Starting a non-profit organisation in the current economic climate in South Africa could be said to be a fool hardy endeavour. After all, there are already over 120 000 NPO’s registered and an estimate of 50 000 not registered in South Africa. Over 30 % had to close over the last few years due to lack of available funding. The country is in economic crisis mode, there is a pervading sense of despondency and many will argue that money donated to charities hardly ever gets to the real people in need.
This is a depressing scenario. But the events over the last few months for Starting Chance tell a different story. A story of joy, of hope, of wonder, of God’s grace and an amazing sense of community – both within Cape Town and far beyond our borders. People from every sector of life putting their hands up to say “We want to help!” I want to share this hope to encourage us to look up and out and to reach out to others in need. It constantly fascinates me how generous people are – generous with their time, their expertise, their money, their encouragement. Starting Chance supports early childhood development in shack schools in Mfuleni township near Cape Town. Children are dear to people’s hearts. So let me share some of this generosity. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
Yesterday we launched Starting Chance at a lunch event. 3 weeks ago we had no venue, no food, a hopeless brand, no social media to speak of, no brochures – you get the picture! OrtSACape offered us a venue – for free. Marianne Flint, a graphic designer, offered to help us re brand our Trust – for free. Food and wine were donated. Kirsty Hatt from KH Communications offered to do all our social media – for free. Impressions music came and played chilled music – for free. That’s not all. Christiaan Greyling, a long distance trail runner has given this week to sleeping in a hut with no electricity and running to and from work and all donations are coming to Starting Chance. The feel good “Run to create a better start for a better future” is spreading. We now have friends in Zimbabwe, New Zealand, USA, Sweden, Netherlands saying we want to run mini fundraisers for you to change the lives of these children. We have had companies offering to donate food, friends donating time, money, children donating puzzles and games. There is much more but for now we will stop there.
So what do our beneficiaries say – our teachers and principals in Mfuleni? “It’s a great honor to us and it is great! May God Bless you in your future ventures.” Sandra Lucas, Principal of Mfuleni ECD. “Ali – this is amazing for us – you are changing lives. Thank you for bringing the world to notice our children.” Victor, Emmanuel Educare.
From the trustees of Starting Chance, thank you to the many people who are involved, who are getting involved and who want to be involved. May God bless you all.