A Culture of Caring: Our Cape Grace Staff-Led CSI Projects
December might mark the official season of giving, but our generous team has quietly been championing Cape Town-based charities that are close to their own hearts throughout the year.
In support of their efforts, Cape Grace donates a substantial amount each quarter to a single education and youth-focused charity that one of our staff members is personally involved with.
In order for a charity to be considered for sponsorship, the championing staff member needs to submit a detailed proposal to our HR team. Together with our Corporate Social Investment (CSI) committee, they review all nominations and, with input from our Executive team, select a recipient of the Cape Grace sponsorship for the quarter.
We are just about ready to announce the recipient for quarter four, and, in looking back on the impact this initiative has, we would love to share more about the winning nominations for our last three quarters, and honour our staff members who made it all possible.
Quarter 1: Maxim Kids: Championed by Stanford Ncube and Chris Mtunyedwa
Chris Mtunyeda might look dapper in a suit, but his smooth veneer hides a boxer’s physique. That’s because Chris, who is originally from Zimbabwe but has been with us for 10 years in our Housekeeping team, is not only a professional boxer, but a coach too.
“I coach and train with Kings Boxing Gym which is a part of Maxim Kids. We aim to reach youth by engaging them in the sport. We believe that boxing teaches discipline, builds confidence, develops a sense of achievement and develops healthy friendships. These are all values that troubled youths would not otherwise be frequently be exposed to or have the opportunity to learn.”
Chris, who works in our Housekeeping department, values the flexibility Cape Grace affords him. “I work hard to maintain that level of trust which keeps me engaged and excited but at the same time able to love and enjoy my other passions in life.”
Stanford Ncube, who works as a linen room attendant at Cape Grace, helps to manage Chris’ boxing career, and is also involved with the youth development aspect of the gym. “My vision is to keep young people out of trouble and empower them through sport,” he added.
While the boxing program is free to youths, the adult membership fees are used to fund community projects which include skill training, professional legal services, and community counselling for the previously disadvantaged.
As for the Cape Grace contribution, it helped to fix up some of the broken punching bags, and generally gave the gym the funds they needed to keep up the maintenance. “Our ring and punching bags were broken and off the walls, but we were able to fix them with Cape Grace’s contribution,” added Stan.
Chris, who represents the gym as their professional boxer, along with coaching his protégés, has big dreams for the future. “We’re working towards producing more boxing champions, and, most importantly, leaders for the next generation through our education programs.”
For more info on Maxin Kids, visit http://maximkids.co.za/home/
Quarter 2: Heavenly Voices: Championed by Luthando Makapela
Luthando grew up in the Khayelitsha Township in Cape Town and is the co-founder of Heavenly Voices Youth Development. He is well-suited to his barman role at Cape Grace, where he enjoys engaging with guests through excellent service.
His vision for the choir is to foster a better and safer community for teenagers and young adults “where harmony and peace rules”. Luthando and those involved in the choir achieve this by promoting music-related social and cultural activities in the community “with the aim to reduce the rate of crime and substance abuse in our areas”.
Not only does Luthando plan all their events and outings, but he also writes songs for them! “Music is my life”, he enthused.
The Cape Grace contribution funded a team-building field trip. “We used the money for our trip to Oudtshoorn toward the end of August. The trip was a team-building and educational trip. We camped in and visited the local churches, radios stations, and old age homes.”
While the choir has grown and evolved, there is a lot of room for support. “We need uniforms, a projector, funds for transport, and a computer,” he added.
With those assets, Luthando believes they could grow from strength to strength, tour other countries, and even release their own album and video. We have no doubt.
Quarter 3: HOPE Cape Town: Championed by Mazlan Kamar
Mazlan has been living in Cape Town for 17 years, but originally hails from Kaula Lampur in Malaysia. He first learned about HOPE Cape Town when searching for volunteer opportunities, as he feels strongly about volunteering in his spare time.
“HOPE Cape Town evolved out of the South African HIV pandemic in 2001, and was one of the first organisations in South Africa treating children with antiretroviral treatment. Today HOPE Cape Town has 38 employees and works in 20 township communities around the Western Province and Tygerberg Academic Health Complex.”
Mazlan, who has been working for Cape Grace for three years in our Reservations Department, has a general enthusiasm for people. “My favourite thing about working for Cape Grace is that we actively encourage and propagate the idea of employee appreciation and engagement. Everyone who works here enjoys their position and their job.”
This love spills over into his volunteer work at HOPE. “Volunteers like me are there to assist the professional staff in many small ways – giving a helping hand at events organised by HOPE Cape Town, helping to move donations in kind into the townships or just spending time with the children and playing with them.”
The contribution by Cape Grace helped to make their Christmas celebration an occasion to remember. “Our annual Christmas Party was held in Delft with the help of Cape Grace. All the little patients came together to celebrate life and experience their doctors in a fun situation instead during a doctor’s session at the township clinic. They played, danced and made music together – a wonderful experience. At the end, each child got a little present to take home. Together, it’s so much fun helping those less fortunate than me.”
Read more about HOPE Cape Town: www.hopecapetown.com
We are looking forward to announcing the Quarter 4 recipient soon, and encourage our readers to learn more about all of the worthy causes our staff so selflessly support.