Using personal networks can be a powerful catalyst for transformation when the object is to benefit communities. The Hermanus Varsity Trust (HVT), whose goal it is to transform local communities through education, has become the beneficiary of a collaboration that materialised through just such a network. Because of this collaboration, HVT is getting refurbished laptop computers that will benefit its students and, ultimately, their communities.

Rev Edwin Arrison (chair of HVT Exco), Amanda Mahlanyana (HVT student coordinator), Charmaine Beukes (White Shark Projects), Nombasa Mahlanyana (HVT admin assistant) and Theo Krynauw (HVT Exco and Sparklekids) with the refurbished laptops supplied by global NPO, Labdoo.

One partner in this collaboration is Charmaine Beukes, the managing director of White Shark Projects. Based in Gansbaai, White Shark Projects is committed not only to research, conservation and ecotourism, but to supporting and developing the local community. Adopting socially responsible business practices, they provide employment opportunities for local Masekhane residents while also encouraging the youth to care for the environment through ongoing educational and recycling initiatives.

Another partner is Ajimba African Tours, based in Bremen, Germany, the motto of which is ‘travel with social and ecological added value’. Ajimba affiliates with businesses that are active in their local communities. Frank Wardenberg, an Ajimba partner, is an ardent supporter of educational projects and, for many years, has supported global NPO Labdoo by identifying worthy recipients of their computer donations. Labdoo, the third partner in this collaboration, comprises a collaborative humanitarian social network which is designed to help bring laptops and educational devices to schools in need without incurring any economic or environmental costs.

Labdoo volunteers sanitise previously-owned laptops and load them with educational software, but this NPO’s resourcefulness extends to avoiding environmental impact and additional costs when supplying its refurbished laptops. This is achieved by asking clients of Ajimba who are travelling on holiday to South Africa to take the laptops with them.

The HVT became a recipient of Labdoo’s computers when Frank contacted Charmaine, who contacted Theo Krynauw of Sparklekids, who then contacted the Trust, with which he is intimately involved. This is transformative networking at its best!

The first two laptops were recently handed over to the HVT, and there are more in Germany, waiting for Ajimba clients to bring them here. Charmaine has asked anyone travelling to or from Germany in the near future to please contact Frank at about bringing laptops with them. HVT is most grateful to Frank for creating the network that has made the whole process possible. “Hermanus Varsity is honoured to be collaborating with socially- and environmentally-conscious businesses whose philosophy so closely aligns with ours,” said Theo.

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