We recently concluded our final formal Trustees meeting for the year at the Gondwana Care Trust. As part of this meeting, we visited one of the remarkable projects we support – Etuhole Pre-Primary School and Day Care in Havana, Windhoek. It is a preschool and day care for children under the exceptional leadership of Eunike Iiyambo.
As we spent time with the children, I reflected on how genuinely happy, carefree, and friendly they all seemed. They embraced our interactions, and their songs added a delightful touch to my day.
At the Gondwana Care Trust, our 'why' is well-established, but we remain acutely sensitive about our 'how.' Nothing repels us more than a saviour complex or any form of support that implies these beautiful children are dependent on us or somehow inferior. In fact, there is no better experience of the old adage that it is better to give than it is to receive. Giving should never be based in any form of guilt. True service and help come from a place of love.
The boundless energy and joy exhibited by those children served as a powerful reminder that one's worth is not tied to material resources. In fact, if anything, they are likely worth more. In just one hour, I witnessed more happiness than I had experienced in the past week of my hectic life, tirelessly chasing the wind.
This principle guides us at Gondwana Collection Namibia—to stay intimately connected with the work we support and the impact we create. It grounds us in the reality of the incredible work happening around us in places with limited resources. Projects like Etuhole Pre-Primary School and Day Care thrive on love, care, and almost limitless passion, and we are honoured to contribute to these inspiring stories.
Our Gondwana Care Trust work is not an afterthought; it is an integral part of how we conduct business. We believe in social and environmental inclusion and transformation through our business practices.
Acknowledging the international norm of Corporate Social Investment being around 1% of Profit after Tax, we, at the Gondwana Care Trust, reflected on our 2023 impact at our last meeting. Surprisingly, our total impact exceeded 5% of this benchmark. This figure only accounts for the Gondwana Care Trust and doesn't include Gondwana Collection Namibia's broader business impacts, such as Community Joint Venture profit shares.
Importantly, this 5% did not compromise our shareholders. While Gondwana Collection Namibia contributes both cash and in-kind support, the majority of this impact was financed by the unwavering support of fellow Namibians, our remarkable corporate partners both local and abroad, and our foreign visitors. It's a collective effort, fuelled by the commitment and passion of my fellow Trustees and nearly 1300 Gondwanians.
Standing among the children during our visit, a little boy, no more than three years old, approached and gave me a hug. Being so young, he barely reached my thighs. Bending down to reciprocate, I hugged him by gently pressing him against my legs. A beautiful smile adorned his face, and in that moment, he felt secure enough to wrap his little legs around mine. It was a leg-hug. Given that my youngest child is eight years old, I hadn't experienced a leg-hug in at least five years, and truthfully, I had almost forgotten about them.
That little guy provided me with one of the most heartwarming moments of this year, right there in the Havana Township, on the western edge of our society.
In that simple yet profound moment, I was reminded of why we do what we do. I gained more from that interaction than he could ever get from me.
Author: Gys Joubert
Photos: Kyara Leuschner and Ndinelao Shikemeni