Doug Laburn, head of our partner, Lombard Partnerships is a co-founder of The Bokamoso Education Trust. The organisation enables people to support the schooling of disadvantaged children. Through the collective donations of individuals and companies, Bokamoso Education Trust activates the financial muscle needed to provide its beneficiary children with an education and gives these children the necessary start to their lives. Doug’s wife Gill is also involved in this NPO.
In light of Bokamoso Education Trust‘s upcoming 10 years anniversary celebration, we recently caught up with Doug to find out a little bit more about Bokamoso and why this cause is close to his heart.
- What incident/event made/influenced you to set up an education Trust specifically?
Our domestic worker in my digs at the time had a 5 year old son and it was time for him to go to school. We were all the beneficiaries of great educations and wanted the same for Mathias so decided to all contribute to covering the school fees for his Grade 00 year. It was from this we realised that a group of people, each contributing a little, can make a significant impact on changing someone’s circumstance and access to opportunity. Could we get more people to contribute in the same way and therefore pay for more kids to go to school? For sure! So we set about formalising it and now fund 55 kids through school.
- What are the key indicators by which you measure the impact of the Trust?
The obvious one is the number of kids we fund, but we find the subtle (and difficult to measure) indicators to be the most important. Emotional development, academic performance (beyond just marks), participation, and parent involvement are indicators we try and track closely. We feel these are fundamental to kids turning into young adults, leaving school with the confidence and skill necessary to take on the world.
- What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned so far as a co-founder of Bokamoso?
Life is complicated and difficult, so never assume you know what people are dealing with and don’t run away from engaging.
- You must have met some extraordinary people through this journey. Has there been a particular person or story that has been especially inspiring to you?
I most certainly have – kids, teachers, donors, volunteers and many more. However, the single most extraordinary group of people I’ve engaged with have been the parents who are so committed to finding a way for their children to progress and succeed. While the financial element is important in life, a loving home trumps it every time.
- Looking back at 10 years, what stands out as a significant thought about this journey?
Take a small step each day, month, year in building a community. In 10 years you’ll have something really special.
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