Blue Platinum – from Boots to Books
Our slogan at the Dreamfields Project is We Grow Dreams. And one partner in Johannesburg has been doing that in inspiring style.
The financial services company Blue Platinum first contributed to Dreamfields in February 2009, giving DreamBags to five primary schools in the Protea North area of Soweto. The boys were hugely motivated by this and one of those schools, Faranani, went on to win a 15-school Soweto DreamEvent later in the year.
Later in 2009, and again this year, Blue Platinum hosted their Protea DreamKids at a football day in Johannesburg. And then they decided to take their generosity in a new direction. Discussion about holiday season gifts for their clients and stakeholders got the leaders at Blue Platinum thinking.
“We keep buying people things like clocks for their desks which we never see displayed,” said Dale Gerrans, Blue Platinum’s Financial & Practice Manager. “And so we thought in lieu of gifts let’s contribute to the education of some of our soccer kids.
Blue Platinum asked the players in each of the teams to write an essay describing what they would do to make their community a better place. Based on the work they did, and on motivations written by their teachers, nine players earned themselves bursaries which cover their school fees, books and stationery and uniforms. The boys were taken to lunch where they were presented with new school bags for 2011.
Sports master AH Netshiongolwe from Putalushaka Primary School described his two bursary winners, Tshifiwa Mbengeni and Congress Mudau, as “the best players I have ever had in my school since 2003.” He said the bursaries would make an enormous difference: “Their parents are poor to such an extent that they get lunch boxes and uniforms from the school.”
Congress, in his essay, said he would like to “go to some houses where children do not go to school because of problems that the family have. I will go to those learners to make them like school and go to school every day”.
Dumisani Vundla from Itemogele Primary said he would “take children who are in crèche and go with them to visit Mandela’s home in Orlando, and visit the Hector Petersen museum and go to Soccer City Stadium”. And his team mate Rhulani Mhlongo said he would try to encourage the community to clean up the streets and recycle, and to “have their own gardens so that they do not wait for the government to provide for them”.
Godfrey Luvhengo at Mambo Primary said he would “buy my parents a better house so that they are safe and comfortable”. And like many of the children, he was concerned about children who could not afford to go to school. “I will take the poor children to the schools to get education which is the way to success.”
Billy Mashapa, his class mate said he wanted to become “a lawyer to help people in our community. And I will have two children, a boy and girl. They will be schooling at the same school where I was schooling and I will teach them about sharing in life.”
Lessons about sharing in life ... in that Blue Platinum has given Billy and the boys a wonderful role model.