“Whatever good things we build, end up building us.” Jim Rohn, US businessman.
This quote was brought to life during the week of 13 – 17 November when over 140 staff volunteers from eight of our Cape Town hotels and regional office donned hard hats and joined a Building Blitz to help complete three schools in Khayelitsha.
The Building Blitz is an annual week-long event organised by Mellon Educate , an Irish-based African development charity founded by developer and philanthropist Niall Mellon in 2002. Over the past 15 years, they have built houses for more than 125 000 people in South Africa’s poorest townships, and more recently pledged a 10-year education development programme to benefit more than 100 000 disadvantaged learners. We, primarily through the Southern Sun Cape Sun hotel, have been partnering with Mellon Educate for the past 12 years, and involved in the Building Blitz itself for five years.
On Wednesday, 15 November, our volunteers spent the day working alongside the 300 international volunteers who predominantly come from Ireland and the UK, but also from USA, Australia, Belgium France and Germany.
Getting involved in all kinds of activities on-site, the volunteers helped in the construction of 14 classrooms, two kitchens, playgrounds in all three schools, two outdoor sheltered areas, a sports field, an outdoor gym, and a science laboratory!
Darren Hailstones, Deputy GM of Southern Sun Cape Sun and champion of initiative for us, says, “It’s a privilege to be the Cape Town home of the Mellon Educate volunteers and their visit is a highlight in the hotel’s calendar; their contribution to our communities is inspirational.”
Our staff love participating; they get to know our guests better, learn more about them and where they come from. Quite often, staff from the hotels live in the communities where the work takes place and it gives them a sense of pride to be contributing in their own way.
It’s humbling to think that 300 people from over 10 000km away spend months fundraising a significant sum of money to take a week’s leave to work and make a difference to disadvantaged people. We are proud to be one of Mellon Educate’s partners as they continue their great work.