PRETORIA, South Africa - Calling it “a great start to the festive season,” Miriam Nikosi, one of the house mothers at a South African orphanage, said the children in their care are grateful for everything Ford has done for them.
Indeed, the prospect of presents from America was an exciting one for the kids at the Mamelodi SOS Children's Village in Silverton, Pretoria.
When a team from Export and Growth (E&G) made plans to travel there, the E&G Diversity and Community Service Council proposed sending along some gifts.
Lori Dunn, E&G general marketing manager, said with the help of many donors the team brightened the day of more than 200 orphaned children. “Export and Growth and FCSD Regional Office employees made generous donations, as did Siemens, Fifth Third Bank, Mantz and many others. I wish everyone could have seen the smiles on the faces of the kids when they received their gifts.”
The children received goodies, such as chips and soda, along with such practical items as toothbrushes. But the gifts that generated the most excitement were the pencil pouches filled by E&G employees as part of the “How Much Love Can You Fit in Your Pouch?” campaign. That’s because these were not ordinary pencil pouches. In addition to the crayons, pencils and markers one might expect, the pouches were also stuffed with socks, stuffed animals, stickers, small toys and candy for the kids to enjoy.
The response to the campaign was so overwhelming there were enough gifts for every child at Mamelodi Village and for the Ford of South Africa team to take to a second orphanage.
Ford and its employees are deeply involved with the SOS Children’s Village and the children who live there. The company sponsors one of the houses on the orphanage’s campus that are designed for older children to help ease their transition to living independently. In addition to making regular visits and donations, employees have helped modify a computer room, upgraded the library and donated books, a DVD player, microwave and more.
When talking to the children, E&G Director Hal Feder noted that Ford employees in Pretoria also help make life better for the children. “We know the team in South Africa supports you, but we wanted to give you some gifts from America.”
Dunn says the smiles on the children’s faces were priceless. “We were overwhelmed by the kind and thankful spirits at Mamelodi Village. It was great to tell these beautiful children how extraordinary and special they are.”