The Love Trust CEO on 2021 and 2022: How can we serve others better?

The Love Trust CEO on 2021 and 2022:

How can we serve others better?

 

The Love Trust CEO and Founder, Martin Morrison, shares his thoughts and views as we look back at 2021, but also his hopes and dreams from the coming year and beyond.

The biggest challenges The Love Trust has faced in 2021 and how have they been overcome

“We all faced the pandemic over the last 18 months. As with all organisations managing the disruptions, health impacts and concerns over the wellbeing of our beneficiaries and employees is uppermost. As a not-for-profit, financial sustainability during these times brings new challenges. Generally, companies, corporates, and individuals during Covid, especially in the early days, focused on the immediate needs of PPE, and food. We were concerned that some of the focus would be taken off the more long-term, sustainable needs of education, and that in meeting the immediate needs we should not forget the long-term importance of good education. This meant that our staff went above and beyond to help bring relief to people. For example, we’ve handed out countless food hampers to our Nokuphila families, who were in need. We as an organisation said, how can we serve others better?

Following 2020, we were better prepared to go into 2021. We had things in place. Our children and our families were more prepared. So, this year has been much easier because of the previous year. But all-in-all, what it has certainly shown me, from my perspective, is that we have a resilient and determined organisation. Everyone just stepped up.”

Reflecting on 2021

“One is just a short anecdote. Recently, I spoke to one of the Grade 4 learners. I was walking down the corridor and I asked her who she was, she told him her name. I asked her, ‘Do you like the school?’ She responded, ‘I love the school.’ And I said, ‘Why do you like the school?’ I had put her on the spot, but she immediately said, ‘Because it’s a Christian school.’ And she continued, ‘The second reason is they don’t allow bullying in the school.’ So it was lovely to hear that from a learner.

Another highlight is that we have the most amazing donors supporting us. One of our donors who has been giving for operational costs for three or four years now came to us a few months ago and said they want to help with some capital costs. Over and above that, they want to draw in some of their friends and other contacts they have in their network to help support The Love Trust and Nokuphila School. It’s so wonderful to have donors and partners in different ways. We have people who give their time and their expertise. They may not be giving money, they may be giving sophisticated expertise; financial, legal and in management areas, where we have people who volunteer their time, to help us grow this organisation. What a joy and privilege for me to be able to work with these people. These are wonderful highlights that encourage us.”

Our biggest dream for the future

“Our dream has always been to have a school that goes up to Matric. We’ve had three classes of Grade 7s graduating and it saddens us when they have to leave us. For the most part, they need to go to the large public schools in Thembisa which do not have the same kind of personalised support structures. I think it is common knowledge throughout the world that giving children an education up to 18 years of age is critical. It is key in the formation of the child, both in terms of education and intellect. It is also vital to develop life skills such as, teamwork, conflict resolution, time-keeping, and mutual respect. All of those life skills, which are as important, just as the educational classes, need to be grown and developed.

We were hoping to start with Grade 8 in 2022, but it seems as if we will only be able to start in 2023. We’re first looking at Grades 8 and 9, because at the end of Grade 9 there is a natural break, where learners are legally allowed to leave school. Once we’ve got that in place, we’ll look at Grades 10 to 12. We hope to continue to provide to those young people more than academic knowledge but a holistic education – the mind, the body, the spirit, and the soul. It’s our privilege and joy. But it’s not just a dream; we are working on this proactively.”

Outstanding academic achievements at Nokuphila Schools

“Two girl learners from our Grade 7 class have been accepted on a scholarship at a well-known school for girls for Grade 8, and one other talented young boy will be attending another prestigious private school, also on an academic scholarship. That’s a great accomplishment, which tells me that the standard of education at our school is right up there, and that our people are doing a brilliant job. We are delighted. 

With the help of our donors we aim to expand extra-curricular activities such as sport and the arts. We have four existing tennis courts (that can be used for netball, volleyball, and tennis) and then our great aim is to raise donor funding for a soccer field.

We’ve also been able to draw in Yamaha South Africa and Yamaha International, to help us develop our music programme. We have already started training teachers in learning to play the recorder. The teachers are only two months ahead of the learners and once they are two months into the programme, the teachers start teaching the students. Many of our other staff are also interested in learning to play a musical instrument. We’re excited about growing both the sport and the cultural side of the school and hope to draw in other schools in the area, who don’t have a music programme. We would encourage that their teachers join us so that they can do the same thing in their schools. This way we share the blessings we have with others.”

A word of encouragement to partners, donors, staff, teachers, parents, and learners

“Remember, like anything of value, there’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. We make lots of mistakes and we don’t always get everything right – sometimes we fall in the mud. I thank God because he’s drawn together this family of people from different backgrounds, different expertise, and different resources. When you look at the organisation, there is determination, resilience, and dedication – just some of the factors that make us what we are.

That is true of our donors, our partners, our children, and their families – they have been wonderful. Whatever happens, we’re going to get through this together, and we’ll get through it stronger, though wounded.

We welcome people of any faith, of any religion, or no religion, we welcome them with open arms; be it their children, be they students with our ECDs – anybody is welcome. We treat everyone with equal respect, come join us.