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Nissan honors Madiba’s legacy by enriching young lives in South Africa

Nissan is honoring Mandela Month in South Africa by donating computers to the Bophelong Youth Center to promote basic computer literacy and Internet skills for children in the area.

The 15 new computers will replace old or damaged equipment and will aid the center – located in Sedibeng, a southern Gauteng township – in its ongoing outreach program to disadvantaged youths.

Portia Gibson, a part-time administration volunteer at the Bophelong Youth Center, is thrilled. Portia, who gained full-time employment through the center, said: "We are delighted that Nissan SA has donated much needed computers. Having access to a computer assisted me in my training and job placement and are invaluable in helping other underprivileged youths who are faced with many social challenges in the area."

Keba Matlhako, Nissan South Africa's corporate social responsibility senior manager, said the company supports the center to celebrate Nelson Mandela's championing of South Africa's youth.

"Nissan's philosophy is to enrich people's lives," said Matlhako. "We are pleased that the new computers will provide continuity in preparing young people to make their way in life and to make a meaningful contribution to society."

Bophelong Youth Center is one of several advisory facilities in Sedibeng, home to a large population of unemployed young people. Many are also orphaned, infected or affected by HIV/Aids, and in child-headed families.

In partnership with other corporate donors, Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa and SAB, Nissan South Africa is working with Sedibeng community youth centers to make a difference in the lives of these vulnerable youth.

The youth centers offer support and guidance to youngsters (who often get caught up in crime and substance abuse) by teaching life skills, including career guidance and assistance in looking for a job or starting a small business.

More than 26,000 youngsters have attended the Bophelong Youth Center since it was established in 2012. Of these, almost 240 have had access to learnerships in partnership with the National Youth Service.

Bophelong credits its staff – comprising three youth officers, a center coordinator, career guidance office and outreach officer – as the center's driving force. 

A schools outreach program prepares learners for life outside the confines of their learning institution. Working with business and government economic empowerment programs – such as the National Youth Development Agency, the regional Gauteng Enterprise Propeller, and the Gauteng City Regional Academy – the center offers advice and linkages to assist young people find jobs or develop entrepreneurial skills to set up small sustainable businesses.

"We are delighted that Nissan SA has honored Madiba's legacy through the gift of technology and access to information through these computers," said Sedibeng Executive Mayor, Cllr Busisiwe Joyce Modisakeng. "Working with corporate partners, the Sedibeng youth centers are helping to restore young people's dignity and give them direction in life."

Nissan SA will also be donating computers to the Iphahamiseng Child and Youth Center in Bloemfontein in partnership with other corporations.

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