Young champ’s potential realised with faith and support
Daniel Frank, a Grade 11 pupil at the prestigious and tradition-rich Paul Roos Gymnasium, is a champion chess player, achieving his colours as a Western Province player and winning several awards.
Besides excelling in chess, 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 advanced 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 PRG 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 Pieterse in 2005 as a response to the images of total devastation and people in need after the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004. “I was so touched by it that I asked myself what I can do to make a difference,” he says. “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 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. “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 10. Funds are generated by assisting athletes to raise sponsorships for every kilometre completed during a year, or for specific events,” says Pieterse.
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.”
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. It 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, the foundation encourages the creativity, leadership and good self-esteem necessary to help build a prosperous and healthy nation.”
Pieterse adds that his employer Pragma, a leading physical asset management company, 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.”
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