Glencore Coal in South Africa, has made many investments in its host region. This includes the Tweefontein Optimisation Project, an $800 million brownfield development project 110km north-east of Johannesburg, that began in 2010. An important community development element of the project is the upgrade and relocation of the Makause Combined School, situated in Phola township in Mpumalanga. The Makause school project is part of a relocation of 120 families from rural Tweefontein to Phola.

The $5.87 million state-of-the-art school was made possible by a partnership between Glencore South Africa and the government’s Department of Basic Education.

The new Makause Combined School has doubled in size and caters for pre-primary, primary and secondary grades.

It has 32 classrooms, science laboratories, home economics facility, wood and metal workshops, library, computer centre and a hall that accommodates 1,200 pupils. It was completed and handed over to the Department in 2015. 

In addition, we provided $0.22 million in funding for the Infinite Family project (also known as Launchpad), situated at the Mehlwana Secondary School in Phola. We worked in partnership with Infinite Family, a global mentoring organisation. This project is aimed at learners from disadvantaged communities such as Phola, who lack adequate adult role models and who face a future of limited economic opportunities. They are often orphans and vulnerable children. 

Built from renovated shipping containers, the LaunchPad facility has a fast internet connection and a battery power back-up. It has video technology and a secure internet platform to connect these learners with adult mentors around the world for weekly face-to-face discussions. Through this secure platform, the mentors and mentees work on homework assignments, conduct web searches in a safe and protective manner, and share life experiences. Learners can explore careers and build new skills using a range of interactive tools including email, blogging, video chats and virtual white boards. Sessions focus on developing their technological literacy, career preparation, communications and life skills.

We believe that bringing trained adult role models into the lives of such learners will help them develop the resilience, resourcefulness and responsibility that can lead to better opportunities.