Ford Launches Three Centenary Education Projects in South Africa to Benefit Youth of All Ages
100 Maths and Science Labs - Ford Fund - Ford SA and Gift of the Givers

Henry Ford’s vision was not just about building cars; it was about building communities and fostering values that would stand the test of time.

In honour of that vision and Ford Motor Company South Africa’s Centenary, Ford is launching three major youth education and empowerment projects totalling R85 million to benefit young people from toddlers to young adults.

In keeping with the 100th anniversary theme, Ford South Africa and the Ford Motor Company Fund, the company’s philanthropic arm, are building 100 early childhood development (ECD) centres; funding the transformation of shipping containers into 100 maths and science labs for primary schools; and awarding 100 scholarships to young adults in technical high schools and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges to promote learning in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

“As Ford celebrates its 100-year heritage with employees, dealers and communities, we aspire to give people in South Africa a bridge to the future and a promise of a better world,” said Mary Culler, president of the Ford Fund. “We are thrilled to launch these youth education projects that will have a positive and lasting impact by enriching the lives of thousands of students of all ages in South Africa for many years to come.”

100 Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres

Ford South Africa is partnering with the Nelson Mandela Foundation to build 100 early childhood development centres in disadvantaged areas to ensure that young children have a solid educational footing before starting in primary school. These ECD centres will replace existing nursery schools that are under-resourced, dilapidated and not compliant with the government’s health and safety requirements.

The funding from Ford will facilitate the construction of completely new buildings, comprising two classrooms, a kitchen, toilet facilities and a sick bay, which provide a safe, healthy and conducive learning environment for the children.

Furthermore, establishing formal ECD centres in selected areas that comply with regulations means parents and other beneficiaries can obtain financial support from the government, further enhancing the quality of foundational education in communities that need it most.

100 Maths and Science Labs

Ford South Africa and Ford Motor Company Fund are jointly funding an innovative project to transform 100 shipping containers into fully equipped maths and science laboratories for primary schools around the country.

Logistics company Maersk is donating 100 shipping containers that will be refurbished into fully functioning labs complete with all the necessary learning equipment. Gift of the Givers Foundation is the non-profit organisation selected to implement this project, continuing Ford’s long-standing relationship with this renowned NPO in bolstering education in impoverished areas of South Africa, and providing disaster relief to affected communities in the country and around the world.

The Department of Basic Education will provide the list of 100 schools in disadvantaged areas across South Africa to receive these labs. This initiative will make a significant contribution to the education of thousands of learners, fostering greater interest and addressing shortcomings in STEM education, which is vital in our modern, technology-driven world.

100 Scholarships

Progressing Ford’s educational empowerment program through to the senior school phase and beyond, Ford Fund will be awarding 100 scholarships to highly motivated young South Africans from impoverished communities who are enrolled in technical high schools as well as technical and vocational colleges.

The focus once again will be on STEM-related careers, including the mechatronics, autotronics, millwright and electrical trade fields. Once their studies are completed, scholarship recipients will have the opportunity to apply for apprenticeship programs at Ford. And, equipped with technical qualifications that are in high demand, students can enter the broader automotive and other industries based on their specific fields of interest, should they wish to do so.

Accordingly, whether it’s helping a toddler learn to count to 10, cultivating an eager teenager’s fascination with the limitless world of science, or empowering a young adult to become a successful and influential engineer that shapes the future of mobility, the three Ford CSR projects announced today focus on building a strong educational foundation for the next generation of pioneers, entrepreneurs and leaders.

“Creating a better world by improving the environment, being of service to the community and providing mobility for all is at the heart of who we are as a company,” Culler said.