The strength of partnership: Sage VIP, Schools of HOPE, James 1:27 Trust and Zama Zama

Published on 29 July 2016

Sage Foundation as hands and feet in a local community.

Friday 22 July was a different kind of day for the informal settlement of Zama Zama west of Pretoria. Thirty-eight employees of Sage VIP visited the community together with staff and volunteers from the Trust and Schools of HOPE. Alida Fourie, the founder of the Schools of HOPE, started a simple initiative in Zama Zama two years ago, taking a group of medical professionals to play with the children in the dust. Today the school has transformed into a crèche with a jungle gym as well as three full-time staff members, daily meals for 50 children, running water and a vegetable garden.

The morning began with much excitement as Sage offloaded a car shell at the crèche for the children to play with. It did not take long for the children to crowd into the empty shell, jumping on the seats and spinning the steering wheel. Before the hard work started, everyone gathered to listen to a few words about Zama Zama. Tsailou Lin, the marketing officer of the Trust, challenged all the staff and volunteers to “leave the ‘busyness’ of everyday life and just be present to give, love and serve.” After this challenge Robert Botha, the CEO of the Trust, shared an inspiring story about his personal experience with Nelson Mandela while serving as a diplomat. He concluded that Mr. Mandela was a man who honored the real VIPs within society: the unnoticed and uncelebrated who we often pass over.

This was a day to recongnise and honor the VIPs living in Zama Zama. The Sage employees and Trust volunteers and staff divided into groups for activities, including sports, crafts and painting with the children, while one of the groups made delicious food for 85 children and 50 adults. Another big project was to pave and carpet a shack where Adelaide lives with her toddler and triplets. As the group left Adelaide said, “Every day I know that God looks down and says, ‘go check if Adelaide is fine.’”

The Trust wants to help partner organisations improve the quality and reach of care to orphans, vulnerable children and youth, and a day such as 22 July highlights the importance and gift of partnership to achieve greater transformation within society. It was inspiring to see employees of Sage VIP taking hands with the volunteers already working in Zama Zama and also give of their time, skills and resources to help improve the lives of the people living in the community. Sage Foundation also wants to continue their partnership within the community as part of their vision and commitment to sustainable change and transformation within the lives of people in local communities around the world.

We are grateful for everyone who was involved. Thank you Sage Foundation! Thank you for organising the day so thoughtfully and purposefully. We were blessed by your presence, commitment, hard work, and positive attitudes. You were God’s hands and feet and we are excited about future collaboration as we partner and journey together.