In our day-to day-lives as busy (very busy!) people, we can totally forget that there is more to life than ourselves and our immediate family. Yes, they certainly take priority, but it’s also important to realise that we are part of a greater humanity.
We are one of a whole. And the way the world may finally “work” is when we work together. To help, to uplift, to care, to love. Not just our “own”, but also the “others” that we so often think of as people on the periphery. In fact, study after study has shown that when you move in and begin to engage with other people not only do you learn to love them and change your heart towards people who were once strangers, but you change too. The key is to get closer!
How to help all the hundreds of thousands is a critical question… and one we can quickly shy away from because the task just seems to overwhelming to contemplate, especially in South Africa where there is just so much need!
Speaking from my own experience I’ve found that choosing just one good cause to support is how I make it manageable.
As I am a mom of 2 young kids, I prefer to choose a cause that uplifts children and their education, because I can see just how privileged my own kids are in when it comes to their education. I also like to choose a charity to support that is local. In South Africa we don’t have to travel far to find the need, the needs are living 5km away from us (or even closer!).
My chosen charity to support is located in the heart of the privileged Southern Suburbs, where it’s doing amazing work just a few km’s from my home in the communities of Retreat, Westlake and Capricorn. These kids grow up surrounded by the same mountain range as my own kids yet, due to their circumstances of birth, are denied essential education such as critical literacy and numeracy skills.
The LifeMatters Foundation offers an Academic Portfolio to provide literacy and numeracy intervention to underperforming Grade 1, 2 and 3 learners to enable them to keep up with the academic curriculum. The Literacy Programme runs in four underprivileged schools and is based on the model designed by The Shine Centre. While the Numeracy Programme offers a foundation of number concept improves learners’ mathematical outcomes in future years. In addition they also offer a LifeSkills Portfolio that provides counselling, mentoring, camps and teenage awareness programmes to equip learners to face the challenges of their communities and work toward building their future. The ultimate vision of LifeMatters is to see all children reach their full potential and become active citizens in South Africa.
In an ideal world I would be signed up as a volunteer with LifeMatters to read to these kids for 1 hour a week, or spend an hour every second week mentoring a group of teen girls – and I would LOVE to do both, but as I’ve mentioned before life is busy and with my freelance schedule being so unpredictable I’m not always able to commit to a set time and day. (Contact them if you are!!)
This is where MySchool Card comes in…
One of South Africa’s most trusted and established community loyalty programmes, MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
Launched in 1997 as an entrepreneurial business with the aim of empowering consumers to make a difference to education, the programme has grown significantly and today raises more than R6 million a month for a wide range of schools, charities and conservation organisations and this is how I make sure I’m supporting LifeMatters Foundation even if I’m not able to give up my time. I’ve added them as the beneficiary of my MySchool Card and that way they receive a small, yet consistent percentage of my spend when using the card.
With over 1.2 million supporters and R500 million raised over 20 years the effectiveness of the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet fundraising programme is obvious.
Kids and education might not be your thing, maybe it’s animals, or the homeless, or the environment. There are so many charitable causes that you can get behind that truly speak to your own values that there isn’t really an excuse anymore NOT to have a MySchool card!!
The beautiful simplicity in the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet model is that anyone can sign up for free as supporters and can nominate up to three schools, charities or conservation causes as their beneficiaries. Every time they swipe their card at a point of purchase in a Woolworths store, or at another partner store, the participating retailer makes a contribution on their behalf, at no cost to them.
As this year MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet is celebrating their 20th anniversary they are giving back their supporters and communities with the #MySchool20 campaign that encourages supporters to not simply swipe for their favourite cause but to talk about them too which is exactly what I’m doing today!
Simply use the hashtag #MySchool20 on Facebook or Twitter and share which cause YOU support with your MySchool Card to stand a chance of being one of 20 lucky customers who can each win a R20 000 Woolworths gift card plus a R20 000 cash donation to their school or charity.
For more details or to sign up for your own MySchool Card visit www.myschool.co.za
Images: Supplied by The LifeMatters Foundation
Disclosure: 7. Thank you to My School for donating R5 000 on my behalf to my chosen charity, The LifeMatters Foundation.