A success story ready to unfold...or not... On our way to court Keron’s (aka Boetie) mother asked if I could speak to him to find out the reasons for him having recently dropped out of school. To paint the picture, both mom and sister were on their way to court for charges laid against them and Keron’s brother-in-law that lives with them is out of jail, but is on the run as there is a warrant for his arrest. These are the adults in his life and Boetie lives with them, all in one small room.
He is 13 years old and his mother was only slightly con-
cerned about him dropping out of school. Interestingly she didn’t ask me to talk him into going back to school, it seems that his behaviour was all too normal in their world. Casually she mentioned, “Oh and by the way, he hangs out at Madron’s place”, a known drug dealer on the streets. At LifeXchange, when we hear someone has dropped out of school, it is like an alarm that goes off in a fire station. A fire is raging somewhere and it could take lives! It means that, the young person will fill his time with mischief and boredom, hang out with other drop outs and within a short time enter the school of the street which has its graduate ceremonies as Pollsmoor, a high security prison. So down the pole I slid, into our LifeXchange fire engine and rushed to the scene to find a young boy that seemed so innocent, but the lack of eye communication and ’shamefulness’ tells another story. After a brief chat, I set up a hot chocolate meeting at a nearby coffee shop...he has never been in a coffee shop before. The next day he arrived wearing his best clothes…his church clothes. One could see he felt intimidated by the presence of the other people in the shop, the clients, the waiters, the foreign sounds and the yummy flake hot chocolate which he had never tasted before. “Boetie, what do you dream about, what do you want to do when you grow up?” was my question. “I want to be a lawyer” he said, “like Zander” (a coloured
actor on a SA
soapy). So I immediately phoned Christa, a lady that has served her time behind law books, and asked if she could have a chat with Keron who is interested in law. After they spoke Keron was beaming, “a real attorney spoke to me!” In their discussion it came out that the main reason for him not attending school was because he didn’t have school shoes, to which Christa responded, “I will sponsor you school shoes between now and grade 12.” A week later shoes (and chocolates) were bought, Keron is back in school...and this is normally where most NGO’s and government would say, “wow...and he lived happily ever after!” This is where we say: “the raging fire is under control, immediate threat detained...but he has tasted the ’freedom’ of the streets, running wild. He has very little support at home and has already hung out with the “big dogs” who offer ’friendship’. Boetie is at high risk and needs immediate intervention to prevent him turning into another statistic - but to intervene we need money. It costs LifeXchange R21180 per young person annually, and is broken down in the following way:
Activities R900 2x Adventure camps R1200 24x Activities R400 Tournament fees etc R2500 Total Support etworking R500 Networking R3500 Development cost R600 Counselling R1080 Volunteering R5680 Total
Mentoring R100 Recruitment R700 Training R400 Follow-up & evaluation R900 2x Adventure camps R200 Material & meeting R2300 Total Administration R1500 Transport R6000 Administration R8000 Total Safety & Special needs R2200 House of safety & LifeXchange facility R500 Special needs R2700 Total
Our challenge is to find 12 companies willing to sponsor R1830 per month -this means that every month we can place one young person at risk within the LifeXchange process. Since we are registered with SARS as a non profit, this money is tax deductable making it in actual fact less than R1830 a month. Latest research done by Jane Wood revealed that consumer-facing companies put more effort into CSR than business-tobusiness companies, suggesting that the general public is more swayed by corporate behaviour than business clients. It also showed that smaller companies most often do not have CSR strategies in place. Your challenge...either you work for a medium/small businesses or you have friends who do. Send them this email and tell them about LifeXchange. A tax deductable R1830 a month to really change a life, every month, forever… Take on the challenge and follow our progress every month!
Thanks to Ram Mountaineering for the R4000 a month they are already contributing towards this cause!