Combating COVID-19 Through Corporate Social Responsibility

As the coronavirus continues to sweep across the world, vulnerable communities are hit the hardest. While the virus does not discriminate, the rapid spread of the virus has exacerbated ongoing societal issues such as poverty and inequality. In the face of broken families, community upheaval, lives lost and economic instability, companies are rising to the challenge to help combat the effects of the pandemic to protect and support our nation’s most vulnerable. 

 This global crisis has tested companies' commitment to their communities, and the philanthropic cornerstones of organisational culture must be converted into decisive and concise steps to make a difference. The common social good depends on not only the desire to enact lasting upliftment, but also to align to a global mandate of action and advocacy. 

It is through this ideal of ubuntu that Xiaomi and their official distribution partner Mobile in Africa have joined forces with voluntary organisations such as The Angel Network, Vula Amehlo and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to supply masks to communities in need. As a global technology leader with a firm foundation of customer-centricity and community engagement, Xiaomi recognised their responsibility to support those suffering in this humanitarian crisis, and efforts in South Africa have been tailored to match this international pledge.

In Gauteng, Xiaomi distributed masks to Banakekeleni Orphanage in Marlboro, Thuthuzela Orphanage in Kelvin, Phronesis ECD in Kya Sands, Hearts of Hope Orphanage in Wendywood, Vuka Skhokho in Alexandra and three schools in Soweto through Loving classroom. Masks were also handed over to Baragwanath Hospital’s Perinatal HIV Research Unit, Pro Labore Dei in Alexandra and informal settlements in Sebokeng, Orange Farm, Boksburg, Berea, Yeoville, Hillbrow and Bridgetown. Masks were donated to the most vulnerable communities in Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal, such as the farmer co-operatives, to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Neil Martinson, Chief Executive Director of the Perinatal HIV Research Unit (PHRU) said, “PHRU thanks Xiaomi SA for the generous donation of the clinical grade face masks to prevent both COVID and TB. The PHRU has already started distributing them to frontline clinical staff in the public sector hospitals that we partner with. The masks are an essential part of protecting health workers in close contact with severely ill patients with COVID.

Our public sector partner hospitals are Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Botshabelo Hospital in the Free State and Klerksdorp/Tshepong Hospital Complex in North West Province. 

Although PHRU is a clinical research unit focussing on TB and HIV research, we have more recently started to conduct several research studies to better understand COVID infection". 

The onus is on businesses to aid government in moving the needle during this pandemic through grass-roots initiatives that prioritise the health and wellness of the vulnerable. This crisis is a catalyst for companies to make good on their commitment to social responsibility through unified action.