THE CHAIRMAN’S ADDRESS
Dr Sybil Seoka
Despite the challenges we have faced, the Foundation lived up to the essence of its existence – to contribute to the development of South Africa and her people.
PPS Foundation Booms Despite COVID-19
To say South Africa, her people and economy are going through a tumultuous time is an understatement. The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis that has left no one untouched, and it continues to claim human lives and subject South Africans to extraordinary stress. Added to that are the recent uprisings in some regions of our country. But these challenges only reinforce our resolve to continue working towards making our country more resilient.
2020 marked the fourth year of the PPS Foundation’s existence. What a privilege and honour it has been to serve the Foundation as Chairman since its inception. It has been a journey of learning and growing for us all – our stakeholders, especially our beneficiaries and us. When we look at our alumni, what they have achieved and where they are now, we feel a sense of accomplishment.
Our primary focus is to improve access to the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and to contribute measurably to the sustainable development of South African communities, this, in keeping with PPS’s ethos of mutuality and shared success. But COVID-19 and hard lockdowns posed challenges that no one could have anticipated. The pandemic taught us to think differently and to find creative ways to deliver on our objectives. It was challenging but the Foundation quickly adapted to the “new normal” thanks to the extensive committed assistance of our sponsor, PPS Insurance, and the dedication of the management team. We modified our programmes to suit the times and used technology to the maximum to further the interests and objectives of the Foundation.
Students in need received financial and emotional support and universities received the requisite funding to ensure that academic programmes continued. We also assisted students with the tools required for the adjustment in the learning environment.
Despite the challenges we have faced, the Foundation lived up to the essence of its existence – to contribute to the development of South Africa and her people. For 2021 we plan to extend our reach by funding more deserving students and enhancing our other programmes. To this end, increase in funding is required. We have thus revamped our user-friendly donations platform, which is live and accessible at https://ppsfoundation.pps.co.za/ with Section 18A certificates issued immediately.
I would like to thank the PPS Foundation staff, beneficiaries, stakeholders the public and our sponsor for enabling us to deliver on our objectives as a Foundation. However, we must be mindful that the worst is not yet over. Indeed, this is the “new normal” and we will have to keep on adapting to its demands. But rest assured, we are in this for the long haul.
Our actions today will live on, and future generations will remember us with gratitude and appreciation for what we are doing today, the same way we remember those eight dentists who founded our sponsor, PPS Insurance, 80 years ago to serve the financial needs of professionals. Let us soldier on. The country needs us. In the words of J F Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.”
DISCLAIMER: All group photos used in the publication were taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.