Dr Ian Corbett, Chairman and Founder Trustee of Starting Chance was born into a Children’s Home in Newport, South Wales. Had two, amazing people not decided one day to give him a “Starting Chance” when he was a few months old, he might have suffered a similar fate to many thousands of impoverished, orphaned and vulnerable children that live in South African Townships.
In 2003, Dr Ian and Ali Corbett, working with a team from the US-based Creative Education Foundation, ran a creativity workshop for a group of teenagers about to graduate from a development programme being run by Paul Roos Academy in Stellenbosch, Cape Town.
One team of youngsters built a model called “The River to Success” using Lego Serious Play®. The model depicted the dangers and difficulties facing township teenagers, in South Africa, as they try to better their position in life. Many in the group aspired to go to university – one boy, who should have been there would never make it. He was shot dead the previous week by gangsters – hence the crocodile on the bridge spanning the “River to Success”. Every child in the townships around Cape Town who is aspiring to better themselves and climb out of poverty has to cross the bridge and get passed the crocodile, which is their metaphor for the gangs, drugs and other challenges inherent in impoverished townships.
The model, and the experience, is a testament to the harsh environment that is home for many of our children in South Africa. For Ian and Ali, it left an indelible mark. What they didn’t realize at the time was that this was God’s call to action.