Libraries play a central role in enabling access to information, particularly in supporting community-based solutions to meet information needs and development. Sabinet believes in contributing to the educational, social and economic upliftment and development of deserving communities throughout South Africa.
Sabinet’s corporate social investment programmes have in the past been facilitated by funding from the Sabinet Chairperson’s Fund (CPF), although the CPF entity has successfully wound down as a separate entity. Sabinet Online will continue administration of all corporate social initiatives and the vision, mission and strategic intent is unaffected. This year saw the winding down of the Chairperson’s Fund as a separate entity.
Highlights from the year
Bursaries: Sabinet provides funding to assist financially needy and academically deserving students, the majority of whom come from historically disadvantaged backgrounds. We have made available an amount of R300 000 over three years to augment other student funding allocations available to university students. Students were selected based on the criteria from the Unisa student database. There are currently five recipients pursuing studies in Law (two), Information Technology (one) and Information Science (two). Students have all progressed in the reported year.
Partnership with NLSA: Our partnership with the National Library of South Africa (NLSA) provides free access to the Sabinet African Journals research services for all users of the campus facilities at the NLSA in both Pretoria and Cape Town. Most of the users of the libraries are students who will greatly benefit from having access to these resources.
PROTEC: One of Sabinet’s key community projects came to an end in 2019. The partnership with PROTEC helped learners in grades 10 to 12 focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The programme provided additional lessons and support on Saturdays and extra classes during the holiday. Learners from five schools were identified for assistance in these core subjects. Some of the chosen learners entered the programme with marks as low as 12%, but through the programme’s effective systems, they made a remarkable turnaround and matriculated in 2019 with impressive results. The matriculants produced 12 distinctions in physical sciences and English.
Approximately 80% of the learners that were on the programme have enrolled with academic institutions to further their studies. Sabinet acknowledges the learners’ hard-earned success and looks forward to seeing them achieve their career goals.
Business support: Sabinet provides contributions to assist in the operating, financing and development of small- and medium-sized black businesses in the IT sector.
We focus on promoting and supporting community development by working with organisations that specialise in our operational areas, and by motivating our employees to increase their involvement in social responsibility initiatives. We have also opted to focus on a select number of established and well-run non-profit organisations (NPOs). We have recently extended our focus to include projects that concentrate on improving access to online information such as Sabinet African Journals – through the supply of ICT equipment or services to community libraries in South Africa.
Boosting literacy:Reading and language acquisition are strong predictors of future academic success. Reading is also a powerful tool to address poverty and inequality. In 2017, an international study highlighted the poor literacy figures in South Africa. As a direct result, Government created the National Reading Coalition. In support of the coalition, Sabinet partnered with Biblionef in an effort to resolve South Africa’s literacy crisis. The partnership will support foundation phase teachers from ten primary schools in rural KwaZulu-Natal with crucial reading-for-meaning workshops and in-class mentorship sessions. Each school will receive a donation of new storybooks in the learner’s home language and in English.
Enterprise development: Untapped Culture was our enterprise development beneficiary for 2019/2020. Untapped Culture is South Africa’s first online creative platform that is designed to promote collaboration and networking within the creative industry.
Additional social investments include sponsoring of two learnerships that offer a one-year Business Practice NQF Level 1 programme. Both learners are disabled (one male and one female).