“For these citizens to have a vote, they need to have a voice”, explained our friend Beatty when we had the opportunity to connect with her at Philile, Diepsloot recently. Beatty is from The American International School of Johannesburg (AISJ) and leads their High School Service Learning Programme. Philile has the pleasure of partnering with the Service Learning Programme at AISJ, whereby their students regularly visit Philile Diepsloot to play with the children, love them and build into their lives; and also go the extra mile (or in some cases 94.7 kms) to help raise funds for projects at Philile Diepsloot. Not only do the children greatly benefit from this in terms of their own development, but Philile has become one of the platforms for the AISJ students to learn about what it truly means to give to others. Their investments of money, time and love are inspiring the future generations of South Africa.
Beatty is a delight to encounter! Sporting a Modianyewe (a traditional Basotho hat), a bright smile and welcoming eyes, the joy she finds in giving overflows from her as she watches her students play with the children. Her passion for pouring into others has its roots in her upbringing. Both her parents were generous givers and, when her family was in need after her father passed on, she experienced being on the receiving end of generosity. When asked about her choice to give through education, Beatty explained that education is the cornerstone of breaking the cycle of poverty. She believes this, because she sees that a solid education empowers you with a voice.
She shared her view that, “If you are educated, whether in politics, whether in life, you are in a better frame of mind to reason, to see whether this is right or wrong, you can make decisions which you feel comfortable with”. The gift of voice isn’t just the ability to speak or the right to vote, it’s the capacity to consider various perspectives, make independent choices and know that your words and actions have weight, they add value. This is what will bring lasting change to society. Our late former President Nelson Mandela saw this and prized education as, “the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. What a gift it is to the development of our country to continue the journey Mandela started of raising up the voice of our people through education.
“Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mine worker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.” – Nelson Mandela
Thank-you to Beatty, a hero in the lives of more than she realises, for sharing her heart with us! We look forward to more inspiring conversations.