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I need some money and medical help, can you… ? “, asks a young man in his thirties, stopping Thinus Schrage of PEN on the walkway as we were heading back from the Pennies Nursery School to the PEN office.

“You need to take left on the Bosman and go couple of blocks and turn right at Vermeulen. You will find the community center at the corner. Speak to the social counselor and she will help with whatever support you need at the moment” Thinus responds with beaming compassion. He adds, “the center could close in the next 30 minutes and hence please go faster.”

The young man looks at Thinus with a lot of surprise and skepticism. He then turns his back towards us and keeps walking against the directions provided by Thinus. We were watching all of it and left wondering why this young man did not respond to Thinus’s advice positively. I thought he missed an opportunity to be served and more importantly a chance to get the medical help he has been looking for.

Thinus on the other side kept walking and I thought this colleague of PEN truly walks the talk and believes the vision of PEN. So were the other colleagues of PEN whom we got to meet during the day one orientation session at PEN. We happen to be a live audience to see how they walk the talk in their everyday lives and reflect their organization’s vision and values in all walks. We are convinced of the reason behind the 20 successful years of legacy of what PEN continues to contribute to the community of inner city of Pretoria. It is nothing but the associates of PEN living the true values of its vision.

Day 1 has been more of an over-whelming and an awe-inspiring experience for a practical and more or less self-centered person like me to experience the “giving back to the community where we belong” in its true sense. This is not possible for PEN without the Vision of being relevant to the community of inner city Pretoria and its history. The colleagues at PEN truly walk the talk and I am sure the next four weeks at PEN is going to be a fulfilling experience.

“Do you guys want to join us for Tuesday Fellowship?” was a warm calling from the CEO of PEN, Marinda Van Niekerk. As we rose from our chairs to join her, we were sure we are going to have another lovely experience today while the story of “Vet Koek” waits in my next blog.

We (Suresh, Emily, Jan & I) are currently in the inner city of Pretoria working for a non-profit organization called PEN as a part of the SAP Social Sabbatical program initiated for High Potentials for the next four weeks.  We have been entrusted with an assignment of purpose, i.e. to support PEN’s Enterprise Development program “Tekanô” and assist in developing sustainable businesses by empowering budding entrepreneurs of CBD area.

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  1. Olena Demeter

    Hi Amar,

    when I was reading your blog I had a feeling that I am there with you working for the non-profit organization PEN and also trying to understand the man on the street, who needed help… I like your blog, thank you for sharing! I wish you, your team and the organization a lot of success in the next days and weeks and would be happy to hear more about the project!

    Best, Olena

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  2. Prashanth P M

    Hi Amar,

    Excellent first blog from a writing perspective 🙂 Also good to see that the first day has lived upto more than your expectations. Looking forward to your next blog as there will be a lot to be covered considering it has been a week spent already.

    Take care.

    Regards,

    Prashanth

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