As the shopping trolley ferrying two 10 litre containers, and a most delightful little passenger, made its way along the rutted soot-covered road to the communal tap, I couldn’t help being dumbstruck. This was how many in our country collected their waterevery single day. Although you always know in the back of your mind that somewhere, someone in our country “doesn’t have electricity” or “doesn’t have access to running water”, it doesn’t always translate. But when you see this happening in Tembisa, a township not too far from Johannesburg, a city which labels itself as being the economic powerhouse of Africa, you start to realise how important it is to see stories from both sides.
I’m not writing these words to gather sympathy for those who live in such situations. No. By letting people tell their own stories, we are lucky enough to be shown another perspective which helps inform the way in which we see the world. This is why we love visiting partner organisations to help them tell their stories of change. How else would you meet guys in Hillbrow, formerly down-and-out, but desperate to turn (and in the process of turning) their lives around? Or an up-and-coming filmmaker running his business from a one-roomed shack in Tembisa? Or a team of remarkable veterinary technicians, passionate about animal care and wanting to empower local communities to be the same? How would you know what challenges face a young unmarried mother in Diepsloot? These are but a few of the incredible stories I’ve been lucky enough to hear during my short time as a project manager at Different.org.
We hope that by telling you these stories, we can bring you closer to these remarkable people who you might not have otherwise met. We love the power that stories have to promote understanding and catalyse change, and want to inspire you to be part of stories about changing South Africa for the better.