Vodacom Change the World stimulates a culture of volunteerism in SA

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Today, Vodacom revealed 20 fascinating volunteers that will take part in the 2016 edition of Vodacom Change the World (VCtW), drawn from across South Africa’s nine provinces. These volunteers traded their jobs to plough back their skills in Non-Profit Organisations (NPO) for a year, to touch the lives of ordinary people and help bolster the good work NPO’s are doing in the country.

Change the World is part of Vodafone’s ‘World of Difference’ programme that is run in more than 19 countries across the globe. The initiative underscores the importance of partnerships between the private sector and NPOs in the pursuit of the common goal of building a better life for all. This is the 6th year that VCtW will be running in South Africa.

Maya Makanjee, Chief Officer Corporate Affairs at Vodacom explained that:

“We are proud of the work we’ve done in this country through the CtW programme to encourage and stimulate the culture of volunteerism. These 20 volunteers, including one Vodacom staff member have been selected from more than 5,000 entries. To show that we put our money where our mouth is, to date we’ve spent more than R35 million on project funds, salaries and grants to the NPOs.” This group will bring to a total of 82 volunteers who have been working at different charities across the country since 2010, delivering more than 100 projects. They are medical doctors, lawyers, marketers, social workers, psychologists and speech and occupational therapists. The work they will be doing for the next 12 months will impact people’s lives in areas such as Kliptown in Soweto, Khayelitsha in Cape Town, Mdantsane near East London, Upington, Hartswater, Hoedspruit and Sweetwaters, to mention a few.

 “The quality of candidates that this programme continues to attract shows that there are many South African professionals out-there who are yearning to invest their skills to transform local NPOs. VCtW was set out with this purpose in mind, for professionals to utilise their skills to reach-out to NPOs in order to turn them around so they can be sustainable and impactful,” Makanjee concluded.

Changing the world one person a time

Diepsloot – Before taking part in the Vodacom Change the World (CTW) volunteer programme, Thuli Mthethwa, from Diepsloot was a victim of crime but today her life has made a dramatic turnaround.

Mthethwa, the CEO of Memeza Shout Crime Prevention, is one of the 20 volunteers who were part of last year’s CTW.

Each year, Vodacom selects around 20 volunteers to work for a non-profit organisation (NPO) of their choice for 12 months. Vodacom provides funding to help volunteers with training, content and equipment of their projects. It also provides laptops and phones for the volunteers to help implement the programme.

For Mthethwa, the programme has made a huge change in her community through Memeza, which aims to ensure that the vulnerable have access to improved safety.

“Through Vodacom’s assistance, last year we were able to [install] 600 home alarm systems and distributed 2 000 personal alarm systems in the community,” said Mthethwa.

The alarm systems can be pressed in times of crisis. They can also send a silent panic signal in the form of a short message to the local police, community policing forum, street committees and neighbours.

“Before the Vodacom programme, I was a victim of crime and hurt but today I’m a changed person and feel safe in my community. Thanks to Vodacom for giving us the strength to go and do something for our communities,” said Mthethwa.

On Tuesday, Vodacom welcomed 20 CTW volunteers for 2016/17 at an event held at Diepsloot Youth Centre.

The Chief Officer of Vodacom Corporate Affairs and Chairperson of the Vodacom Foundation, Maya Makanjee, said through the CTW, Vodacom is using technology to make a difference in small communities.

Social Development Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu thanked the volunteers for the work they have done in their communities. She said by participating in the programme, they have started to write their own legacy.

“Our greatness will be determined by the lives we’ve managed to touch, not by the zeros in our bank accounts. Save the world, honour it well and appreciate the communities you have an honour to interact with because they are the ones who will determine your greatness,” Deputy Minister Bogopane-Zulu told the volunteers.

New volunteer Angelina Smith, from the Knysna Education Trust in Western Cape, said she would set up a training college for pre-school teachers in Knysna, where they will do level four and five courses, as required by the Social Development Department.

“After 12 months, I would like to see accredited level four and five teachers that feel that they have accredited training and graduated from the course that I have presented …” said Smith. – SAnews.gov.za

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