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To Move Forward, we must sometimes look Back

Wednesday 21 April 2021
Save the Children South Africa (SCSA) recently launched its first-ever Advisory Board. A panel of highly-influential individuals set on making a difference for children in South Africa by using their connections, voices and positions to do so. We are excited about the opportunities this new venture will bring us all and how it will shape the way we work with each other and our partners on the ground. 

During morning tea at the inaugural meeting, we all had a chance to speak about who we are, our positions at SCSA and asked “what brought you here?”. Although the question was originally intended for the board members, so that we could better understand what their motivation was to join the panel, eventually even the whole SCSA team present took time to consider and answer the question. 

The question sparked a delightful story sharing event and I can’t recall a single backstory that did not engage us fully. All of these stories that shaped who we are today and what we can bring to the table for children are critical in moving forward, because they helped to guide us, whether we knew it then or not.  

And indeed, what brought me here, lingered in my head for the rest of the day and even more. 
I thought, during a presentation by a team member, what brought me here was my early career in an environmental organisation, which taught me that injustice can be pervasive. I thought, during our site visit, what brought me here was my childhood. I thought, as I drove home that night, what brought me here is my ample adoration for people in South Africa and in the world.   

We don’t end up where we are by chance, we make decisions each and every day that lead us to this point, and reflecting on this from time to time will help guide our next steps. We are a year past the first nation-wide lockdown that President Cyril Ramaphosa announced to curb the spread of Covid-19, and gearing up for a full vaccination role out by the close of 2021.  Every day of 2020, I woke up and made the decision to stay and keep going. I made more calls and sent more appeals to funding partners than I had ever done in my career. 

During the hardest moments, I asked myself what I was doing here. I will keep on asking myself, and I urge us all to do the same. As we move fully into Winter, time rapidly passing, we must continue to ask ourselves, what has brought us to this moment and then seize it. What we should not do, is close our eyes and take it one day at a time – we need to continue to engage with our absolute selves, and reflect as often as possible – what brought me here – so that we can understand what keeps me here. 
By Dianne VanDerTuin, Partnership Development Manager at Save the Children South Africa 

About: Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In South Africa and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.
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