Our corporate donors extend their partnerships with JASA in myriad ways. In 2017, many of our 117 volunteers were staff members of funders, who served as mentors on the programmes.
National Programmes Manager Terence Modiba explains: “The ideal is for volunteers to get involved on topics related to their field of expertise, which could range from financial management to marketing.” In this way, the material covered in the programme comes alive for the fledgling entrepreneurs.
In the Western Cape, around ten volunteers from 5one, a company owned by sponsor Mastercard, showed dedication by ensuring that at least two of them were present for every session of the Youth Enterprise Development Programme (YEDP). The venue was the Mfuleni Development Centre and the programme was targeted at women under 35. Having support throughout the programme, including the field trip and graduation, made a strong impression on the participants.
Each employee can spend five days a year volunteering and Thaakirah Van der Schyff opted to use these time to attend several YEDP sessions, where she not only shared her story but also assisted the participants with gaining mastery over business processes, particularly on how to manage profit and losses, and time. She even went so far as to co-facilitate in some sessions.
“I told my story since I also came from a poor background and I took the participants through my educational process and how I managed to go to university on a scholarship, with assistance coming from unexpected processes. It was good to be involved in this network of women who raise each other up. The power of this programme may seem small but it should not be underestimated,” explains Thaakirah.
Mastercard has chosen to fund programmes aimed at women, in recognition that they need support to better their lives, regardless of their background. “I would encourage everyone to go through a programme like this to understand how to run a business,” Thaakirah added.
She also went along on the field trip to a Pick n Pay distribution centre, which has sections that empower women. YEDP participants were introduced to the system and what it takes to be eligible to be a small supplier. To top it off, Thaakirah and her colleagues won the internal CEO Force for Good Award for their volunteering contribution and promptly donated the prize money of US$500 to JASA. Thank you Thaakirah and colleagues!