The setting is in the “location” as informal settlements are called here is South Africa. The school is hedged in by a security fence that is slack at the corners. The buildings are squashed into a small piece of land. Surrounding the school is a open field, a filling station with no roof and a mechanic fixing a car on stilts.
Inside the school hall, the wooden floor has pieces missing, but the curtains are clean. The chairs are old with the mileage of 100’s of children ‘s sitting on them, but the projector board is sparking white, the glasses polished and the water cold.
We are a group of 12 people. Myself and Veronica, 2 observers and 4 partnerships. We are launching the first Partners for Possibility Circle in Bloemfontein. Business leaders partnering with Principles of under funded schools. Four brave partnership, 8 men and women that defiantly stands up against the educational crisis our country is experiencing. The objective: Take one school at a time and change it onto a center where every child will get a quality education.
Not by complaining about what the government did or did not do. Not just throwing money at the problem. No, 8 men and women committing themselves to change. First themselves, then the school, then the community. Committed to become responsible citizens.
As we start, the excitement grows, we talk about logistics, but a stream of energy is escaping. First a trickle but later we could not contain it any more. Possibilities of one school helping another, new ways of raising funds and the camaraderie of not facing my problems alone anymore, intertwine.
I see an inspired light of determination go on in the principals eyes as we honestly face the challenges. Oozing out of them is a defiant attitude and deep knowing that these challenges will be overcome. I see in the business leaders an excitement as they see the possibilities of real time change. Were their input is appreciated for just coming from them and no price tag attached.
After three hours, I walk away with a sense of gratitude. I am grateful that I can be present in this circle of brave men and women. Men and women that are in the arena, daring to do a great thing. And I am privileged to be part of them.
See, “it is not the critic who counts, … but the one that is actually in the arena”