The first time I met our MD, Jennifer Janson, many things stood out to me – from the many hats she wears (business owner, author, speaker, mother), to her unorthodox business journey that has brought her to where she is today. However, the one thing I could not shake was a conversation we had around charities and giving back.
It was then I was initially introduced to Afrika Tikkun (AT) – a charity driving the development of youth in South Africa, ‘from cradle to career’. Jennifer spoke about the charity like it was her own business – ‘one day, I’m going to make a shedload of money and give them £50,000’ she said. And I genuinely believe her.
For me, and probably many other people, giving back to the communities to which I belong has always been a no-brainer. In secondary school, we took part in various initiatives - sponsored sleep-outs, fancy dress days and foodbank collections – all to raise money to meet a local need. But, what about the communities that you are not immediately a part of?
More and more, the notion of being a ‘global citizen’ is becoming ever-more important to people. You only need to glance at the worldwide reactions to recent happenings over the past few weeks to show that no matter where you are, if something awful happens, the whole world can stand up, pay attention and do something about it.
As catastrophic as recent events have been, as global citizens we must not forget that ‘everyday emergencies’ still occur and more importantly demand our attention. No access to clean water, starvation, disease, limited access to education or basic sanitation – these are all issues people across the world encounter on a daily basis and luckily, these are the types of issues AT looks to resolve.
Across all five of its programmes, AT currently reaches more than 17,000 beneficiaries. By consulting with community leaders, community-based organisations and residents, they first identify areas of critical need – anything from early childhood development to job readiness, and family support, food and nutrition. Then, it tailors the programmes to meet these needs, and train community members to deliver the programmes themselves, facilitating community ownership, acceptance and sustainability. In this way they transform not only the lives of children, but the whole community.
As a company, we have decided to give up all the cake (not really) and get behind this brilliant charity. We are participating in a triathlon this September at Dorney Lake. Our target is to raise £8,000. For a team of just 14, this is an enormous target – but we’ve never shied away from a challenge. This will go towards sponsoring a class of 35 students, the classroom and resources as well as their teacher and teaching assistant. That same week we will also have a few of the Afrika Tikkun kids come to our office for work experience. This was something we did last year and it was a fulfilling day for all involved.
So, there you have it - this is one of our big team targets for the year. The whole team is on board and already we are on the way to our goal! Charity does start at home, but it definitely doesn’t have to stop on your doorstep.
You can sponsor the team on our Just Giving page - every little bit helps. Thank you for your support and generosity and please - wish us luck… we need it!