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The Abantwana Bethu initiative is driven by Ithala Employees, aimed at providing much needed support to schools in the regions where Ithala operates. The aim is to entrench the Ithala brand in KwaZulu-Natal by reassuring people of KZN that Ithala cares for their wellbeing. Support could range from providing much needed school uniforms, to providing non- perishable food items to schools in desperate need of nutrition.

The Abantwanabethu Initiative comprises of the following initiatives:
  • Back to School Uniform (Ithala sponsors each learner with full school uniform)
  • StarSaver Financial Literacy Campaign (Ithala volunteers delivering financial literacy lessons)
  • School Enterprise Challenge (A programme encouraging High School learners to start
  • 21 February 2019
  • mini enterprises whilst at school)
  • Bursary Programme
  • Mandela Day Commemoration
  • Women’s Month Sanitary Drive
  • Christmas Cheer Toy Drive


Complementing the Abantwana Bethu campaign is the Starsaver project, a partnership with the Banking Association of SA, where learners at township and rural schools are targeted with financial literacy lessons to promote the value of accumulating personal wealth and the need to save. Aligned to Ithala’s vision to drive financial literacy, Ithala embarked on the Star Saver programme aimed at empowering young kids through teaching them to save.

Starsaver ™ is a national savings campaign, adopted as an annual programme championed by the South African Banking Association of South Africa, and the broader financial sector, with the aim of teaching children to save in order to foster a culture of savings. The programme highlights the important role that volunteer bankers and financial sector professionals can play in educating our nation’s youth to become lifelong savers.

In the spirit of volunteerism and Corporate Social Investment, Ithala has for some years now, partnered with the KZN Financial Literacy Association and the Banking Association of South Africa in the ‘Starsaver’ campaign. Ithala volunteers include employees and Executives, who have all attended training sessions conducted by the Banking Association of SA. Ithala volunteers have been trained and visited nominated schools in seven areas to spend time in classrooms promoting the concept of saving. The spirit of Ubuntu once again came alive in September when the team of Ithala volunteers visited Prospect Farm Primary School in KwaDukuza to deliver Financial Literacy classes. A total of 24 volunteers were part of the programme, reaching over 300 children from this school.

School Enterprise Challenge

The School Enterprise Challenge, sponsored by Ithala and piloted in KZN during 2014, is a global enterprise competition designed by a London-based organisation called ‘Teach a Man To Fish’.

Ithala’s investment of R1 061 million to date has supported learners at approximately 360 schools in KZN who were exposed to vital business skills; gaining the competitive advantage; SWOT analysis; market research and sales; operational planning, financial planning and business sustainability.

The programme also enabled learners to carry out a resource assessment, business idea brainstorm, feasibility study and plan options for start-up capital. In this way, schools are able to generate an income which they can invest towards developing their school or a social cause of their choice.

The programme is championed by KZN MEC for Finance, Belinda Scott, and the KZN Department of Education in partnership with The Saville Foundation, Business World and Ithala. The partnership is in response to current challenges in education, entrepreneurship and community development to enable significant and relevant social change.

The project aims to bridge the employment gap between education and the workplace. Through a competition, teachers and students are encouraged to work together to establish a profitable business.

Mandela Day

The overarching objective of Mandela Day is to inspire individuals to take action to help change the world for the better, and in doing so build a global movement for good. Ultimately it seeks to empower communities everywhere. “Take Action; Inspire Change; Make Every Day a Mandela Day.”

The organisation has always been participating in the CSI Madiba Day initiatives. Ithala will continue to nominate deserving recipients within our communities

Preciously the CSI unit had broadened the Mandela Month initiative and extended our outreach and strengthened community relations through volunteers at our Industrial Estates.

The Madadeni Estate staff visited the HOPE FOR THE CHILDREN CRECHE situated in an informal settlement next to the estate. Ithala contributed towards the sourcing out of the building material for a new concrete structure.

The Ezakheni Estate Staff visited the LADYSMITH HOSPICE ASSOCIATION which caters for the local clinics in the Ladysmith area. The Isithebe Estate staff visited the HOUSE OF HOPE AND RECOVERY in the Mandeni community.

This year 2 schools in Umlazi and Umzinto benefited from the donation of non- perishable food items to supplement their school’s feeding scheme

Women’s Month Sanitary Drive

This year toiletry packs (sanitary towels and cosmetics) were donated to girl learners at Dlangane High School in Bulwer.

Christmas Cheer Toy Drive

This is a priceless initiative that brings joy not only to the children, but also to us as an organisation. The power of toys and educational items to stimulate creativity at an early age should never be underestimated.

To support its development mandate, embarks on various initiatives to fulfil the needs of ordinary people from early childhood development phase through to academia and employment.

Key Highlights:

In 2016, Ithala visited children who were hospitalised during the festive season. Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital and The LowerUmfolozi Memorial Hospital in Empangeni. In 2017, As part of the Abantwana Bethu initiative, Ithala volunteers recently delivered toys to bring Christmas cheer to local children in Mandeni. Khulunothe is a Zulu word which means “Grow & Prosper”. Educational books and puzzles were donated. The day care is situated at the Mandeni Isithebe Estates and supports the children of the employees that work at the Estate. This Centre is currently being run by a retired Ithala employee, Mr Rubber Mtshali together with his wife. The above were positively received by the recipients.

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