I think for those of us who grew up in stable homes with both parents and all the necessities, it may be hard to imagine a life without those things - but for some kids it's a harsh reality that they face every day. Yet it was something I never really thought about… Until last December, that is.
While on our Durban city tour, there were two young kids in the same taxi as us. A brother and sister, around 5 and 7, all by themselves with the girl being the older one. She had an old, worn out backpack on her lap but clutched onto it like it was the only one she'd ever have. Perhaps her parents didn't have money just lying around to spend on a new bag along with everything else they need to pay for.
It got me thinking that there are so many more kids out there that aren't afforded the luxuries that others may have. It almost seemed unfair - that in many cases someone from a less fortunate background may not have the same chances or opportunities as someone from a more privileged one. Much like a flower cannot choose where it blooms, talent and potential lies in us all, and everyone deserves a chance.
This got me thinking EVEN MORE - specifically about natural talent that kids possess and also how mine got me to be where I am. Kids need to be creative, to draw, write, colour and paint. It's something all kids do at school, and if pursued further, it can open up all sorts of career paths for them. I thought about how I could help the less fortunate kids in this regard, and after some deliberation decided that perhaps providing them with stationery would be a good start. I began by googling stationery companies and requesting quotes. I budgeted for 200 pens, pencils, rulers, erasers, sharpeners, A4 and A5 exercise books, and crayons. Many wholesale stationers were reluctant to sell me the items at cost price as I was just an individual, but I found two, Statesman Stationers and Star Stationers, who were more than willing to assist me as it was for a good cause. Both companies were very generous, with Star Stationers giving me 48 page A4 exercise books for the price of 32 page ones, and Statesman Stationers supplying the pencils at a reduced cost as well as throwing in 12 educational posters completely for free! That was very kind of them.
Next I searched for childrens' homes and charity organisations and found The Domino Foundation in Durban North. I met with them and chatted about what I had planned and they were very keen to help. They are a very well established foundation providing a great deal to underprivileged kids including soup, porridge and sandwiches on a daily basis. Coincidentally they had recently been approached by Charles Hugo Primary School in Sydenham to help some of their less fortunate kids. This was the perfect opportunity for Domino to assist the school with my contribution. With the help of two friends, we packed all 200 stationery packs. At Domino, myself and two Donor Managers then headed off to Charles Hugo to present the school with the stationery as well as a whole lot of educational reading books provided by Domino themsleves.
At the school we met the principal, Mr. Witby, along with Mr. Ramballi, the teacher who had approached Domino. They're both very good and upstanding guys who do a lot for the school and children. #Respect. They called a few kids from one of the classes to take some photos with us. They were thrilled, excited and overwhelmed all at once. It was great seeing the expressions on their faces. This donation would be but a minute part of their lives, yet if it makes a difference to even one of the 200 kids, it'll be completely worth it. I was awarded a certificate and they also mentioned my contribution on their website.