IOT helps disaster-stricken employees


11-April-2013

The employees who received cheques in a souvenir photograph with IOT management staff

IOT’s general manager Joram Madnack said the donation was part of the company’s ongoing efforts towards corporate social responsibility.

“After the disaster, a group of people from the IOT went to clean the area – they cleaned the drains and rivers and within two to three days, they had succeeded in removing 20 tonnes of debris from the place, so this was one of the most immediate actions that were taken by us to help with the disaster relief efforts.”

Mr Madnack mentioned that two weeks earlier, a cheque worth €10,000 (R150,000) had been presented to the National Disaster Relief Fund by the IOT, but said the company had realised that aside from donating to government efforts at a national level, the IOT had a moral and social obligation towards their own employees who had been affected.

“And we will not stop here; all the people here who have been affected will be given the opportunity to take interest-free loans. This will enable them to buy new things to replace those items that were lost or to do some modifications to their houses.”

After the cheques, ranging in value from R300 to R10,000, were handed over to the recipients by the work council, IOT’s human resources manager Helda Port-Louis said she hoped the symbolic gesture would go some way towards rebuilding what the employees had lost.

“Although this is not the first donation that we have made, we feel that as a responsible employer we need to give back to our employees,” Ms Port-Louis said, addressing the group of recipients.
“Of course, things that were of sentimental value can never be replaced, but we hope you will be able to start rebuilding what you have lost.”

One of the recipients, 55-year-old Marie-France Servina from Cayole Estate, Anse Aux Pins, needed to be evacuated from her home for four days and nights when a high terrace collapsed onto her home, damaging her bedroom and veranda. She says the cheque from her employer will help her to buy a new bed, as she had been sleeping on the floor since the disaster.

“The walls, windows and roof were all damaged,” she said. “My bed had to be thrown away and my television and DVD player did not work again after the impact of the landslide. My carpet, my Bible and all the clothes in my wardrobe were destroyed.”

Ms Servina said she was worried about the terrace collapsing again in the future.
“The government has said they will give us a loan to build a retaining wall to support the terrace, but my husband is a pensioner and I only have a few years left before I go on pension myself,” she explained.

“How can someone who is on pension pay back a loan? I cannot pay it back in five years.”

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