By Melanie Heyns
The Vodacom Foundation’s executive head of communication and marketing, Suzette van der Merwe spoke about the past year’s volunteers and summed up their achievements from the past 12 months. The ‘change the world’ programme was launched in South Africa in October 2010, and is currently running successfully across 20 other countries. Volunteers who are part of the programme get to work for a charity or non-profit organisation (NPO) of their choice for 12 months, with the work at no cost to the volunteer or their host organisation. In relieving the NPOs from the problem of paying the volunteers who have the passion to work for a good cause, the NPOs can get the most effective volunteers for their organisations.
It is through this programme that Vodacom tries to contribute towards skills development, creating an increase in the culture of volunteering. “The initiative aims to encourage the transfer of skills. Although NPOs rely heavily on cash donations, the lack of appropriate skills remains a problem. Thus, during their time at their host organisations, the volunteers will not only have the opportunity to make an immediate difference in people’s lives, but they will also be able to impart their knowledge, skills and experience, allowing the NPOs to benefit from them for many years to come.” said MthobiTyamzashe, Vodacom’s CSI executive director.
"The culture of volunteerism is important in this country and for an individual. It has enabled us to be part of something bigger than us. Volunteerism seeks no glory and I hope we will continue with this for years to come.” said Vodacom South Africa’s managing director, Sipho Maseko.
Avusa Media and Vodacom have partnered together for the initiative, and the Sunday Times will continue to run coverage on the ten volunteers and the work they will be doing in the months to come. Ray Hartley, editor of the Sunday Times, thanked the volunteers for all they had done over the past year and wished the next group of volunteers the best of luck in their efforts. “Our readers are hungry for these stories of hope. I hope we will do better this year and do more.”
The next round of volunteers are:
Nicole Joubert, Aloga Bay Care for the Aged – Joubert aims to improve the lives of the elderly by protecting their dignity, raising their standard of living and providing knowledge on health and nutrition. Nicole has 14 years’ experience in nutrition and 23 years in the health care sector.
Sindlile Rubushe, Association for People with Disabilities - Rubushe will bring his business development skills to the role of project co-ordinator at APD and aims to secure long-term funding and marketing opportunities for the organisation.
Nelia van Deventer, FAMSA – Van Deventer will bring her combination of passion for family and her business background to FAMSA, to manage and implement projects with the aim of empowering the community and showing the importance of strong family units.
Gerhard Greyling, Vrystaat Narsorgsentrum (Free State Residential Care Centre) – Greyling brings both his love for teaching and his enjoyment of working with his hands to impart his skills and knowledge to the mentally challenged.
Rachael Tembo, Jo’burg Child Welfare – Tembo hopes to make a significant impact at Jo’burg Child Welfare by conducting research which will improve the effectiveness of its projects and programmes. Tembo has a master’s degree in monitoring and evaluation.
Jackina Mello, Ndlovu Care Group – Mello has experience in the field of child protection and will be overseeing projects aimed at identifying child-headed homes and ensuring that their needs are met, as well as providing therapeutic services to the patients admitted to the organisation’s clinic for treatment.
Mpolokeng Kambule, New Beginnings – Kambule will ensure projects are managed at the best level to meet the needs of many of the abused, abandoned and neglected babies and toddlers which the organisation cares for. Kambule has qualifications in business administration and project management as well as experience in social work.
Sarah Barnes, The Smile Foundation – Barnes will provide therapy to children undergoing surgery and their families, as well as support to the staff and imparting knowledge on the help available for those with cleft lip paletes.
Linda Brash, TSiBA – Brash aims to use her extensive marketing skills to raise both awareness and funds for TSiBA, which will allow underprivileged youth to receive a tertiary education.
The air was filled with excitement and laugher as everyone had their own little joke or quirky line when they were called up on stage. Overall, the single sentence that summed up the vibe and the whole event perfectly for me was “Volunteers don’t necessarily have the time, but they do have the heart.”