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More than 200 Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) employees and their loved ones joined hands this past weekend to make a difference in the community of Gelvandale in Port Elizabeth.

In the spirit of Mandela Day, employees volunteered their time on Saturday 6 July to renovate the Dr Ambrose Cato George Skills Development Centre, as part of the annual Show of Hands initiative hosted by VWSA’s Community Trust.

The centre started with only 10 learners in August 2011 and has subsequently increased the number to 92 learners. The skills training on offer include motor mechanic, needle work, spray painting, sewing, woodwork and beadwork.

The volunteers were tasked with painting classroom doors and door frames, as well as exterior and interior walls and chalkboards. They also created murals and planted a water-wise garden at the centre.

In addition to refurbishing the centre, the volunteers also packed 20 000 meals which were donated to local charity organisations namely Arcadia Moravian Church, Salem Moravian Church, Jeanny’s Soup Kitchen, Outstretched Hand, Shode Outreach, Fishers of Men, St Vincent de Paul, Gelvan Frail Care Centre, Imfundo Educare and Baptist Church in Helenvale.

“The support and enthusiasm of our employees is truly humbling,” said Thomas Schaefer, Chairman and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa. “The Community Trust endeavours to promote youth development and community wellbeing, and it is inspiring to see how many members of the VWSA family share our commitment to making a difference in the lives around us.”