Simbithi Country Club was proud to host an auspicious event on Wednesday, January 24: the Celebration Dinner of the Partners for Possibility North Coast Leadership Circle 1. Almost exactly a year after the LC was formed, nine school principals and their business leader partners joined to celebrate the end of their formal programme together. The event was attended by KwaDukuza deputy mayor, Councillor Dolly Govender.
North Coast 1, as this first circle on the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal was called, brought together five primary, two secondary and one combined school in the internationally awarded Partners for Possibility programme. Together, the schools represent 9 418 learners across Stanger and the iLembe district.
Partners for Possibility (PfP) is a social enterprise that pairs a business leader with a school principal of an under-resourced school. Together, the two partners work to identify the challenges facing their school and to address them. At the same time, they receive leadership development training that is accredited by the University of the Western Cape. Simbithi Eco-Estate General Manager Malcolm Samuel, and Director Paul Sparks were part of the circle; Samuel partnered with RA Padayachee School principal Aleen Maharaj and Sparks with Sizani Combined School principal Ntombenhle July. The partnership saw Samuels and Sparks foster meaningful relationships with their business partners – attending leadership courses and workshops together, and enriching the schools through the sharing of valuable business skills.
In his opening address, Samuel explained Simbithi’s decision to partner with PfP. “Simbithi embarked on a Community Social Investment engagement with our neighbouring communities, specifically Shakashead. Most individuals who live in Shakashead and surrounding areas find employment at Simbithi; in return, the Simbithi board found it appropriate to partner with the community in their attempt to be socially responsible. I use the word ‘partner’ as we did not want to adopt, or handout, or undignify anyone by what we were going to do. We believed that some of the social and economic issues that the communities around us faced were a shared responsibility. And choosing to partner with the community was a more dignified approach.”
The circle’s Learning Process Facilitator Terry Dearling – a Simbithi resident – said the successful completion of NC1 is significant in many ways. “Our circle was the first on the North Coast of KZN and it also included the 500th partnership to be formed since our founding in 2010.” Dearling says the real power of the programme is that it does not prescribe a set of prepared steps to a school and its principal. “Rather, it brings together business leader, with all their connections, training and experience, and school principals, who themselves have much to add to the programme and often inspire their partners with their bravery, ingenuity and passion for education.”
Since it was established on the North Coast, PfP has opened a second leadership circle with another group of schools. This, says Dearling, brings the combined impact of the programme to close to 20 000 people. “We continually seek more business leaders to join one of the principals on our ever growing waiting list of school principals. We invite any business leader, entrepreneur or manager to make contact and join this life-changing programme,” says Dearling.