The Head of Corporate Social Investment at African Bank, Kennedy Dembetembe, spoke about their partnership with The Love Trust.
How it started, how it aligns with their business strategy, and what their hopes are for the future.
“At African Bank,” says Dembetembe, “we really believe that education is the one place that we can make a difference. I think if we want to start seeing the changes that are needed, we need a better educated populace and we need to equip our kids with the kind of education that gives them the freedom to go and make the most of the abilities that they have at their disposal. We, therefore, try and participate in every aspect of the education spectrum, from early childhood development (ECD) to maths and literacy, to mentorship and career development in high schools and universities, where we are able to use our resources to mould and touch the lives of students throughout their educational journey.”
Dembetembe also explains how this perfectly aligns with the Bank’s business growth and sustainability goals. “As a financial services business, our future lies in the strength of employed people. It is, therefore, critical that we support organisations that are actively involved in developing young minds so that they can become graduates who can become part of our country’s amazing labour force. For us, partnering with sustainable organisations is key. You can’t expect to make a change in this country overnight. We look at it from a cradle to career perspective: the entire journey that a student is going to face.”
Dembetembe goes on to clarify that this journey is only complete once a child becomes a contributing member of our society, making a difference in our country.
Dembetembe strongly believes African Bank has found the perfect partner in The Love Trust to further their commitment to bringing quality education to the communities most in need. He was fortunate enough to have met The Love Trust team a few years ago and see some of the work they were doing. Later when he moved to African Bank it became very clear to him, given their strategy, that The Love Trust was the right kind of organisation to support.
“When you see what they’ve done at Nokuphila School,” states Dembetembe, “you can see an organisation that is not shy to dig deep and really make ground-breaking changes to the community in and around Thembisa and Ivory Park. Being able to work with an organisation such as The Love Trust, which over the years have consistently been able to give back to those communities in a way that no other organisation can.
The Love Trust is exceptional in the way that they do their reporting; in the way that they do their teaching of teachers; in the care that they give to these kids. To know that this is the kind of education that has been provided to children who could never afford that opportunity is something that speaks to the very core of what we do at African Bank. We are committed to making a difference in the lives of ordinary South Africans. Partnering with an organisation, like The Love Trust, is a mirror of everything that we believe. This is why we have continued to support them for the last four or five years. And we will continue to do so for as long as humanly possible.”
African Bank is a sponsor of The Love Trust’s ECD Teacher Training programme because, as Dembetembe elaborates, “when you think of how to improve the lives of children between the ages of two and six, within ECD centres, the simplest and most effective way is to ensure that:
1) the teachers in those centres are better equipped to provide quality education, and
2) that the centres themselves are properly resourced to provide quality education.”
According to Dembetembe the teaching programme and resources that The Love Trust provides to ECD centres across the country, as well as quality facilities at their Nokuphila School, all attest to the efforts of improving the quality of education in those communities. They also aid in African Bank’s goal and vision of improving education outcomes in South Africa.
Dembetembe and African Bank are passionate about their support of The Love Trust and the work that they do and hope more corporates and individuals can contribute to these Herculean efforts.
“In the current landscape of South Africa with Covid, and everything that has happened, more people need to understand why organisations like The Love Trust exist and that now, more than ever, they need support and what they can do in their own special way to make a difference in the organisation.”
In closing, Dembetembe emphasised the importance of investing and supporting ECD initiatives in South Africa: “I want to stress the importance of early childhood development in our country. There is nothing more important than trying to bring structure to a very unstructured space of our education space. And the work that The Love Trust is doing is essential in improving what is a neglected part of a child’s development, and I commend everybody for the work that they do.”