PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), in coordination with Books For Africa, the largest shipper of donated books to Africa, announced today that it will distribute 20,000 books and supplies to locations in need in Johannesburg and the surrounding region.
Throughout the week, SIMBA, PepsiCo's local snack business in South Africa, with support from local community leaders, will deliver the books to three schools and one orphanage in rural and impoverished areas facing challenges such as high unemployment levels. The partnership with Books For Africa was driven by MOSAIC, PepsiCo's African American employee resource group, and the company's global technology function, Business + Information Solutions, in an effort to expand community engagement activities outside of the United States.
"PepsiCo's involvement with Books For Africa responds to the recognized need to improve education and computer literacy in South Africa, particularly in rural areas," said Arnold Selokane, Community Manager at SIMBA in Isando, Johannesburg, who is leading distribution efforts and will personally deliver the donations to the schools and children. "Through this donation, we hope to generate broader awareness of the needs and issues in Africa. We will continue to work with communities in which we do business and form partnerships to bring about positive change."
Books and supplies will be donated to the following locations:
• Seema Makapan Middle School in Dipetlwane Rural Village in the North West Province of South Africa, attended by 850 students;
• Dithamaga High School, attended by 650 students and located in Ga Matlala Village in Mpumalanga Province;
• Mlilo Primary School in Nelspruit in the Mpumalanga Province, about 325 Km from Johannesburg; at which SIMBA recently built a computer room and science laboratory;
• Fountain of Love Orphanage in Katlehong Township (Johannesburg), an AIDS orphanage attended by 150 children.
Also inspiring U.S. employee engagement, drives at nine PepsiCo headquarter sites in Illinois, New York, North Carolina and Texas resulted in employee donations of more than 1,500 books, four boxes of school supplies and 35 boxes to go toward the shipment overseas. As a partner, Books For Africa supplemented the donations to send a full container shipment of 20,000 high-quality books to South Africa, which were carefully chosen to be age and subject appropriate.
"The tremendous support for this project from PepsiCo employees and partners, both in the United States and in South Africa, serves as an outstanding example to others of what can be achieved when people decide to help," said Pat Plonski, Executive Director of Books For Africa. "Books For Africa is honored to work with PepsiCo to help improve education and literacy in South Africa."