The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent national lockdown may have turned peoples’ lives upside down, but it has also united people as they join forces to fight this health and humanitarian crisis.
At Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA), 85 employees from the Silverton Assembly Plant and its supplier companies have dedicated their efforts to assembling protective face shields for donation to frontline medical and essential services personnel, including doctors and nurses, as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are at the coalface of this global health crisis.
To date, almost 190 000 face shields have been produced and donated to hospitals, clinics and NGOs around the country, and delivered to the Department of Health’s central warehouse and distribution facility in Centurion. This has been possible through contributions totalling almost R3-million from FMCSA, Ford dealers, Absa Group and Ford’s suppliers and business partners. Ford is self-funding the cost of producing and packaging the face shields, and several suppliers are assisting with providing packaging materials and transport.
The team has tirelessly produced up to 13 000 face shields per day, and are exceptionally proud to have played a role in this far-reaching initiative.
“Not only am I a Ford employee, but I’m a proud one,” says Bruno Molatsane. “It gives me great pleasure to be part of this, seeing the company I work for aid our frontline fighters with the face shields we are making. This is the true definition of ‘heroes without capes’.”
“I am very proud to be part of such a great initiative,” comments Dineo Makgae. “The making of these face shields makes me feel like I am part of the solution.”
Jackson Tala says: “I’m very grateful to be part of the movement fighting COVID-19. It proves that we aren’t just employees at the Ford plant, but are active community members that determine our future, as well as that of our nation. So, let’s keep on sanitizing and maintain social distancing.”
“I’m very thankful to have this chance to help the fight against COVID-19,” states Mike Swarts. “We need to stand together as a nation to win this battle and make a difference in South Africa.”
Makgai Hlompho adds: “I am very proud to assist in this pandemic by creating the face shields to save lives. Let us keep social distancing for our safety as a nation.”
“This is a truly proud moment for me to be part of an initiative of this magnitude, lending a helping hand in curbing the scourge of the virus. Together we can do more,” says Mankweng Mamabolo.
Ford Production manager, Johann Botha, who has been one of the key people leading this project, comments: “It is a life-changing experience to be part of the FMCSA team of employees that learn together while taking on a challenge unknown to all of us.”
Feedback from recipients of face shields donations
Along with supporting the South African government’s drive to supply essential services personnel with PPE, Ford has also donated face shields to a number of hospitals, clinics and NGOs across the country.
“On behalf of the Board of Logwood Village and the residents and staff, I would like to express our sincere appreciation to Ford for responding so quickly and graciously to our request for protective face shields being made by your company. Obtaining the correct PPE when there is a national shortage is very difficult, and your generous donation is much appreciated. We also applaud Ford for taking the initiative and turning some of your production capability and capacity to assist the country’s health workers and contributing to the containment of the coronavirus.” Peter de Smidt, Logwood Village Board, Muldersdrift
“I would like to take this opportunity to show our appreciation towards Ford Motor Company for its generous donation of face shields to SAVF Huis Silversig. This is deeply appreciated and is an enormous gain for our staff and elderly residents during the COVID-19 epidemic.” Amónique Pretorius, Social Worker, SAVF Huis Silversig, Pretoria
“On behalf of the management and staff of Dora Nginza Hospital, we would like to thank Ford Motor Company for the donation of the face shields. It will go a long way in mitigating against the COVID-19 virus, and will also boost the morale of our staff who are worried and demotivated about this illness. They will see that they’re being cared for, and it’s all because of Ford Motor Company.” Mbuyiselo Tsibolane, CEO of Dora Nginza Hospital, Port Elizabeth.
“We appreciate our continued partnership with Ford in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro with our Ford Fund-supported water generation project for drought-stricken communities. Thank you for the donation of the face shields, which will support our COVID-19 response with our 13 programme areas in KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Limpopo, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Western Cape.” Ernest Fraser, Integrated Programs Director, World Vision South Africa
“Thank you to Ford Motor Company for the donation of the face shields. This gives a lot of confidence to the people dealing with COVID-19 and adds an extra layer of protection for them. It’s nice that people are coming on board to support the whole process from business and the community. The partnerships we are building are really special to us, and we really do appreciate all of this.” Dr John Black, Infectious Diseases Specialist at Livingstone Hospital, Port Elizabeth
“Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity for the SA Red Cross Society in Port Elizabeth to once again receive a donation from Ford Motor Company for the face shields. We really appreciate the support received.” Caroline Gallant, Provincial Manager, South African Red Cross Society
How can you help?
Donations to support the production and donation of face shields are welcomed from individuals and businesses. Any donations, big or small, will help protect our valued medical and essential services personnel and limit the spread of COVID-19 to those most at risk.
Ford has partnered with the Gift of the Givers Foundation, which has kindly provided the banking facility for all donations, which can be made as follows:
Account Name: Gift of the Givers
Institution: Standard Bank
Account number: 052137228
Branch Code: 057525
Deposit Reference: Ford
Any queries regarding making donations can be e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org, using the reference: Ford SA COVID-19.