Category Page: Navigating a better future

February Blog: Where We Are

I want to start this blog with 2 massive thank you’s. I want to thank my godmother, Christine McCarthy and her daughter Hannah who ran the Brighton Half Marathon and raised over R10,000. That’s a huge amount of money that’s going to go a long way. It means the world to have family and friends who not only support us with words of support but also help us raise money to continue our work here. They would like their donation to go towards sports equipment and I can’t wait to show them what we will buy with their money!!

Another huge thank you goes to Erik Fladager who raised over $1,000 USD! Erik would like that money to go towards scholarships for the children’s high school education and this is exactly where it will go.

Thank you so much to you all for undertaking those tough challenges to help raise money for the children in Lavender Hill!

Now for an update.

Our teacher, Lara, started on Feb 1, and has been doing a great job so far. We are using the money raised for the Cape Town Marathon to help pay her wages. She is currently doing leadership courses with children in grades 4-7. However, it is her work on the Grade 7’s High School applications that I am most impressed with. It will also have a huge impact.

If you grow up in a township, you go to a township primary school, you then go to township high school and after that, the cycle continues. You stay in the township, it doesn’t matter how intelligent you are. We want to get as many of these children out of Lavender Hill as possible. 

TCT is helping students with their high school applications to schools outside of Lavender Hill. Those who are accepted will then be able to apply for a TCT scholarship for their chosen high school.

Without the money, and application help that TCT is providing, these children who have the potential to do so much will inevitably end up in the same cycle. We are enabling those children who wish to change their lives and get out of Lavender Hill, the opportunity to do so. But we need help financially so that we can help as many children as possible get out. 

High school is vitally important for these children. If they are accepted to a better-resourced high school, they will then have the opportunity to apply for university, or at least find a higher paid job than those who are stuck in the township cycle. Education is key. 

TCT will run out of money in July so any money raised will help us fund scholarships for the next academic year which starts January 2017. We have time to raise money to help those who want a better future. We are currently helping students with their applications for 4 schools. Zwaanswyk Academy, South Peninsula, Cape Academy of Maths and Science and Muizenberg High School. ZW and SP both close of March 11, Cape Academy is open for a while and Muizenberg applications open on March 11. 

We are doing all we can to get them into better high schools, but after that, if they are accepted, we will need all the help we can get to help fund these childrens dreams. 

The scholarships will be provided for their whole high school career, conditional on their grades. 

Township high school fees are around 100USD per year. We are trying to get the children into schools costing anywhere from 500-1,000USD per year. 

As for the sports, we have done an athletics unit so far this term and we are now currently doing Softball! It’s as fun as ever!!!

Our Social Media has been very focused on a negative aspect of Lavender Hill, gangsterism, in the last month. In March we will be back focusing on all the positives of working in such a vibrant community.

On a personal note, my parents came to visit for the last week of February and got to visit the school and see what we are up to. In March, I will also have a visit from my sister which I can’t wait for!

Always good and love to all,

Matt

January Blog: Gangs Must Fall

When I was 9, my biggest problem was fitting into my new school in Copenhagen International School, after moving for the first time. At 12, it was moving again to the American School of the Hague. At 14, I was worrying about not having any facial hair while my friends were starting to grow full beards…

In late November, there were shootings on 5 consecutive days, 50 metres from where the children of Levana Primary School are educated. In December, an 18 year old man was shot and killed 5 minutes after school started, directly in front of Levana.

In a community 10 minutes down the road, Grassy Park, a 10 year old child was shot and killed in gang crossfire.

http://ewn.co.za/2016/01/28/Community-devastated-after-boy-10-killed-in-gang-crossfire

On Thursday, January 28, 2016, Levana Primary School participated in a protest. It was a protest set up by the local community to take a stand about the gang violence in the area.

There were children from 9-14 holding up signs pleading “Please Don’t Kill Our People”, “Make Peace Plz”, “Give Our Place Back”, “We Want Peace, Stop The Shooting”.

The school is directly opposite a housing estate where a local gang resides, where many shooting occur. It was quite an image to see these children hold up their signs in the direction of this housing estate, with many people stopping to see what was going on.

Young children are being forced to plead with gangsters to stop the violence. Where is this being publicised in the national media? Let alone the international media…

While the media feeds us the latest comments of Donald Trump, the latest ISIS plot and what Kim Kardashian is wearing, there are people dying everyday due to gang violence. And that is just in South Africa.

These gangs and gangsters are nothing to be afraid of. They are too preoccupied with their own petty feuds. They aren’t criminal masterminds, these are people who have grown up in poverty, without the hope of a better life. People who felt their best option was to join a gang.

Education is the most crucial way to give these children hope. Hope that there is a way out of Lavender Hill. Hope that they can earn enough income to survive. To help their families survive.

I hope our leadership and sports programs give at least 1 child the hope that they need to get out of Lavender Hill. Maybe not even to get out of Lavender Hill…maybe to become a role model within the community to help others strive to take a better path than those mapped out for them.

On February 1, The Compass Trust will have both a sports development and leadership program in Lavender Hill.

I look forward to sharing updates on how our programs are progressing in February.

Please take a look at the “Our Finances” page on our website for all our transactions up until January.

If you want any more information, please get in touch.

Always good and love to all.

Matt

 

December Blog – Happy New Year!

First of all…Happy New Year!

I hope you had a great 2015 and will have a fantastic 2016.

From a personal point of view, 2015 was a life-changer for me. In February, the idea for The Compass Trust was created. 10 Months later, we are in South Africa, working with a school, providing leadership and sports coaching, as well as providing sports equipment.

As a celebration of this year, please take a look at the video we created 🙂

December has been a slow month. School finished for us in late November and does not return until January 13.

Lluis (Board Member) came out for an impromptu 10-day trip, which allowed some good time to relax. I have also recently moved from my apartment into a local backpackers to save some money as it’s starting to run a little short!

Although my bank balance may not be too healthy, The Compass Trust is looking strong. We are employing a teacher who will begin in February to provide Leadership Development classes.

Over the coming weeks, I will be working on the Physical Education curriculum and the plan for the PT side of things when I leave in June 2016. We have also been getting all our admin and forms in order so that our organisation can obtain PBO tax-exemption status within South Africa.

The new school year starts on January 13, and in the following weeks we will be choosing 5 students from each class in Grades 4-7 to undertake our leadership program beginning in February. We will also continue to look for funding.

I hope you all have a great New Year and send you my best wishes and love from South Africa.

Always good and love to all.

Matt

November Blog: Part 2 – A Change of Direction

It wasn’t only the shootings during November that changed the direction of The Compass Trust. It was also a very simple practical reason.

TCT was previously looking to be funded through paying volunteers, however, after our experience on the ground and careful consideration, we do not think that this is the most effective way forward.

TCT is in its infancy. To take paying volunteers at this stage would require us to incur high initial costs that would detract from the potential impact that we believe we can make.

To put our focus on renting a house, buying furniture, volunteer catering, signing lease documents etc, would create too much of a diversion for TCT. The Compass Trust should be focused on making a impactful program that is going to most benefit Levana Primary, not the volunteers.

The money that we would have spent on volunteers and their needs would be much better spent on sports equipment, teaching aids and the wages of two teachers to carry on the work of TCT. Volunteers come and go, however, TCT needs to make sure we are always present, making a sustainable impact.

We are not ruling out taking volunteers, however, suitable qualified applicants must be self-supporting.

For this reason, we are looking for donations and external funding.

To create a sustainable program, we need to fund a salary for two teachers (one for sports, one for teaching) as well as to have the funds to replace sports equipment if/when necessary.

We estimate the costs of the Leadership Development Teacher (LDT) salary to be R120,000 per annum. The costs of the Sports Development Coach (SDC) are estimated to be R85,000 per annum.

To provide updated materials and sports equipment we estimate that TCT would need R30,000-40,000 per annum.

We estimate that for TCT to provide the assistance to make a difference to Levana Primary and the Lavender Hill community the total costs of keeping the program open will be no more than 250,000 Rand per annum.

This is a total of £11,500/$17,500 USD/€16,000 per annum.
***Exchange rate November 19, 2015

If you know any individuals, companies or groups that would be able to help us raise this amount, please get in touch as soon as possible. We need your help.

Always good and love to all,

Matt

November Blog: Part 1 – Shootings in Lavender Hill

On Monday the 9th of November, The Compass Trust went into Levana Primary as normal. I went to set up the cones and equipment for the first of 4 PE classes scheduled for that day.

At 08:00, I took my first class of Grade 4’s. None older than 11 years old.

As the end of class approached, I looked out onto the streets of Lavender Hill and all seemed very quiet. Nothing too unusual for a Monday morning. However, this wasn’t a usual Monday.

2 men were wondering the street, donned with caps, hoodies and backpacks, crouching and looking around as if looking for something, or someone. Suddenly, out of nowhere a white car appeared and drove passed the school. The sounds of the doors opening and then being slammed shut were audible as the car disappeared behind the school building.

I started to walk the children back to class. As they were lined up ready to enter their classroom…Pop…pop…pop. Pop, pop, pop pop. I looked around me, the children and the teachers knew exactly what that noise was. Gunshots.

Children started running, around corners, in their classrooms, behind walls. Teachers were beckoning everyone to get inside. There was the odd scream here and there.

The same thing happened on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, at nearly the same time, as though it was scheduled.

After each shooting, PE was cancelled for the day to ensure the safety of the students.

Each morning I took out my first class, only to be greeted with gunshots at the end of the period.

Each day, teachers would look at me with a look of resignation. Not fear. Not scared. Resigned. As if to say, “Not again…” Resigned to the fact that this is the community they live and teach in. Their look was almost apologetic. “I’m sorry about this Matthew”. As though they felt it was their responsibility. Nothing could be further from the truth.

These teachers are heroes. And so are the students.

Lavender Hill is a notoriously dangerous township. Members of one of the gangs are located in housing estates across from the school. Yet each morning, teachers and students alike walk or drive past this estate to get to the school gates.

Many groups and organizations seem to avoid places like Lavender Hill. It is a dangerous area. But these are the areas that need help the most.

Director of Education, Devyn, sat me down on one of the evenings that week with a document prepared outlining the risks of TCT working in Lavender Hill. Not only risks to The Compass Trust but also to our lives and the lives of our volunteers. The message was clear, ‘If we continue to work in Lavender Hill, we can say goodbye to our volunteer program…Not many people will want to volunteer in an area as dangerous as Lavender Hill.’

To a certain extent, she’s right.

But, what next? Do we leave? Find another school that also needs assistance? If we wanted to create the next big volunteer organisation, then that would be the answer.

However, that was never the goal. There are already volunteer organisations in the area. We don’t want to copy them, we want to offer something unique, an effective, sustainable program that will enhance the lives of the children and community.

Our goal is to make the biggest impact possible, to make the biggest difference. By continuing our commitment to Levana Primary and to the Lavender Hill community, I believe we are making a statement. We are not scared to help those in need.

We have now changed our direction.

Always good and love to all,

Matt

October Blog: Come and Join Us!

Finally, The Compass Trust officially started it’s P.E. classes in Levana Primary!

We have started nice and easy with a soccer unit, learning the basics of dribbling, passing and shooting. At the end of each class we play a quick scrimmage and then allow the children 10-15 minutes of free time to choose a sport they want to play.

We are working with the Grades 4-7, and there are 4 classes in each grade, so throughout the week we work with around 4-500 different children.

We have also started our after school soccer team. We have been conducting trials for the last two weeks, and hope to have a set squad of 18 players who will come and play after school two days a week. Next year, we hope to enter into local leagues and play against other schools.

Each Friday we spend around 2 hours at iThemba School, which works with children from around 3-5 years old. Our time with these amazing children is spent playing games such as Duck-Duck-Goose, What’s the Time Mr. Fox? and other classics.

The children seem to be having as much fun as we are!

As you may have noticed, The Compass Trust also finally opened its volunteer program! We can only sustain ourselves for so long. We need people to come out and join us.

We have been on the ground out here about 3 months. We have found schools to work with, we have created a PE program, set up a bank account and got started on creating an impactful education program.

If we can do that much in 3 months with 3 people, imagine what we could achieve with 3 more people in the next 3 months? Or 6 more people?!

By joining TCT at this early stage, you are not only volunteering, you are also creating a legacy. You are helping us create the next generation of volunteers and being a part of creating impactful volunteering, where every volunteer has the chance to make a huge difference.

There’s so much more work to do out here to create a program that makes a sustainable difference in the lives of the people here. And we need you to help us make that difference.

If you have any questions about volunteering in South Africa, please get in contact 

November and December will be crucial months for TCT. Please share our story and tell anyone who is looking at volunteering to check us out!

Always good and love to all,

Matt

A Marathon Effort – September Blog

[fusion_text]Although the focus of this blog will be on the marathon, first a quick update on how our program is doing.

First of all, we finally have a South African Bank account! It’s been a long process, but we finally got there. This means donations can finally come into The Compass Trust and we can start to buy sports and education equipment as well as afford transport to and from the schools each day.

I also had the chance to meet with an accountant, who was not only extremely helpful and easy to get along with, but also extremely affordable!

We also welcomed Devyn Smith to Cape Town on the 20th, which means we can finally move forward with the education side of TCT.

TCT has been able to confirm the two schools that it will be working with to help create a sustainable change in the communities it works in. These schools are Levana Primary School in Lavender Hill and iThemba School, a pre primary school in Capricorn.

More details on these schools and what we are doing will come in the October Blog as that is the first month of us working day in day out with these schools.

Finally, before I talk bit about the marathon, we will be closing the GoFundMe Page on October 1st, so please donate whatever you can to the cause, if you can.

www.gofundme.com/tctmarathon

[/fusion_text][three_fifth last=“no“ spacing=“yes“ center_content=“no“ hide_on_mobile=“no“ background_color=““ background_image=““ background_repeat=“no-repeat“ background_position=“left top“ border_position=“all“ border_size=“0px“ border_color=““ border_style=““ padding=““ margin_top=““ margin_bottom=““ animation_type=““ animation_direction=““ animation_speed=“0.1″ class=““ id=““][slider hover_type=“none“ width=“100%“ height=“100%“ class=““ id=““][slide type=“image“ link=““ linktarget=“_self“ lightbox=“yes“]http://thecompasstrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/thecompasstrsut-marathon-3.jpg[/slide][slide type=“image“ link=““ linktarget=“_self“ lightbox=“yes“]http://thecompasstrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/thecompasstrsut-marathon-1.jpg[/slide][slide type=“image“ link=““ linktarget=“_self“ lightbox=“yes“]http://thecompasstrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/thecompasstrsut-marathon-4.jpg[/slide][/slider][/three_fifth][two_fifth last=“yes“ spacing=“yes“ center_content=“no“ hide_on_mobile=“no“ background_color=““ background_image=““ background_repeat=“no-repeat“ background_position=“left top“ border_position=“all“ border_size=“0px“ border_color=““ border_style=““ padding=““ margin_top=““ margin_bottom=““ animation_type=““ animation_direction=““ animation_speed=“0.1″ class=““ id=““][fusion_text]Now, to the marathon…

Running a marathon is quite a paradox. It is something that you train for by yourself for months. It is not a team sport, you either finish or you don’t. If you don’t finish, it’s on you, and only you.

Yet, I could not have completed The Cape Town Marathon without a massive team behind me.

First of all, the people that were there supporting me on the day. Not only people who are helping to build the foundations of TCT, but also a group of very special children who I work with at Surf Outreach 5 days a week. At many times over the 42.2km, your brain starts to tell you walking may be a better option! But when I saw these guys cheering me on at the 20km and 22km stage, I knew that I was running the whole way. It even gave me a big enough boost to run off the road and take a quick selfie! Seeing them again at the finish line made the pain all worth it.[/fusion_text][/two_fifth][fusion_text]But there is an even bigger team behind someone who runs a marathon. There’s also family and friends who give that support during training and before the day to ease any anxieties about the race.

And also every single person who donated to our cause or who has supported our story. Countless times when the run became difficult, my thoughts turned to the amount of money people have donated. People work hard for their money and to have their support and confidence, was a massive boost.

Thank you to all of you. My thoughts were with all of you at some point or other during the race.

Most importantly, my thoughts turned to the children who we have the chance to help. Around the 38km stage, when the pain hit me quite hard, I remember thinking to myself that this is nothing compared to a child who doesn’t have enough water to drink or food to eat each day. It’s nothing compared to the pain a child must feel when they don’t get the love they deserve. Every single day, these children are pushed to their physical and emotional limit. What’s a marathon compared to that?

I intentionally delayed writing this blog until a few days after the marathon so that I could take time to reflect on the experience.

My immediate feeling when completing the marathon was of relief. But the overwhelming feeling when I came home was of pride.

Pride, however, is quite a dangerous feeling to have. Pride allows you to think you are bigger and better than what you are. Pride facilitates an environment for complacency. It allows you to believe your job is done. Our job is just beginning.

We have a lot of work to do to make sure we make a sustainable difference to the lives of the children we are going to be working with. Me running a marathon isn’t going to change their lives. The money you have donated will help change their lives. The work we do from now on will help change their lives.

October and November are going to be huge months for TCT and you’ll see why in the coming weeks!!

Thank you so much for all your support, whether it is in the form of donations or spreading our story. I can’t express enough thankful we are for the support we get.

Always good and love to all,

Matt[/fusion_text]

August Blog: One Month In…

The last blog I wrote came from the comfort of my parents home: safe, carefree and warm. Today, I’m writing from an internet Café in Muizenberg, with a view of homeless people who live under the local bridge. Harmless, spirited homeless people, who at home, I would merely ignore…

South Africa is just as beautiful as I remember. But its natural beauty is accompanied by extreme poverty. While I am writing, I can see Muizenberg Mountain to my right and the beautiful beach straight in front of me. People walk by the internet café, looking in, hoping that you will make eye contact and spare them some change, or some food…

It’s scenes like those that make you think, “Can we really make a difference?” “How can we help these people whose best option is to live under a bridge?” There are already so many people living with nothing, how can we help them?

I have been spending a lot of time this month volunteering with the Surf Outreach, a program with stratospheric potential, in Muizenberg. They are undergoing a lot of changes and I feel privileged to be a part of their program!

There’s been a lot of back and forth between TCT and the bank, but we should have our bank account up and running in the next two weeks. It turns out; they make it as difficult as possible to start up a bank account here! Even if the organisation is registered.

We have also been working with the schools that most need our involvement. We will start going into those schools on a regular basis after The Cape Town Marathon. Now we are meeting on a weekly basis to make sure when we go into school on our first days, we will be as prepared as possible to start our program. It’s at that point we will start accepting volunteers to come work with us starting in January 2016!

July Blog: The Adventure Begins

It’s July 30, 2015 and I am currently sitting in my home in Wassenaar, a beautiful suburban area in The Netherlands. Tomorrow evening I will be in the outskirts of Cape Town ready to build The Compass Trust.

 

The past few months have been an amazing time for everyone involved with TCT. We recently became a registered charity in SA, as well as starting our fundraising efforts for the Cape Town marathon. I also spent my time travelling around Europe as I may not be back for a whole year!

 

It’s been a lot of work getting this far, but the real work starts now. On arrival in South Africa I will head straight to my accommodation and in the morning, TCT starts to become a reality.

 

We will use that first week to start a bank account, look for volunteer housing and most importantly looking for schools that need our help. I will also be volunteering at SurfShack Outreach Centre in Muizenberg. Please check them out on Facebook if you haven’t already!

 

As soon as we find a school to work with, I will go into that school each day running the Sports Development program. In September we will welcome Devyn, a volunteer looking to help build the teaching program.

 

By January, this will mean that we should have fully fledged programs for volunteers to come into. There is a lot of admin to be done in regards to insurance, bank accounts and tenancy agreements, but we’ve done as much as we could have done prior to my arrival in Cape Town.

 

It’s now that I want to say a few “thank yous”. I first of all want to thank Mike Hawkey. He built our website for free and helped me get to grips with trying to maintain it! Without Mike we wouldn’t be where we’re at today, nowhere near.

 

I also want to say a huge thank you to all the Board Members of TCT, Lluis, Mathili, Oliver and soon to be Iva (also our social media coordinator). I believe we’re on to something special with TCT, and I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to be doing this with.

 

I want to thank Nikie who will be running the marathon with me who has been a massive support in starting TCT. Other volunteers I have met who have given us advise and words of support like Lisa, Sam, Devyn, Carmen, Oliver, Vale, Diego, Simon, Moa…the list goes on and I’m sorry if I missed anyone out!

 

Another huge thank you goes to my family. To have such supporting parents and an amazing sister is incredible and extremely humbling. After University, they supported me through job applications, made sure I had food and a roof over my head. I love you all incredibly much.

 

And finally, a big thank you to anyone reading this or taking an interest in TCT, liking us on FB, sharing our posts, reading these self-indulgent blogs, donating money etc. Whatever you have done to help us in any way, thank you.

 

We haven’t done anything yet, but we’re living a dream starting this organisation up. We hope to make it a success, and we hope to do something that makes a sustainable change in the lives of the people that live in this community.

 

Everyone has the ability to change the world, and sometimes people forget that. We are always told we can change the world, but then we are left feeling inferior and worthless when we’re told we don’t fit in with the world, or that we aren’t good enough. Cliché as it is, little things make a difference. If everyone does their part, we would have a much better world to live in.

 

Hopefully, with The Compass Trust, we are doing our part. Please join us on this road, it’s about to get hectic!

 

Please feel free to contact us if you ever have any questions about what we’re up to and what our plans are. We will need all the help we can get!

 

Which leads me to our marathon fundraiser! We’ve done well so far, but we’re still looking to reach our target. It really will make a massive difference, no matter how much you can donate.

 

http://www.gofundme.com/tctmarathon

 

See you in August you beautiful people.

 

Always good and love to all.

 

Matt

Moving Quickly: June Blog

Things are starting to take off in regards to The Compass Trust. While we have been building our website, social media presence and the structure of our organisation, there has been a fair amount of waiting…

 

Visa applications, applications within that application, trust documents for the lawyer etc, have all taken their time, but I’m pleased to say that my visa has finally come through for a year in South Africa.

 

I want to pay a huge tribute to Surfshack Outreach (a great surf program for those who are interested!) who are letting me volunteer with them for the course of that year! I can’t wait to go back to them and see the children in their program. They are such a phenomenal group of kids.

 

Not only did my visa come through last week, but a bunch of legal documents have been making their way around the world and are finally with our lawyer in South Africa.

 

Since all these events took place, a majority of people has told me “Well, now the hard work starts!” To a certain extent that is true. Now, once I am out there I will be volunteering with Surfshack Outreach, while using my free time to help TCT grow from the ground up.

 

But, I love it. I don’t find volunteering work. It is one of the most rewarding things a person can do. The hard work for me, is filing paperwork with lawyers, or applying for visas. When it comes to being on the ground in South Africa, working with people, that’s the reward. It’s going to be challenging, there are going to be ups and downs, but now I can finally get excited about being out there for a full year!!!

 

This brings me to the news we have coming up on Saturday. Because of the waiting we have been doing, we haven’t been able to share our plans with everyone, incase there were delays or problems with documentation. Now that has all passed, we are able to start moving quickly.

 

Please keep up to date with our Facebook page this week, as well as our other social media!

 

None of us can wait until Saturday; it’s the first step on our journey!

 

Thank you all for taking the time to read this.

 

Always good and love to all.

Laying The Foundations

A few weeks ago, we decided to launch The Compass Trust. We wanted to get all our friends and family and others aware of what we are currently working on.

 

Since then, we’ve had over 500 likes on Facebook, 100 followers on Instagram and currently 12 followers on Twitter. 12 followers may not seem like much, but if you multiply it by 2 million, it’s the same number of followers that One Direction have on Twitter.

 

In all seriousness, we are all extremely happy about the amount of support we have on social media so far and when we actually start our program, we will hopefully have a lot more to share with you.

 

But for now, you are stuck with my weekly updates, letting you know what we’re up to.

 

We have 5 board members as part of our team. 1 in South Africa, 3 in Europe and 1 in the States. Unfortunately, this means that the program will only be started once I am able to go to South Africa. The good news is that this will be in the coming months.

 

We’re hoping that it will be around July/August, but it’s subject to our paperwork going through in South Africa. I have to be out there by September, so that will be the latest departure. Why do I have to be out there for September? Right now, that’s top secret! But it’s really exciting and something that I hope everyone will get involved in.

 

What are we doing until then? It’s really about working hard. We have a lot of things we want to do before we can get out to SA and start building up TCT. For example, any organisation can put volunteers in schools and have them help students with their school work. But we want to create something concrete and different before we go out there.

 

It is vital that we help as many children as possible, but we want to have a quality program, rather than quantity. Once we have a program that is producing the desired results, then we will look to expand into as many schools as possible, repeating that formula. But first of all, we want a program that is ACTUALLY helping these children, rather than merely claiming to help many children.

 

We have our ideas, and along with the board members, Nikie and Lisa (two people who have helped massively with starting TCT) we are going to be working on concrete plans that we can implement on arrival.

 

Of course, even this will be subject to change, as we want to offer something to schools that they need. We will be researching, emailing, calling, contacting schools in anyway possible to find out what their needs are and we will be trying to create a program based around those needs.

 

So for the coming months, this is what we will be doing. Researching and coming up with concrete plans to implement upon our arrival in South Africa. It’s a lot of emailing, googling, reading laws, conversations with our lawyer in South Africa etc.

 

This is the most draining part. It’s a lot of computer work, which has very little immediate reward. But we know that by putting in the graft now, the rewards for ourselves and the children will be even greater in the coming months and years. Once we step of that plane and land in Cape Town in the next few months, we can finally start volunteering and doing what we set out to do.

 

For this reason, we will now blog once a month until we get to South Africa and once we are there, we will look to blog once a week!

 

Always good and love to all.

Matt

A Change in Perspective: Part 2

This will be the last blog about how my perspective has changed over the past few years. From then on, every blog will focus on how The Compass Trust is doing! Stuff that you actually care about, rather than me banging on about myself!!!

Here we go…

Throughout my final year of University, my plan upon graduation was always to return to South Africa. For how long, would depend on my circumstances.

During my final year, I looked at grad job after grad job, putting half-hearted efforts into each application. There was no passion or desire to start a full-time, 9-5 job just yet. I wanted to travel.

My heart was set on a return to South Africa.

Upon my graduation, my plan was to go back to SA for 3 months, and then return to Europe to apply to graduate jobs in the UK after that. My plan was to then use my savings to travel the rest of the world. I don’t think there’s any more important thing a person can do when they are young, than travel.

As soon as I set foot back in Cape Town, my plans started to change. I saw children who I had known from my last trip. And to my surprise they remembered me. Not only me, volunteers who had also previously been there with me. They asked about everyone who had been there in 2012. They even asked if I was still dating a volunteer I was with previously. To their dismay I wasn’t!

This is how important volunteers are. These children can go into school and forget what they learned that day. But they can remember every little detail about volunteers who have come to help them. They meet 100’s of volunteers, but ones who make a difference stay in their minds and in their hearts. It gives them hope but it also gives them an escape from the crime, poverty and drugs they are surrounded by.

Volunteers offer help in tutoring, sports and social help. They offer friendship. But more importantly, they offer these children a glimpse into a world that they may never see. That may sound quite disheartening. But it gives these children hope. Life is nothing without hope, no matter who you are.

But on my quest for finding my career path and what I wanted to do with my life, I also discovered the effect these children have of volunteers. These children had changed my life. I found hope in them.

While I was worrying about getting the right graduate job after University, they just hoped they would be able to go to school the next day. This is why I found hope in them.

No matter what worries I had about my career path and where life was going to take me, if these children can smile everyday, so can I. Sure, I still worry about things that don’t matter. Manchester United’s champions league qualification for example. But I still know that I have opportunities that haven’t been afforded to other people. I am more fortunate than others; not because of anything I’ve done, but because of where I was born.
It’s the responsibility of those who are more fortunate, to give back. That’s what we are going to try and do at The Compass Trust.

Thanks for reading, always good and love to all.

Matt