Rotary Club of Empangeni
Coco’s Foundation ongoing relationship with the Rotary club of Empangeni.
Firstly, I have known and have interacted with Chris, via a mutual organization, that of Rotary International, but more specifically the Rotary club of Empangeni. Where, I served my first term as President in 2010, the friendship has continued since then.
On one of Chris’s many trips to South Africa, he took time out of his busy schedule to address the Rotary club of Empangeni’s members. One could see his passion and desire to help people in need.
This is where the friendship and long-term international project relations began.
The first project where Chris used his incredible communication and networking skills was to assist the rural communities in the Mbazwana area of Northen KwaZulu-Natal. The Mseleni Early Childhood development centre, project involved the furnishing of a “creche’ type facility where the building of the structure was built by Coco’s foundation. Chris through his international networking skills linked a number of Rotary clubs to support the Mseleni ECDC. As a result, a Rotary International Global grant was applied for and approved, whereby the furnishing of the facility and the training of training facilitators was approved. Each time Chris has visited South Africa he visits the Mseleni ECDC.
The second project where the Rotary club of Empangeni has been involved in conjunction with the Coco’s foundation is the Christoph Meyer Maths and Science centre global grant. Once again Chris has dedicated time and effort to improve the education skills of scholars in the rural area of Mbazwana.
Three classrooms were built by a donor and once again various Rotary clubs were approached by Chris to support the initiative. There were many trials and tribulations during the process, it took a huge amount of perseverance and persuasion to obtain the Rotary International grant approval. This took approximately four years to achieve.
The Christoph Meyer Center has become a maths, science and computer literacy hub and training centre for the entire department of education in the rural area. Literally thousands of students are trained at the facility throughout the year. The educators from the surrounding schools are also trained in modern practices, including Robotics. The centre has incorporated the use of modern smart board systems and electronic methods. This improves the teacher/ learner interactions using latest technology.
The C.M.C. computer centre teaches students computer skills as most parents cannot afford laptops and PC’s. This vital skill is promoted, in order to create opportunities for scholars to be “relevant and up to date” in preparation for potential university entrance.
The most recent and really heart-warming global grant application where Coco’s Foundation is involved, is the Butterfly Home. This a palliative care facility for children with life threatening health conditions. A need was found by Chris during one of his trips to Africa, in the extremely isolated town of Ingwavuma. The facility has space for twelve children that have basically been abandoned and neglected by the state health department, as they are not equipped or trained to handle children with such life-threatening conditions.
The global grant application is in the final stages of approval. Coco’s foundation and Chris has dedicated time, effort and finances into supporting the project to ensure that young children are given a dignified life and the best care possible until their passing away.
Over the years I have also learnt that Chris’s Coco’s foundation has spread hope in the world to thousands of people in Africa. He has supported individuals to attend university, supported numerous orphan-headed families to build a house/ home. He has provided meals to over one million people in Africa. He has purchased a farm in Central Africa to ensure an entire community have food security.
Personally, Chris is an inspiration to me due to his generosity and ability to link a community need and donors together to make a difference in people’s lives and to make the world a better place.
Rotary club of Empangeni
President and Foundation Chair 2023 2024