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Volunteerism by C.E.O. Suzanne Edmunds

31 May, 2016
The Sharks

C.E.O. Suzanne Edmunds with The Sharks Academy

VOLUNTEERISM

I recently attended a very interesting and significant Corporate Social Responsibility seminar in Johannesburg. One of the items up for discussion was volunteerism – a very big and serious issue in CSR circles.
The discussion was insightful however, I was annoyed by one young woman, who couldn’t wait to join the discussion. In an extremely supercilious way she completely disparaged what she called “painting a classroom” as a volunteer activity, claiming that ‘volunteerism’ was more than that.
As you can imagine I have a major interest in this subject, after all this is what Project Build does so successfully. In fact those of you who follow us will know that our Mandela Day classroom painting event is a highlight of the CSI calendar here in Durban. That we are currently promoting the 2016 Mandela Day at Golden Steps School in Verulam for children with special needs.
I didn’t think it was appropriate at the seminar to go one on one with her, but I can’t get her voice and attitude out of my head.
When we take volunteers to paint a school we know that we have made a powerful difference.
The average Government school in rural areas is a dreary place. Brown exteriors, Grey interiors with almost nothing graphic on the walls. Imagine sitting day after day in that atmosphere whether you are a learner or an educator. But when Project Build and our volunteers are finished we know we have done something good. We can lift a whole school out of its greyness within 3 hours. The educators and learners love our being there and our volunteers spend three good satisfying hours.
I hope I meet this woman again somewhere or that she reads this blog and understands that classroom painting volunteers have a role to play in improving infrastructure conditions at schools.

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