Beach cleaners benefit from Vodacom beach clean up campaign
The Vodacom Beach Clean Up campaign, a partnership between Vodacom and local municipalities, provides much needed jobs to previously unemployed people along the South African coastline. Since 15 December, 190 Vodacom Beach Clean Up campaign employees have been assisting municipalities to keep 22 of our busiest beaches as litter free as possible.
While holidaymakers have been able to enjoy cleaner and safer beaches due to the combined efforts of the municipal and Vodacom cleaners, very little is known about the people wearing the navy blue Vodacom uniforms that patrol the shore from 8am to 5pm daily removing discarded rubbish.
Ayanda Nyaka (21) is the supervisor of the Vodacom Beach Clean Up campaign crew working on South Beach in Durban. He is responsible for managing 10 cleaners, trouble-shooting any problems which arise and delivering the collected rubbish into the hands of the municipality. "Before I started working on the campaign I was doing part-time promotional work when I could get it. But this job is different, I really like it because we're doing something important" said Nyaka.
Lumka Mtolo (22), who works under Nyaka, is in her third year of studying social work through UNISA. Mtolo was in need of employment to pay for her studies and living expenses. "You know at first I wanted this job because I needed money, but it's become much more than that. I was shocked at how dirty the beach can get when it's busy; you don't really realise how much litter there is until you're the one cleaning it up!"
Mtolo added that "I find myself picking up rubbish even when I'm not on duty and my experience has made me think more about my future. If I could somehow combine social work and environmental conservation, it would be great". One of Vodacom's hopes is that people participating in campaigns such as the Vodacom Beach Clean Up will take the lessons they learn back to their communities.
Further up the Kwa-Zulu Natal north coast, Sbusiso Ntanzi (36) who was previously unemployed is the supervisor at Umdloti beach. "This job has been good, it was something I really needed and came at the right time before Christmas. It also feels nice to do this work because we get comments every day from people on the beach telling us we're doing a good job. It means a lot to hear these things".
Suraya Hamdulay, Executive Head of Vodacom Corporate Citizenship said "The Vodacom Beach Clean Up campaign has many positive spin-offs, environmentally we help to conserve our coast through litter reduction, and economically we help bolster the coastal economy during the festive season; as well as provide valuable employment to 190 individuals during a financially stressful time of the year".
Hamdulay added "in addition to just providing jobs, Vodacom hopes that all VBCU campaign staff will enjoy a sense of purpose in their work, and it is encouraging to hear that many of our workers are taking the message of litter prevention back to their families and communities".
The VBCU campaign is currently active on eight beaches in Kwa-Zulu Natal and in the Eastern Cape and six beaches in the Western Cape. Vodacom would like beach goers to spare a thought for the VBCU campaign cleaners who work full days in all weather conditions to keep the beaches clean and safe for the public's enjoyment.
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