The 2013 Running Springboks help a little piece of Africa run better…
Three passionate and committed SAP employees
financed themselves and sacrificed their precious time to help make a
little piece of Africa run better…
Four of the twelve international SAP
employees who participated in the 2013 SAP Africa Social Sabbatical were
so inspired by the experience, they decided to return to Africa.
Shahzia Banth from California and Marcelo Teixeira from Detroit both volunteered at Enke to help improve their data-management process across the organisation last year and Hemang Desai
from Philadelphia, who made a great impact at the entrepreneurial hub,
Endeavour, were part of the ‘returning’ Running Springboks.
The fourth 2013 Social Sabbatical participant, Estaban Samartin
who volunteered his services at the CSESE last year, was unable to join
the Running Springboks due to a last minute change in plans.
Shahzia speaks with enthusiasm about the
opportunity, “CSR programmes like the Social Sabbatical don’t just
develop top talent employees, but as in our case, helped us realise our
passion to return and continue the good work on sabbatical last year.
Without the sabbatical, we would never have been exposed to
organisations like Young Heroes or the wider CSR activities SAP partake
“Africa is certainly a growth market for
SAP, but for us, it was a personal growth opportunity to help others and
enjoy ourselves whilst making an impact.”
Shahzia, Marcelo, Hemang and Estaban advised
the delighted Alex van der Ploeg, Corporate Social Responsibility,
Global Corporate Affairs, of their intention. Alex in turn contacted
Sunil Geness, Director Government Relations and CSR, GCA, who together
with Rashid Adams swiftly put the Running Springboks into motion.
The Running Springboks commenced their ‘return to Africa’ in Swaziland where they devoted their time and efforts to the Young Heroes of Swaziland.
The devastation of AIDS has created a
generation of orphans in Swaziland. Even though it’s one of the
smallest countries in Africa, Swaziland has the world’s highest rate of
HIV/AIDS infection. According to the 2012 HIV Incidence Measurement
Survey, 31% of adults ages 18 to 49 have HIV.
Nearly 125,000 Swazi children have lost at
least one parent to this devastating epidemic. The country’s orphans
struggle every day for the bare necessities of life and the number of
these young heroes is growing daily. Over 15,000 households in the
country are headed by children who are trying to raise their younger
siblings all by themselves.
The Running Springboks first port-of-call
was a homestead, Sphocosini NCP, where they arrived laden with food and
snacks and spent several hours engaging and playing with the children.
Before heading off to the Mdumezulu High
School the next day, the trio ran to the local hardware store to buy
paint and supplies for the one building they were advised required a
paint job. On their arrival at the school they discovered there were in
fact two buildings that needed to be attended to. Another run to the
hardware store and with the help from the Young Heroes and Mdumezulu
High School staff, the Running Springboks were able to paint both
buildings, inside and out, in a few hours!
Little did the enthusiastic Running
Springboks know what was in store for them on day three. They purchased
supplies before arriving at Malindze and then spent the morning
washing, peeling, chopping, braising, braaing and then serving a hearty
meal to 45 hungry children and 20 community workers…. Whew!
The children at Sigangeni were in for a
treat on the Running Springboks fourth and last day in Swaziland…
Marcelo was celebrating his birthday which meant everyone could
celebrate with him, and everyone enjoyed a fine spread of food… and of
course, a cake!
Following their adventures in Swaziland, the
energetic Running Springboks hit the bustling metropolis of
Johannesburg at one of the sanctuaries of Compass, a community
provisions and social services endeavour.
This small crèche in Edenvale is one of five safe havens for the children of homeless and abused women.
The Compass Crèche was in dire need of a ‘book corner’ for the children which the Running Springboks were quick to remedy.
They sprang into action, and in-between
playing with the children, they shopped for and assembled two book
shelves and transformed a very sparse and sad room into an interactive,
vibrant learning hub with books, posters, floor tiles, tables and
The Compass Group for Abused Women and
Children provides a safe and dignified home environment for abused
women, children and families.
With no state assistance, the Compass Group provides an astonishing variety of services:
- Counselling to abused, abandoned mothers and children in their care
- An unemployment upliftment programme which provides basic computer
skills, training in pre-school education, basic caregiving skills,
first-aid training and telephony skills
- Life Line for drug addicts, alcoholics, suicide and rape victims.
- Medical care
Shahzia, Marcelo and Hemang ended their trip
with a visit to Cape Town where they had the opportunity to welcome the
2014 Social Sabbatical – Team Protea.
How can you help?
The only thing those beautiful book shelves need that the Running Springboks built, is BOOKS!
The Compass Crèche has a VHS machine…that’s
right, a machine that plays video cassettes. So, if you are wondering
what to do with all those old VIDEO’S – please donate them too. Age appropriate for the children please.
For further information on Compass http://www.compass.org.za/index.html
For as little as US$30 per month, your
organisation, your class, your family or you alone can sponsor an orphan
or family through YoungHeroes.org.sz. Your support will help keep these
children’s families together and bring them the crucial food, clothing
and education they need.
Just as important, you’ll give them hope by letting them know that someone cares.
For further information on Young Heroes www.youngheroes.org.sz
Article originally posted by Gillian Lindsell