Delta air lines Launches “Force for Global Good” with Habitat for Humanity in South Africa

Katlehong, South Africa, December 2006 – Tears were flowing in Katlehong, South Africa, at the dedication ceremonies of four houses that were built during last week. Team members from Habitat for Humanity and Delta Air Lines were emotional in their delivery of heartfelt thoughts and words of good luck for the inhabitants of the newly built houses. “I thought I was coming here to South Africa to give you something, but instead, you gave me something much more valuable – you taught me to appreciate everything I have,” said Delta employee, Tonette Eaves.

Delta Air Lines’ inaugural flight to South Africa arrived at the OR Tambo International Airport (formerly Johannesburg International) on Tuesday, Dec 5th, making them the first US airline with direct service to the country in 22 years. “As the first major US airline to operate a scheduled service between the United States and South Africa, it is a great pleasure to welcome Delta Air Lines to South Africa,” stated Moeketsi Mosola, Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism at the ribbon cutting ceremony for Delta’s maiden flight.

With the start of the new service between Johannesburg and Atlanta, the airline also announced a new initiative that relates to Delta’s commitment to charitable causes in South Africa and the global communities within which Delta customers and employees live and work. The program, entitled Delta’s “Force for Global Good”, will focus on uniting Delta employees and customers in support of charitable causes throughout the world.

The first partner for this program was Habitat for Humanity International, and Delta employees volunteered to build 4 houses in 3 days in Katlehong, a township community just outside Johannesburg.

“We are so proud to have you here in South Africa, contributing to the upliftment of our people” said Dr Felicia Suttle, President of South African Tourism in the US, who attended the dedication ceremonies in Katlehong. “The contribution you are making to our nation extends beyond the houses that were built here – it extends to the hearts of the people that you are touching with your true American spirit of volunteerism,” Suttle said. “Delta’s new service also opens up the US market for American travelers to South Africa. A new job is created for every 12 foreign visitors to our country, so tourism contributes greatly to the alleviation of poverty in South Africa.”

Iris Matshinoane, 64, whose shack burnt to the ground in 2004, received the keys to her new (and first ever) house in a poignant dedication ceremony. “When the bell rang with our need here in Katlehong, South Africa, you came all the way from Atlanta, America, to answer the call, and we are grateful to you!” she said, expressing her deep appreciation for all the team had done for her.

The Delta employees were adamant that they wanted to leave a gift for the community. They raised $2,000, which was matched by Delta, and a contribution of US$4,000 was presented to the community. This contribution will allow the Katlehong community to buy a brickmaker, with which they will be able to sustain future development and self-sufficiency by selling the bricks to other communities.

Joanne Smith, VP Consumer Marketing for Delta Air Lines, who traveled to SA on the inaugural flight to join the building in Katlehong, told the Delta team that they were “the charter members of the Delta Force for Global Good.” She continued – “You must go and spread the word. This is good for (Delta), it is good for Habitat for Humanity, and it is good for the world.”

Habitat for Humanity has been responsible for the construction of 17 houses in the Katlehong area in Gauteng, South Africa, this year. “But this is only the start”, says Peter Francis, Habitat for Humanity South Africa. The community gets involved too. There is a program called Sweat Equity, where members of the community must “put their sweat into the upliftment of the community before the community will put their sweat into uplifting you.” Several community members, still waiting for their own new houses, were involved in the building process this week.

Chris Clarke, Senior Vice President, Communications, Habitat for Humanity said “As long as there are volunteers, and funds, and people living in dire need, Habitat for Humanity will be there to help them.”

South African Tourism is the organization mandated with the international tourism marketing activities of the country. For travel and tourism information on this world-class destination, the ideal place for both business and leisure, contact South African Tourism at 500 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2040, New York, NY 10110; Tel: 212-730-2929; Fax: 212-764-1980; email newyork@southafrica.net or visit www.southafrica.net.

Delta Air Lines offers customers service to more destinations than any other global airline with Delta and Delta Connection carrier service to 290 destinations in 46 countries. With more than 50 new international routes added in the last year, Delta is America’s fastest growing international airline and a leader across the Atlantic with flights to 28 trans-Atlantic destinations.

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