Our #ChangingLives Champions

“Changing Lives is what we do at SA Home Loans.” This is what my colleague, Mpilonhle (Mpilo) Vilakazi, had to share with me when I caught up with him recently to find out about how things are going with the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme he voluntarily heads up at SA Home Loans.

Mpilo is the Internal Audit Manager with our Group Risk Department. He and a committee of other dedicated volunteers, from various business units at SA Home Loans, oversee and organise the programme’s social responsibility projects and events.

“The objective of our CSR programme, #ChangingLives, is to contribute to the upliftment of the disadvantaged communities in which we work and live. We do this through partnerships with integrated social investment programmes that have a strong focus on education and infrastructure development,” explained Mpilo.

Why did you (Mpilo) get involved in the programme?

I saw it as a wonderful opportunity to participate in actively helping to change and influence the lives of those who have limited resources at their disposal due to a number of reasons beyond their control. The programme’s emphasis on education was also a big motivator for my involvement.

Which Initiatives does the programme support and why?

As mentioned earlier, SA Home Loans has committed to prioritising initiatives aligned to a “Home of Education” theme. This includes projects that focus on:

  • Early Childhood Development (ECD);
  • Education (including Adult Basic Education and Training [ABET]);
  • Infrastructure development (including, but not limited to, school libraries, crèches, orphanages etc.)

We support these causes through:

  • Charities, Sponsorship and Donations: Our support is not always financial. We collect clothes to give to the homeless during our Winter Warmth campaigns, for example.
  • Employee Volunteer Programme(s): Our employee volunteer programme is one of our greatest points of pride. Each staff member has been given eight work hours a year to spend on charitable work. The CSR committee organizes projects in which staff can participate to achieve this. The Mandela day initiatives are a prime example of where such hours can be spent.

Tell us about outreach activities you and the team have been involved with to date.

  • Siyakhula ECD Centre

SA Home Loans’ volunteers joined hands with Angel Projects in May 2017 to help renovate a community crèche, Siyakhula, in Waterloo (near Verulam).
We painted the inside of the crèche building (including four classrooms, an admin room and a kitchen), put up a blind in the office, renovated the jungle gym, and put up new shelves in the kitchen.
The event was a big success and a proud moment for SA Home Loans. We helped contribute to a conducive and safe learning environment for the 150 babies and children at Siyakhula.

  • Rise Against Hunger (formerly Stop Hunger Now):

Head Office staff, including our KZN sales branches, celebrated Mandela Day on 21 July 2017 by rolling up our sleeves and hosting a meal packaging event in the Head Office’s basement parking.
We packed 450 boxes of food (an equivalent of 16, 200 packets!) to provide nutritious meal packs, which were then distributed by Rise Against Hunger (RAH) to various ECD Centres and poverty-stricken communities.
The event was well supported by our colleagues. While it was serious work, it was a fun time of team building.

  • Hope Valley Farm School Library Project

SA Home Loans partnered with The Learn Project in April this year to provide a library for the Hope Valley Farm School’s Senior Primary classes (Grades 4 to 7s) and book corners for their Junior Primary classes.

What’s next?

We have a number of #ChangingLives projects planned for the rest of 2018:

SA Home Loans plans to build a crèche in Emaphephetheni, Inanda, in partnership with Feed the Babies, through our Adopt a Crèche Project.
We’re also planning further Refurbishment Projects, which will involve the renovation of two ECD centres in Waterloo.
The CSR committee also plan to host the Rise Against Hunger meal packaging event again this year, as part of the Nelson Mandela centenary.