE-IT. The school is hoping to raise funds to purchase a container for storage, reliable sewing machines and cover the costs of training, electricity, advertising and materials.


To order upcycled products, please contact Fernell Pillay at the Ningizimu School on 031 469 0767.



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