Drought has tightened its iron grip on communities living in the historic city of Ladysmith in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa, 230 km north-west of Durban. It is a daily battle for survival for residents whose lives have been in turmoil since the drought began in 2015, more-so for the community of Tholeni who appears to have borne the brunt of Nature’s fury in the region.

In May 2019, spurred by its commitment to socio-economic upliftment at a micro-level and heeding the local government’s call for greater corporate crisis intervention strategies, the KZN-based Astron Energy brand marketer, All Fuels, rallied to assistance of children at the Siphendukile Primary School in Tholeni. The chronic lack of water has been impacting on the little ones’ ability to effectively learn, resulting in wider social and economic ramifications for the parched region. All Fuels donated 250 five-litre bottles of water to the school, bringing relief and restoring hope for hundreds of children.

“All Fuels is determined to continue making impactful changes to previously-marginalised communities within KwaZulu-Natal,” explains CEO, Zeyd Timol. “The provision of bottled water has ensured that the children at Siphendukile Primary will, for a while, have access to fresh, clean drinking water. The situation in Ladysmith is critical. Ageing water infrastructure and dry boreholes exacerbate the crisis, and the economic impact is alarming. Businesses are unable to operate, families are struggling to survive, and life is unbearably difficult for children who are trying to get an education. We take corporate social responsibility seriously and we are currently looking at a sustainable long-term water solution for families at Tholeni.”

This involves plans to install a borehole on the grounds of the school that would service hundreds of families living nearby. Groundwork and research are already underway, and the project is scheduled to be complete in October/November 2019.

This would be the second borehole that All Fuels has funded as a response to the drought in KZN. In February this year, the All Fuels team was joined by a high-powered government delegation at Ngunjini in Vryheid in the Zululand District Municipality, for the official unveiling of a newly-installed solar-powered borehole – a life-saving initiative for more than 300 families brought to their knees by a protracted drought.

As prep work gets underway on the other side of KZN at Tholeni in Ladysmith, Timol and his team received a heartfelt letter to from Zithulele Majola, the principal of Siphendukile Primary School, who thanked All Fuels for the 1 250 litres of bottles water, emphasising that the impact is measurable. “We are thanking All Fuels and your team for being so considerate. We are so much disadvantaged though our children are much more engaged in education. Please find attached photos that will attest to the happiness your company brought to our learners and community.”