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Orphan Daniel Frank shines with Pragma bursary

Full credit for Pragma’s Socio Economic Development projects

Daniel Frank is a grade 11 student at the prestigious and tradition-rich Paul Roos Gymnasium. Besides excelling in chess – he is a Western Province player and has won several awards – Daniel excels at school, where he stays in residence during the week.

His story is one of hope. Daniel has been under the foster care of Sylvia Frank Foster Care Home in Gordon’s Bay since he was between 48 and 72 hours old, found with his afterbirth still intact. When he moved to high school, Distance For Difference (D4D) approached Pragma for a donation that could be channelled to the Spirit Foundation in support of his school fees.

Says Stéphan Pieterse, People and Organisational Development Manager at Pragma, and founder of D4D: “Daniel’s first two years at Paul Roos were covered by a private donor in Pragma. Pragma’s donations over the last two years made it possible for him to continue his education at this great school! I’m an old Paul Rooser myself.”

D4D was founded by Stéphan Pieterse in 2005 as a response to the images of total devastation and people in need after the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 26 December 2004. “I was so touched by it that I asked myself what I can do to make a difference. The answer was to start running.”

Pieterse started running to make a difference in people’s lives, and since those first few strides taken in January 2005, many other athletes, including cyclists and swimmers, have joined him. His colleagues also took an interest, and under the leadership of Pragma CEO, Adriaan Scheeres and that of Attie Nieuwoudt, Managing Director: Pragma Africa, Pragma’s involvement grew.

More than a decade later, D4D is making a significant difference in the lives of children in need of a brighter future. Says Pieterse: “At the end of our first two years of existence, we raised R50 000. This shot up to R4.5 million at the end of year ten. Funds are generated by assisting athletes to raise sponsorships for every kilometer completed during a year, or for specific events.”

According to Pieterse, D4D supports the Spirit Foundation, which was founded in 1994. “The Foundation provides opportunities for good quality education to economically disadvantaged high school scholars who have the potential and will to succeed. They also mentor them in partnership with their families, help and motivate them to achieve to the best of their ability academically and in all other aspects of their high school education. Lastly, they encourage the creativity, leadership and good self-esteem necessary to help build a prosperous and healthy nation.”

Pieterse adds that his employer, leading physical asset management company Pragma, has recently achieved a Level 1 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) rating. “At Pragma, we’ve been involved in Socio Economic Development (SED) for so long that it has become part of our DNA, our make-up, our value system. Pragma’s focus has been on creating access to the economy through the educational upliftment of youth and the development and improvement of educational infrastructure. Daniel is such an excellent example as he has his sights set on studying engineering.”

Pieterse explains: “Pragma wants to get involved with projects where its employees are already making a difference, so we invite them to suggest causes for consideration each year. It gives employees recognition as well as improves their engagement. Projects include tutoring at schools, school career days, small business training, school feeding schemes and educational support (school fees, school transport, etc.). It’s not simply an allocation of money to an unknown project. We get involved in projects that are close to the hearts of our employees, as is the case with Daniel.”

Daniel’s most recent progress report by Tessa Smit, Lynne Munnik and Paula Wallace-Pickering of The Spirit Foundation, reads as follows: “Danny settled down well in Grade 11 and excelled in Maths in the first term with 92%. Physics and Computer Applications Technology at 79% and Afrikaans at 81% were most pleasing too and all of his other marks were satisfactory. It was good to note the improvement in English. Danny’s enthusiasm for chess continues and he remains committed to success in all his tournaments. We look forward to seeing what he will achieve in his June exams.”

Pieterse concludes: “It’s heart-warming and inspiring to see Daniel’s progress. We wish him only the best and will support him as much as we can in the future.”

Follow D4D on Facebook at www.facebook.com/D4DSA or send an email to d4d@telkomsa.net for more information.

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