One of our key missions at Crew for a Cause is to build our community. We want to bring future leaders and kind-hearted South Africans together, to create a space where we can grow together. We want to create a movement of people doing what they can to help education in SA. We believe that it’s only by pulling in the same direction that we will be able to make the progress we so desperately need.
Luckily for us, there have been incredible examples of this in South Africa’s history. Some prominent movements and groups in our society have done, and are doing, fantastic work to strengthen the bonds in our community. We decided to have a look at these success stories to see what we can learn from them as we strive to build an enduring community ourselves.
The United Democratic Front
In the 1980s, the United Democratic Front linked hundreds of organisations together in the struggle against apartheid. It was a non-racial coalition of about 400 civic, trade unions, students’ unions, church, students’, workers’ and other organisations and had the goal of a “nonracial, united South Africa in which segregation is abolished and in which society is freed from institutional and systemic racism”. The movement had roots in the trade unions and is often cited as an example of different civil organisations putting aside their differences and working together for a common cause.
Community Action Networks (CANS)
Community Action Networks (CANs) were started during COVID as a way to unite residents from varied backgrounds and find solutions to COVID-related issues. Starting with a few existing community organisations, a call went out for people to come together across Cape Town to support those vulnerable during lockdown. In no time at all, more than 200 CANs had sprung up around the city, self-organising in a flat hierarchy to support the rapidly rising number of people without income because of the strict Covid-19 lockdown measures.
The Gift of the Givers
The Gift of the Givers Foundation is the largest disaster response non-governmental organisation of African origin on the continent. Over the past 30 years, they’ve raised over R4.5 billion for their aid work.
In 1992, at the age of just 30, Gift of the Givers founder, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman visited his spiritual leader in Istanbul, Turkey. Sufi Sheikh Muhammed Saffer Effendi al Jerrahi told him, “My son, you will form an organisation. The name will be Waqful Waqifin, and that name is translated into ‘Gift of the Givers’. You will serve all people of all races, of all religions, of all colours, of all classes, of all political affiliations and of any geographical location. You will serve them unconditionally.”
After receiving this message, Dr Sooliman returned to South Africa, left a flourishing career as a medical doctor and established the Gift of the Givers Foundation. In the intervening years, he has travelled to some of the most desolate, war-torn and disaster-struck areas of the world, heading relief missions. Through his work with Gift of the Givers, he and his teams have responded to the needs of countless people affected by a wide range of natural and man-made disasters, such as floods, famine, tsunamis, earthquakes and wars. He has facilitated the establishment of hospitals, run clinics, created agricultural schemes, dug wells, built houses, developed and manufactured an energy food, renovated fishing boats, offered scholarships and provided food and shelter to millions.
When disaster strikes or pleas for assistance are sounded – whether in South Africa or abroad – he and Gift of the Givers are ready with an immediate response, swiftly rallying the organisation’s network of doctors, nurses, relief workers and other professionals, and despatching humanitarian and medical supplies to disaster areas.
Forgood is an online platform that connects people who want to make a difference to Causes that need their help. Since 2012, forgood has helped Causes in 70 660 different ways.
On forgood, you can explore their database of verified Charities / Non-Profit Organisations (Causes) and volunteer your time and skills, donate goods, donate money or give back on your own terms by creating an Offer (which they’ll match to Causes near you). All Causes capture exactly what they need and where you can help on the platform. This creates more meaningful matches – allowing you to find something you’re passionate about that a Cause also really needs. That’s how they aim to create impact together!
Rotary started with the vision of one man — Paul Harris. The Chicago attorney formed the Rotary Club of Chicago on 23 February 1905, so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Over time, Rotary’s reach and vision gradually extended to humanitarian service. Members have a long track record of addressing challenges in their communities and around the world.
Rotary is a global network of 1.4 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.
Solving real problems takes real commitment and vision. For more than 110 years, Rotary’s people of action have used their passion, energy, and intelligence to take action on sustainable projects. From literacy and peace to water and health, we are always working to better our world, and we stay committed to the end.
Their Vision Statement gives a glimpse into their mindset – “Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves. We connect passionate people with diverse perspectives to exchange ideas, forge lifelong friendships, and, above all, take action to change the world.”