Corporate Social Responsibility
Altor International (formerly Dynamic Alternatives) actively supports and donates time and resources to the Take Action Foundation
TAKE ACT-ION FOUNDATION – TRAINING INITIATIVE
The Take ACT-ion foundation has been founded by an experienced group of Martial Artists and Security Professionals with the aim of being able to make a difference to the lives of South Africans exposed to violence and crime.
The safety, education and well-being of disadvantaged children is an ongoing problem that needs to be addressed. It is not only the responsibility of all South Africans to protect our own children, but also to see to the safety of all children in South Africa. One of the ways we believe that we can achieve this is to train children to have a basic understanding of self-protection and crime avoidance.
The first training initiative for underprivileged children run by The Take ACT-ion Foundation took place on 29 November 2008 at a dojo on Corlett Drive. The pilot project was run in conjunction with The Thusong Youth Centre, which is a registered non-profit organisation based in Alexandra township, and was sponsored by Deutsche Bank South Africa. The centre aims to develop young people with various skills that will formulate them to be self-sustainable in life. The target group was children between 10 years and 15 years of age.
We were told on the Friday that there were 15 children confirmed for the course, with the potential of there being up to 30 children. On the day we were called to say that there were as many as 45 children who were ready to be transported to the venue. When the taxis transporting the children arrived with music playing and children singing, we were amazed to be presented with 74 very energetic and very enthusiastic children. With a clear conscience we could not turn any children away which only meant that the instructors had to really be on their toes to achieve the desired results.
From the word go, the children were well behaved and disciplined and responded with almost military precision to every instruction they were given. When presented with scenarios of how to escape an attacker you could see disbelief on their faces that these methods would really work, but when presented with situations that required an escape using techniques learnt, the disbelief turned to incredulity that this was actually possible for even the smallest participant with an assailant of superior size.
Throughout the morning the children were presented with various training techniques and lectures from experienced professionals in the field of self-defence, and then given an opportunity to pair up and practice the techniques presented. Around mid-morning they were introduced to the SA welterweight boxing champion who gave an inspirational talk on how sport had changed his life and made him into the successful individual he is today. This was followed by a boxing demonstration with teaching techniques which the children were then allowed to practice under his and the other instructors supervision. This was followed by more self-defence talks and demonstrations followed by practical sessions where they implemented the techniques.
Around 13:30 the children were given a healthy meal of chicken, mash and a coke. Even during the lunch break there were children running around practising their techniques on their friends. The afternoon session was primarily made up of demonstrations by the children of what they had learnt in the morning sessions. The day ended with another short talk followed by prizes of R50 each for the best female student, most disciplined student, and the best male student. To conclude the children were asked as a group what they had learned over the day and the response was a deafening and in unison “NEVER GIVE UP” followed by “STAY SAFE”.
After the course had finished the children were given some fruit (apple and banana) for the ride home. The feedback from the children was incredible and they all wanted to know when they could come back again for further training. The physical potential of some of the children was amazing and the instructors, all experienced professionals, were amazed by the improvement in skill levels on the day. This project was a true example of corporate South Africa making a difference to the lives of disadvantaged children. You only had to see the excitement and enthusiasm that was generated to know that “we made a difference”.
A big thank you goes to The Deutsche Bank Foundation for providing the funding for this initiative.