Johnson Matthey’s Emission Control Technologies facility in Germiston, South Africa continues its involvement in local activities to help the young and the disadvantaged...

germiston 2013

Their support for three projects targeting nursery care, street children and those affected by HIV/AIDS has helped improve the quality of life for many in the community and earned the site a 2011/12 Sustainability Award as joint winner in the Corporate Citizenship / Community Action category.

Supporting Nursery Care

The first project was one very close to home. Around 100 metres from the site lies the Step by Step crèche which is used both by parents working at the site and other local residents. A belief that the educational elements of the nursery care could be strengthened prompted Johnson Matthey to offer funding for a training course. Staff from Step by Step received training and put in place a curriculum approved by the South African Department of Education.

Learning can't easily be done on an empty stomach and so Johnson Matthey is providing breakfast to these youngsters every morning to ensure that they get at least one good nutritional meal a day. Johnson Matthey's employees also donate clothes and non-perishable food and celebrated Mandela Day on 18th July 2011 by preparing a special lunch for everyone at the crèche.

Kids Haven

Not all children in South Africa are this fortunate and there are many street children in the cities who are estranged from their families and have picked up a drug habit. In a second project, the Germiston site gave funding to a new charity, Kids Haven, which is situated close to the company's offices. The charity rehabilitates street children through its children's home, counselling services and 'bridging school programme' which provides assistance to reintegrate these children into mainstream education.

Helping Sufferers of HIV/AIDS

In a third project, Germiston has given support to local HIV/AIDS patients and their families. In the neighbouring Katlehong township where many company employees live, an initiative has been set up in collaboration with the St Francis Care Centre to provide home-based care to people affected by HIV/AIDS. Through the initiative, anti-retroviral treatment is given to sufferers, either as in-patients or out-patients. Around 550 patients have been cared for in their own homes by volunteers or 'caregivers' and some 280 orphans supported. As part of the support, the caregivers help the children to apply for their birth certificates and in turn a child support grant from the Department of Welfare.

Sadly, Johnson Matthey employees may themselves need to turn to this HIV/AIDS care programme and in 2011/12, 13 employees used the service for family members or other relatives.

These projects are made possible by the funding made by the company and the enthusiastic efforts of employees. The projects are giving support to the local community in practical and compassionate ways. Very young children at Step by Step are being given a better start in life with improved early education and a nourishing breakfast. Older children who have drifted into a life on the streets are finding that, thanks to Kids Heaven, their lives can be turned round – they are returning to school and where possible, their families or relatives. For HIV/AIDS patients, their lives and symptoms are better managed and their families are finding relief.

As employees regularly fill donation boxes with clothes, food and teddy bears and make financial contributions, they know their involvement really matters to those in their communities at the receiving end. These acts of corporate citizenship help make communities more sustainable and the Johnson Matthey 2011/12 Sustainability Award is well won by Germiston.