Bridgestone South Africa

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Jul 06, 2009

Bridgestone South Africa has become the first company to sponsor a green house tunnel at the Bloemendal community hydroponics project between Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage.

Bloemendal is a disadvantaged coloured community that has been using ploughed land to grow vegetables for its own consumption. The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality set up the Bloemendal Hydroponics Project in mid-November 2008 with a donation of land and four green house tunnels. Since November 2008 the project has been managed by black empowerment company Engoza.

"The Bloemendal Hydroponics Project is an innovative social upliftment initiative by the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality aimed at assisting the local community to grow vegetables for both their own consumption and for sale," said Paul Engler, project manager.

"Our vision is to mentor the disadvantaged beneficiaries of this project, transfer the skills needed for them to become self-sufficient and move away from a welfare environment. In this way we are able to enhance their lives and assist them to create a sustainable business using the hydroponic tunnels to provide a source of income.

"Currently we have two tunnels up and running," added Engler. "Although the Bloemendal community has received assistance from the municipality, the project needs the support of local companies to grow and prosper. Bridgestone South Africa's decision to sponsor the first tunnel is a major step forward for us in achieving the project's objectives."

Officially opening the Bridgestone tunnel at a ceremony at Bloemendal on Wednesday (July 8), Romano Daniels, Bridgestone South Africa's general manager of group marketing and communications, commented:

"The Bloemendal Hydroponics Project is our first community benefit activity under the umbrella of Bridgestone's global One Team, One Planet initiative. We are very pleased to be able to assist with this important community project in Port Elizabeth, where the first Firestone tyre manufacturing facility in South Africa was established in 1936.

"We hope that by the time we celebrate our 75th anniversary in 2011, this project will be an inspiration to other disadvantaged communities and pave the way to a broader base of sustainable small businesses among these communities built on skills transfer and the financial support of the business community."

For further information on the Bloemendal Hydroponics Project, contact Paul Engler at or telephone 041 581 5107.

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Bridgestone South Africa

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